When I was a new mom, I soaked up plenty of platitudes about motherhood like: “Mothers never have any time for themselves,” “Moms are so busy,” and “Relationships suffer when you’ve got small kids.”
Of course, the people perpetuating these mom myths meant well. But believing these things to be irrevocably true didn’t do a thing to improve my life or sense of well-being.
While of course there is a nugget of truth in every stereotype, I began to realize that with motherhood, as with life, perception is everything.
So now, I take great joy in turning those cultural messages on their heads. I’m not crazy-busy; I have a full, satisfying life. “Me time” is precious, but it’s within my power to use it well and set aside more when I need it. And while my husband and I aren’t exactly newlyweds again and can’t always find a sitter when we want to go out, we put our relationship high on the “must attend to” list and get creative to stay close.
When you become a mom people will tell you all kinds of things about what to expect, and who you’ll turn into. But you really do get to write your own motherhood story: you can’t always control the circumstances, but you have a lot of power over your reaction to them.
Put one foot in front of the other. There will be days when it feels like the walls are closing in on you, the house is disgusting, and you can’t remember what it felt like to have clean hair. Instead of getting bogged down by the big picture, just take one small step… and then another.
Clean off a countertop. Take a shower. Find a pair of matching socks for the baby. Go for a walk. Things have a way of eventually getting done, so try not to worry too much about your endless to-do list. Just choose a few small tasks that will make you feel more functional, more rested, or just more human — do one, move on to the next, and so on.
This is probably old news, but I love my Kindle and so wish they had been around when I was a new mom! They’re perfect for nursing moms to hold in one hand, and having access to an enormous library of books you can order any time, anywhere, without having to schlep kids out in the snow or rain or keep them quiet in a bookstore or library is amazing. Now even new moms can actually keep up with what other people are reading and feel like part of the human race!
I’m on my third Kindle now and it’s my favorite so far — the Paperwhite.The gentle backlighting is wonderful for nighttime reading, and it really looks and feels like a book: an extremely light book.