This past weekend I was able to hold a sweet baby girl while mom used the restroom and it took me back to those baby-era days. My sons are in preschool and elementary school so it is a different ball game, still demanding but in different ways. When my boys were babies, basic human necessities were a process and a lot of work to make happen. For instance using the restroom in peace and quiet was an unrealistic expectation. I frequently felt like I was sneaking away to do simple things like showering. I learned that if I set my children up with a snack and a cartoon I could enjoy about five minutes in the shower. In hopes of starting my day in peace and quiet I would wake up earlier than normal to enjoy my tea. Of course that did not last long as my son joined me.
As far as I remember, I have been a generally independent person. Personal independence is a strong culture value in the United States when compared to other cultures. My immediate family had strong collective values where everyone works together. As my parents assimilated, unfamiliar with systems like education in the United States, I learned early on I had to figure things out myself for myself. Independence is great and in motherhood not so much.
I have to say my husband has been supportive and involved. Yet, I still felt extremely overwhelmed when I had my babies. I have learned that I was not the best asking for help in the simple things. Like asking for time to nap, sleep, take a loooooong shower or go grocery shopping by myself. I now am a pro at asking for what I need. I still wish people could read my mind, wait, nevermind. I do have to admit that there were and to continue to be some loving and giving people in my life that gave meals or came over so I could get a nap in those new baby days. The dust eventually settles and what happens when you start feeling overwhelmed again?
Ask for help.
That is what I would remind any mom-to-be or new mom is learn to identify your needs and ask for help. Learn to identify what brings you stress and create boundaries, take a break or disengage. Being a parent is an enormous responsibility. Looking back, I wish I were better at saying no and staying home with my little family. Maybe we fear FOMO (fear of missing out) and now I am all about JOMO (joy of missing out) with balance of course. By no means am I saying isolate yourself, but prioritize.
An example would be to identify how extra tired you are since you did not sleep well and instead of going out you take a nap.
Remember ask for help when you need it. It’s okay and many of us love to help and find it rewarding giving back to people with whatever resources we have. Listening, cooking a meal, giving a hug, or a break are all ways we can give or receive.
Identifying our needs and working towards getting the need met is a skill. The better we are at this the more we can improve our life or meet goals, personally in within relationships.
We are in this thing called life together. I hope that we can all build community and help ourselves and each other out.
Until Next Time!