A glowing woman with a baby bump, a newborn's wrinkles, itsy-bitsy diapers and onesies, soft linens and mom and baby potions: things that strike a chord in our mama hearts and bring on emotions unlike any other. As a little girl, I took my baby (doll) everywhere – I couldn't wait to be a mom! And at the age of 27, I entered into motherhood, and it changed my life.
Some parts of motherhood have been magical, and others... painfully hard. While pregnant, I heard it said that "nothing can fully prepare you to be a parent," and in so many ways it is true. I also found that everyone has their own advice and philosophy about parenting – learning how to sift through that advice is equally important. Now, 10 years into it, if I could go back and give my new mama-self some advice, this is what I would tell her:
1. The first few weeks postpartum are temporary, and it DOES get easier. I remember being a sleep-deprived zombie, trying to breastfeed and discovering that it was so much harder than I expected, my body looking and feeling unfamiliar, and being afraid to go to sleep with a little one by my side that was completely dependent on me. I remember in that first week feeling panic that this was permanent, and that it was hard to see through the fog. But it got better and easier and with each milestone there were new joys and challenges. But it always changes. There are highs and lows and everything in between. Hold fast to the highs, and remember during the lows that it WILL get easier and better again.
2. Trust your gut. As a parent we are bombarded with information and advice. And the crazy thing is that so much of it is completely conflicting and evolving. The best you can do is trust that mama instinct. What is right for another child may not be the right thing for yours. What is most popular might not work for you, and both you and your child are unique. There is no one-size-fits-all!
3. Learn to relax and enjoy the journey. If you have more than one child, you know that with each subsequent child you become less uptight about the things you were with the first. Recognize the things that are out of your control, and let them go. Have faith. Enjoy this gift of parenthood and the little things, because the years do indeed pass quickly.
I asked the moms here at Zoe Organics to share something they wish they had known as a new mom – what advice they would give to their new mama selves, and this is what they shared. And whether you are a new or expecting mom, or a seasoned pro, I think we can all learn from each other!
Lee, Social Media/Business Development
One of the things I wish I had known about motherhood is how you never get a break. I know, seems silly to say, but it's true. And I don’t mean that I never get time to myself, because I do... (Whole Foods shopping trip alone is where its at!). I’m talking about how, as a mom, you are constantly thinking about your children… Are they safe? Are they sick? Will she be okay at her friend's house? How was her day at school? Will whoever is watching her know how she likes her special cheese sandwich? And this never stops! I know my mum still worries and thinks about her grown children every day! But, that’s life and there is nothing better in the world than being a mom. It’s a gift, and I cherish it everyday. To all the soon-to-be moms out there, my advice to you is this: be selfish now. Take care of you, and love every minute of it because once you are a mom, you can’t only think about yourself anymore!
Pam, Creative Director
I would look back and tell myself to be more present… it’s hard even now to say, because I’m still not very good at this. But I know that what my kids know and understand about their security and sense of well-being depends wholly on how stressed out their father and I are. As long as we have a roof over our heads and food on the table, as long as we’re healthy and we have each other, what else really matters? I know it’s the biggest cliche in the book to say that they grow up too quickly, but I’m watching them grow up right in front of me, way too quickly, and not being mentally present when I’m in the same room as them only compounds it. I don’t want to miss any more of their lives and who they are.
It’s so hard, in a world of competing pressures put upon you by society and other women and family and whatever… but this is going to be something I’m working on personally, despite the pressure and the guilt of years of being bad at this, because it IS so very important. And whatever society thinks of how I look or what I’ve achieved or whatever is SO not important… being present for my family is.
So I’d look back to my pre-mommy self and stress how important it is to treasure my kids. Not just their behavior, their accomplishments, or their vegetable-eating, but really deep down who they are. And treasure the fact that despite all my own flaws and shortcomings, for some reason they love me unconditionally, too.
Lorri, Operations Manager
To say that the time flies by as a mother is well understood, generally accepted and oh, so true. I am the mom of three amazing people. My two sons are grown and married and living a full, rich life half a state away. My daughter is still the sweet, tender-hearted and compassionate soul that stepped into my life almost sixteen years ago, but now she is facing the turmoil of the teen years. I want to hold my breath until she emerges on the other side of teen-dom a confident, smart and responsible adult. I pray she finds her path, discovers her gifts and fills her world with love. This is the joy and the tension in parenting – the hope for the future and the need to be in the present moment with them. It is a balancing act that is so difficult to get right, but so necessary to try. Listening to my children has helped keep me in the present, as well as appreciating them at whatever stage of childhood they are in… even the teenage years. I must remind myself to give them grace and to give myself grace, after all… I have never been a parent to my children at the age they are. We are all figuring it out as we go, and the time does go so very fast – and thankfully nobody has held their breath in a long time.
Whether you are a new or expecting mom or a seasoned pro, the one thing that we can count on is that we are in this together, and we are all doing the very best we can.
Happy Mother's Day, mamas!