Balance for life as a new mother is a very important thing. Motherhood is very demanding. More demanding than I ever thought it would be! What I learned is that it requires more than me. It requires almost an entire village to care for the child and the mother. I did have to let go of a lot of things and be open to help as well as willing to ask for help.
The first thing is let go of being hypercritical of yourself and your standards. All parents make mistakes. Children do not come with an owner’s manual; in fact, each child would require a different manual and it would need to be upgraded during each stage of development. As a new mom, you will not instantly know what your child needs the day he or she is born. So give yourself a break, it is a trail and error time of adjustment and you will figure it out. Once you figure it out, that beautiful baby will change and then you will have to learn all over again.
Second, letting go of some things, hopefully a few things, in the end will not matter and are not incredibly important. For me it was keeping the house spotless. I used to clean the house from ceiling to floor every week. Yes, that does not happen any more. The laundry usually gets done, dishes get done regularly, and eventually the house gets dusted and vacuumed. I feel really successful when I get the bathrooms clean and the floors mopped as well as vacuumed.
Third, accept help. Allow someone you trust to rock your baby while you take a nap. Let someone cook dinner for you or clean your house. Having someone else spend time with your child actually helps their brain development. Different people hold babies differently, they talk to them differently, and respond to them differently. All these different interactions create more connections in the child’s brain, thus your baby gets smarter and better able to adjust to change. See, it is for the benefit of your child, not just you!
Fourth, ask for help; heck, sometimes you may have to BEG for help. It’s hard to put aside our pride and do this. The thing is the people we love really want to help us, sometimes they just fear they will bother us or they don’t know what help we need. Why deny them the satisfaction of paying back favors and helping you. Plus what they really want is to see the baby.
Last sleep, any chance you get. Sleep when the baby naps. If your little one, like mine, is colicky and rarely sleeps in a twenty-four hour period, ask for help, have someone rock the baby, and get even a thirty minute nap. With sleep, you will be better able to care for your bundle of joy. It’s hard to create balance for life when you’re a new mom. It is possible, though.