Being a new mom is hard, and parenting is always a challenging calling that forces us to make difficult decisions on a daily basis. In the early days, new moms aren't sure what choices to make for themselves or their kids at times, and this causes them to have regrets later in their parenting journey.
New moms are amazing, recovery from birth and learning everything they can about how to care for their children. It's nice when they can go into the situation with knowledge about the many ways it's easy to make mistakes that can damage the baby, the family, and mom.
Some of these mistakes are born of ignorance and others of pride, but all of them can be avoided if new moms try. It's not easy, especially in the early days of parenting when survival is the only goal for the day. However, trying to sidestep these issues will leave everyone in the family in a much healthier place. Mom will feel she is still her own person, and babies will have a parent that is refreshed and more able to focus on their care.
It's not just new moms who make these mistakes, and any mom can benefit from staying away from mom shaming or not playing the martyr and skipping out on self-care. However, new moms usually fall victim to these early on, when they are already exhausted from taking care of a newborn. Don't let being a newbie mean having regrets later.
15 The Shame Game
New moms often decide how they are going to parent, and they don't believe there is a better way than what they have chosen. It's important to remember that there are different ways to parent, and not everyone is going to choose the same one. That doesn't mean one mom's choices are better than other moms.
However, mom shaming gets started because that's exactly what moms start to think. A mom who breastfeeds may shame a woman who uses formula, and a mom who had an unmedicated vaginal delivery could make comments about a woman who had a C-section. The point of this exercise is to for the mom doing the shaming to make herself feel better by making another mom feel worse.
Most parents who are out of the new phase stop this behavior because they realize that there are plenty of different ways to raise kids, and they all turn out okay. Moms need to unite, not attempt to emotionally slaughter each other.
14 It's Time To Compare
There are so many reasons not to fall into the trap of comparing out kids to other kids. First of all, all kids are different, and we need to raise them to see other people as friends, not competition. They should learn to do better tomorrow than they did today, their only competition being themselves.
Second, there will be times our kids are on top and times when they aren't. One mom may have a kid who started reading at two, but another has a child who was potty trained at six-months-old. No one wins this game, and it doesn't matter when a child hits developmental milestones.
New moms do this to try to make sure their child is doing okay, because that makes them feel like they are doing okay as a parent. However, we need to take our cues about our parenting from our kids' behavior and happiness levels, not from comparing them with other children's accomplishments.
13 Now I Have Guilt
Mom guilt is stronger than just about any other guilt in the world. New moms fall victim to it all the time, and even veteran moms have to work not to fall into the mom guilt traps. We analyze every decision we make and wonder if we're doing everything wrong, and we do this daily.
New moms let mom guilt steal their joy during a time when they are already tired and going through major transitions. This damages their emotional well-being and can make them miss the happy moments with their kids.
It is a battle not to succumb to mom guilt, but it's worth the fight. Moms who were previously positive, upbeat people can be completely laid flat by mom guilt, to the point that they have anxiety about every decision they make. Instead of focusing on the what ifs or stressing about the things that went wrong, focus on the love and care our babies receive from us.
12 Become An Island
To be fair, this is hard not to do. After we have children, most of us go into a cocoon, a tiny world filled with just us and our babies. It's part desire and part necessity. We want to absorb every minute with our babies, and we're also exhausted.
During this time, it's easy to lose touch with our friends. This is dangerous because new moms can become isolated very quickly without realizing it's happening.
While it will likely be a while before mom is going out on girls' weekends, she can ask her friends to come over and keep her company while she takes care of the little one. She can also sneak out for quick coffee dates or a late dinner when the baby is in bed and dad can keep watch.
Trying to maintain contact with friends will help mom feel less alone and will remind her that she has other roles besides just being a mom.
11 Identity Crisis
Besides feeling isolated from friends, new moms can also isolate themselves from their former lives to the point that they don't feel like they have an identity outside of motherhood. Old hobbies are put aside, social events are delayed, and every moment of every day revolves around being a mom.
Being a mom is fabulous and will always be a full-time job, but it is essential that mom remembers she is also a daughter, a friend, a sister, as well as a ton of other roles. Moms who love to read need to carve out time to read. Moms who create art need to find little ways, even in the midst of the crazy, to create.
Playing the martyr mom doesn't end well for most moms. They end up burnt out, resentful, and stuck in an identity crisis that can rival the hellish days of adolescence.
10 Fly-By Eating
New moms are often nursing machines, and if they aren't feeding a baby from their bodies, they are constantly hustling trying to prepare bottles for hungry little ones. Making and providing all of this food for the baby leaves mom without much time to have a real meal for herself.
It's possible for a new mom to get through the day without eating much of anything, and it's likely if she did eat it was while she was running around doing other chores. Moms just don't sit down for meals after the baby is born, and that's not a good thing.
Our bodies and brains need the built-in breaks that sit-down meals offer. Sitting down to eat offers us a chance to eat slowly, digest properly, and stop eating when we are full. When we simply grab whatever we can while still moving about our day, we don't get a break and also won't make the best food choices for our bodies.
9 Keeping Dad Standards Low
Men are amazing partners and dads in many situations, but we don't expect them to be. In fact, society is always shocked when dads are out with their kids alone. When people see a dad with his own child, they still consider what he is doing babysitting as opposed to being a parent just like mom.
We need to set high standards for our partners parenting, and thank them just as much as we expect thanks. New moms don't need to lavish partners with praise for changing a diaper. We pushed the kids out of our bodies!
It's important in any relationship to be grateful, but new moms need to make sure their partners know this parenting thing is a gig for both adults. They don't need to set the bar low and then applaud like crazy when the smallest effort is made. It teaches our kids that moms are meant to do everything and dads should be thanked for showing up.
8 Physical Health Meltdown
Physical health is not about getting the pre-baby body back. It's about doing things that make us feel good and keep us healthy. In the midst of taking care of a child, many women forget to prioritize moderate exercise, staying hydrated, and getting out in nature to refresh their brains.
This is a mistake, but it's so easy to make. New moms are tired. They are wired to take care of the baby first, and that can mean they don't get taken care of at all. The problem is this can compound their negative feelings, like being isolated or exhausted, because they aren't taking care of themselves. Making sure we do the basics to keep our minds and bodies running the best they can will help us overall and make us better mothers.
Many moms feel like they can't take the time for themselves in the early days, but taking this time is one of the best things they can do. Take a walk, eat a nutritious meal, or do a few yoga poses. Take care of the body and brain right from the start of motherhood.
7 Being A Photo Factory
Every new mom is proud of her baby, but taking constant pictures isn't as good of an idea as it may sound. Yes, we need reminders of our babies' phases and stages because they truly do change quickly. However, taking constant pictures can actually pull us out of the moment.
Researchers have found that taking a picture of something will actually leave us without the ability to remember the experience as well. We divert our attention from our child and remove ourselves from the experience when we spend all day with camera phones at the ready.
Plus, phones with cameras, what most every mom uses now, also leaves us the ability to share our pictures on social media sites. Again, this is great for family members who may not see our kids often, but it's not great if the distraction of picture taking and posting takes the place of quality time with our kids.
6 Unsolicited Advice Absorbents
Everyone will want to give new moms advice on parenting. If the advice comes from people mom trusts and would ask for help from anyway, it's fine. However, tons of advice pours in from people mom would never even think of going to for help. That's when things get tricky.
New moms sometimes take unsolicited advice to avoid hurting feelings or because someone with a strong personality makes them doubt themselves. These are not good reasons.
It's true that new moms, or experienced moms for that matter, don't know everything, but that doesn't mean they have to change their parenting to satisfy someone whose opinion doesn't mean anything to them. It's fine to offer a thank you and then just keep doing what mom wants. When a new mom needs advice, she can go to her trusted crew, and she can just let the unwanted advice slide out of her brain.
5 Buying Into the Bounce-Back Body
A new mom should understand that in those weeks after the baby is born, she is going to see pictures everywhere of moms who have bounced back from birth quickly. They are back in the pre-pregnancy jeans, stretch marks suddenly gone.
That may happen for some people, but it doesn't happen for most. The priority in those early days should be a safe, restful recovery and bonding time with the baby. Mom doesn't need to worry about her weight, her jean size, or what celebrity moms look like after they have kids.
Everyone will lose the pregnancy weight at their own pace, and instead of worrying about how our bodies look in those first days, we need to remember what they have done. They've carried a baby, recovered from major blood loss, and learned to take care of a new person. We don't need to demand they do any more than that.
4 Hiding Postpartum Issues
There are a plethora of problems that can pop up for moms during postpartum life. Postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, and postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder are just a few, and they can wreak havoc on a mom's life. However, many moms are afraid to go to the doctor and ask for help.
Women need to look at seeking help for mental illnesses the same way they do physical illnesses: necessary and wise. It's not mom's fault when her hormones cause issues that cause her mind to go off course. There is help, and moms need to seek it out.
The most damaging thing a woman can do is ignore these symptoms. It can be dangerous for her and her baby, and the symptoms likely won't just go away. Stories, unfortunately, are in the news regularly of women who didn't seek help for PPD and ended up harming themselves. Don't suffer in silence.
3 Being A One-Woman Show
New moms need to know the easy rules to surviving motherhood with an infant: take all the food anyone offers, let other people watch the baby, and if someone says they want to help, find them a job. Parenting is not a one-woman show, and it benefits moms to have a community of helpers to ensure their sanity stays in tact on this long journey.
Many new moms feel bad asking for help, and when people offer they don't know what to say. If someone offers to help, let them go pick up groceries, fold a load of laundry, or hold the baby while mom showers. Don't refuse offers, and don't feel like taking help makes mom a loser. It doesn't. It just makes her wise.
When moms don't accept help, they end up exhausted, overwhelmed, and much more likely to lose their patience over the little things. We are humans, and we need each other to survive. Let people in.
2 Pushing Aside Instincts
Maternal instincts are real, and though moms can't always explain them, many have benefited from following where those instincts led. Mom will feel her instincts kick in, but new moms often doubt themselves, wondering if they are just being paranoid.
It is possible to call the doctor a bit too often or to check on the baby while he sleeps more than is necessary. However, if mom feels she needs to do these things, it's better to follow that gut feeling than to try to push it away and regret it later. Moms carry their babies for nine months, and there is no doubt that a bond exists.
Don't let fear of looking crazy cause doubts. As time goes on, mom will be able to figure out what is truly of concern and what is just anxiety messing with her, but it's fine to follow instincts when they hit. Most of the time they are there for a reason.
1 Giving Up On Being A Couple
Having a child does not mean the romance is gone. It doesn't mean mom and dad are now only mom and dad. They are still a unit with desires and needs that can only be met by each other. It's not a good idea to forget to nurture that relationship in the early days.
Much of the focus during the early days is on the baby, and mom will likely feel like she is doing most of the work. This can leave her tired and not focused on what it means to be a part of a couple, and that's understandable. Mom needs to let her husband or partner know she needs help, and then she needs to make time to spend time with her partner, not just for his sake but for hers as well.
Women complain about not feeling like sexual or desired beings after becoming mothers, but sometimes just having their partners look at them and let them know they are wanted helps them overcome the feeling of being undesirable. It also strengthens the relationship.