1. Do not be too quick to judge. Instead, be kind. I admit it. Before becoming a mom, I was quietly unforgiving with the judgments I pass on mothers and women especially those my age. 99% of the time, I don’t say them out loud. But still, I am guilty of having decided, in my head at least, if one is a good mom or not – if one is a good woman or not. What’s funny is that all these judgments were from a version of myself that still have not gone through anything those people have gone through. I was not yet a mom at the time. But now that I am one and I am fully immersed in the momlife, there have been so many realizations that would downright put the me then to keep quiet. Baby blues, PPD, anxiety, mom guilt.. they’re all real, people. They’re not made up. You never know what is going on inside a mother’s head no matter how put together they seem. So always choose kindness. They say that during birth, it is not only the baby that is born but the mother as well. I agree. Really, it is an entirely new world. So yes, be kind. Be kind. I will never be able to say it enough. Be kind.
2. Fed, truly, is best. Months before giving birth, I have stocked up on every galactagogue you can think of. Weeks prior to giving birth, I have been religiously consuming them all in the hopes of upping my milk supply. I really wanted to breastfeed my baby. And not just that, my plan was to exclusively breastfeed her until at least six months. It was something I really wanted to do. It was a no-brainer. I wanted to give her the best. But come delivery day and days and weeks postpartum, my milk production and supply were severely poor. I would already count myself lucky if I could pump 30ml in a day. I would try pumping more on other times of the day but the output would be the same or even less. It came to a point where pumping was getting in the way of me caring for my newborn. I decided to stop. My learning here is that while they say that breastmllk is best, my baby being fed, at any day, is so much better. For as long as she doesn’t go hungry, for as long as she is fed, I am okay. Fed is best.
3. Moderation. Everything in moderation. This is what I try to live by now. I have read about delaying or totally being no on gadget exposure and use. And while I understand the adverse effects excessive screen time could bring a child, I still think being fully against screen time on its own is pointless in this day and age. It is a digital world. My generation has been digital half our lives. Kids these days are born into it. I don’t think exposing them with caution to the reality of our world now would do them more harm than good. That’s just me though.
4. Mind your own motherhood. This is a two-way street. You as a mom to your child should be very selective of the stories, comments and feedback you get from other moms, whether it is in real life or on social media. At the end of the day, you choose what is best for your child. You go with your maternal instinct. Make decisions on raising your kid based on what you think is best for your child, what works for you and what gives you peace. Also, do not fall for the comparison trap. On the other hand, also try your best to be that mom who is supportive to other moms rather than being passive-aggressive. Always remember two things. One, to each his own. In this case, to each her own. Two, that every motherhood and childhood journey is unique.
5. Manage your expectations. I am a perfectionist. Or was. I like being prepared for everything, especially the major events that happen in my life – work, wedding, pregnancy, delivery, raising a child. Needless to say, I am the type of person who likes to micromanage. It gives me calm. Or it used to. You will never be prepared for the journey as daunting but also as beautiful as motherhood. You can never, trust me. Everything I envisioned my pregnancy and delivery would become just went flying out the window. Goodbye, birth plan. Goodbye, babymoon. Goodbye, giving birth in the city. Goodbye, normal spontaneous delivery. Goodbye, breastfeeding. Goodbye, postpartum workouts. There’s so much more to say goodbye to. So the key is to keep an open mind and leave room for very possible changes in everything. Yep, everything.
6. Moms are superheroes. Moms are the queens of multitasking. Having worked as a flight attendant for seven years, I thought I was already great at multitasking. And then motherhood happened. Boy, I never thought I could and would achieve the level of efficiency I have now given the very little time I get. Now I understand why the hashtag #multitaskingmama was such a hit. Never a truer word to accurately describe a mom’s way of life.
7. Your baby is not a racehorse. She grows and develops in her own sweet time. She takes time just like the many other beautiful things in life. If she appears to be ahead, then well and good. Continue to love and nurture her. If she appears to be falling a little behind, don’t stress. She’s not delayed. Some babies really take longer than others to achieve specific milestones. That does not mean that she will always be the last one. That does not mean that she’s lacking anything. That does not mean that you’re lacking anything. Continue to love and nurture her. Let her take her sweet time. With your love and devotion, she will get there. Allow her to surprise you. Hold her hand to and through every milestone. Don’t drag her. Go through and enjoy growing up with your little one.
8. Perfect mom? It is a lie. Aim to give your best. Not be perfect. Even as a nurse, I still made mistakes. And one thing that is certain is that I will continue making mistakes along the way because no mother is perfect. You’re new at this and so just like your child, you are learning and growing. So be more forgiving to yourself. Take each day as it comes. And honestly? You are doing so much better than you give yourself credit for.
9. The more love you have for yourself, the more you have for your baby. Happy wife, happy life. A happy mom makes a happy baby. It is hard to imagine a happy, healthy and thriving baby when the mom is in distress. Take care of yourself so that you have the energy, the peace and the mindset to care for your child. It is true what they say, you can tell the disposition of the mother with the vibe you feel in the home. Fill yourself up with love and light, no matter how difficult and sometimes seemingly unattainable, that it may radiate and fill your home.
10. At the end of the day, you can only pray. You can never shield your child from everything in this world. You are just human, no matter how much of a helicopter mom you think and admit you are. You will always worry for your child even in the most inconsequential of ways. And what control do you have, really? So let go. Lift it up to Him. Just like the many things you worry about, surrender your child to Him. Only He can do the real protecting here. Only He is capable. Only He you can 100% trust and rely on. Release. Retreat. Relax. And anchor your motherhood in your faith. #