New moms are often their own harshest critics. Having high expectations is not necessarily a bad thing, although keeping them based in reality can be a challenge in a world filled with perfect Pinterest moms posting the newest way to edutain- yup that’s a word- the baby and HGTV reality show moms telling us how they flip houses, look amazing and raise a growing brood. Since the advent of the television show, expectations for moms have been set unreasonably high by fictitious displays of maternal and womanly performance.
From the stay-at-home mom who has the perfectly tidy house; impeccably clean, gorgeous clothes, and time to make every meal an event and international educational experience; to the working mom who has the funds to hire help, hits the gym and excels and was made partner at her law firm, the television, social media and reality shows have changed what moms expect from themselves and each other.
New moms are not exempt from these pressures, albeit mostly self imposed. The tidal wave of celebrities who have not only lost weight rapidly after giving birth but look like they never even had a baby set the stage for unrealistic expectations from society and mom’s themselves. The best things a mom can do is focus on her baby and forget about whatever postpartum, celebrity booty lift and tummy tightener program is going around. Women have allowed themselves to become over sexualized by men and other women who seek to capitalize on the insecurity of new moms. Become immune to the nonsense and tune into creating an awesome relationship with baby.
15 Kids Will Be Happy
Well it’s a nice fantasy but not likely to become a reality. Kids, no matter how big or small, be they teens, tweens or toddlers are humans and no human is happy all the time. As a momma, one would like to think that they could assuage every emotion outside of bliss for baby. Sadly, this is very untrue.
Babes and toddlers are busy exploring their world and part of that exploration is running into things that make them unhappy. Unhappiness is a part of life. Not every chore is enjoyable, not every meal is fantastic, not everything will make everyone happy all of the time and guess what? It’s okay. Having a child who’s unhappy some of the time is fine. Mom or dad being the source of that unhappiness is also perfectly fine. It means the child has had boundaries set by a loving parent.
That said, if you have a baby or toddler, elementary schooler or teen who seems uncharacteristically unhappy for an extended period of time, it’s mom’s duty to seek out help for their kiddo. No one should be unhappy all of the time.
14 Always Have Time For Taking A Shower
Mom wakes with the birds tweeting a song and the sun glistening through the window. She grabs her bathrobe and a French pressed cup of dark roast Venezuelan coffee, heads to the bathroom and turns on the water seeking that perfect temperature. She steps into nice clean shower stall and thinks she hears some slight whimpering or crying. She silently hopes and maybe even utters a prayer that baby will just fall back to sleep. Nope, now there’s full blown screaming. Out mom comes, hair barely wet, bathrobe in hand as she runs or slides down the hall to tend to baby. Oh well, mom can try again tomorrow.
Showering everyday is overrated anyway. Shampooing daily strips hair of natural oils. Using soap on breasts that have been nursing baby all day can be drying, causing irritation. Maybe hitting the important areas with a baby wipe next diaper change will be enough for today?
13 Being A Domestic Goddess
Oh, Donna Reed, the quintessential television portrayal of the 50s housewife and mother. How pretty she was as she flittered from kitchen to parlor dusting and tidying up after her family. How amazing were the feasts she produced for each meal without breaking a sweat and looking perfectly made up, every hair on her head in perfect placement. Ever wonder if she and Martha Stewart were sent to earth just to make the rest of us feel like failures?
Listen, moms are not perfect. After a day of heiny wiping, spit up patrol and diaper duty, who would feel like scrubbing toilets and whipping up an amazing meal, then, of course hot gluing together a spectacular “Welcome” wreath? No one. That’s who. Donna Reed is a fictional character of what the 50s man would’ve liked to have come home to. Martha Stewart has an arsenal of paid help, unlike most mommas out there. How about this? Consider using a grocery delivery service, let the toilet go until it looks like something will come out and bite you and who cares if that wreath doesn’t get finished until mom is welcoming her grandkids!
12 A Routine Will Arise
Some people thrive on routine. They get up, turn on the coffee pot, shower, dress and then they are off to work. Maybe that’s how mom’s routine went before kids. But with baby here and maybe a toddler around too, things seem less than routine. It would be great if baby nursed and pooped at the same time every day. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if toddler napped the same time everyday too?
Face it, a long term routine is not going to develop with little people in the house. Babies and toddlers are notorious for unexpectedly changing routines. The important thing is to just go with the flow and be flexible. Too many moms hold on way too tightly to a too rigid routine. Routines are good, but should be more of a guideline than a rule. That said, some kids just naturally develop a groove and that’s okay, if not incredibly awesome.
11 Mom Will Love Her New Role
Loving a mommy bod, living clean and taking time to relax was easy when baby was inside. It seemed purposeful. Now that baby is out, all those temptations and frustrations are rearing their ugly heads. Stay focused on what’s really important.
Baby comes first. When fantasies of going out with friends arise, cuddle that baby. Think of how much they need their momma. When mom is tempted to rekindle that bad habit she stopped while baby was inside (tobacco, marijuana, promiscuity, drugs), take baby in your arms and gaze lovingly in their eyes, pray, stop and think about how much this innocent little person needs you.
If mom hasn’t yet already, she should ditch those friends that want her to return to the dark side. Mom needs affirming and supportive people around her that will edify her and not drag her down. Mom should definitely reach out for help if she’s experiencing more than just a slight craving for pre-baby days, if she’s thinking of hurting herself or baby.
10 Mom Can Do It All Exceptionally Well
Umm, yeah, back to Martha Stewart. Remember that lady has an arsenal of paid assistants, gardeners, gatherers and general helpers. Those “reality” show celebrities have a herd of personal trainers, personal chefs, dieticians, botox pushers, designers, makeup artists, nannies, housekeepers, personal assistants and who knows what else to cater to their every need and whim. They don’t have to lift a finger yet everything looks amazing. Oh, and they go to work on the new set of whatever or attend the opening of blah blah blah. New moms need to turn off the television, get off Facebook and run from TMZ.
Everything mom’s watching is an illusion of perfection. Everything on television is some person’s idea or impression of what life is like or how it should be. Chances are, a new mom’s house will be a mess, her clothing will be wrinkled and baby powder will be a suitable substitute for perfume. Also, just avoid that mom down the road who looks too perfect, mom could either envy her or judge her - either one is a waste of time and precious energy.
9 Mom Will Never Lose Her Cool
That sweet bundle of joy has been screaming for like three hours! Mom has taken to burying her head under a pillow. That’s where dad finds her when he walks in the door. She proceeds to bite his head off for asking what’s going on. Poor dad, mom and baby.
We all want to believe that a mother could never lose her temper on a baby. Sadly, that’s not true. A baby with colic would try even the most loving mother’s patience. The important thing is to not lose one’s temper and hurt baby. If mom has any inclination that she might be a danger to her child she must tell her spouse, clergy, friend or doctor.
Some baby blues after pregnancy is normal due to shifting hormones and sleep disturbances. Postpartum depression is something different all together. This sort of depression might be triggered by hormones and is long lasting and deep. It can turn the most loving mother into a woman who might harm her baby. It’s imperative for mom to know that it’s not her fault and that she must seek out help.
8 Mom Will Love Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is awesome but not every mother enjoys having another human being attached to her chest several times a day for at least a few months. Doctors, nurses, doulas and midwives will all encourage mom to breastfeed soon after the baby is born. This is the ideal stage to get that little one on there to try and take their first nips of colostrum.
Although breastfeeding is the most natural thing for mom and baby to do, not every mom is into it. That is okay. There are a myriad of reasons for this from physical to psychological. If mom is interested in breastfeeding but just can’t bring herself to do it, it’s important for her to supplement with formula or expressed milk until she figures out what to do. If nursing is physically painful, a visit to the lactation consultant might be needed. If there is an emotional component reaching out to a counselor, clergy or good friend might help. Pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding can bring up a lot of emotional stuff, especially if mom has a history of being abused. Don’t be ashamed and put up with it - this is just an extension of the abuse. Seek out help for the sake of baby.
7 Work And Family Will Mesh
Working while preggers was tough. Mom’s mind was all about nesting and staring out the window imagining holding baby. Now that baby is here, maybe mom wants to go back to work. That’s going to be a challenge too. Some women develop mommy ADD after giving birth. Focusing on anything except baby is very challenging if not impossible. Think about it, mom’s body is made to be with baby and so follows mom’s brain.
If mom doesn’t have to work, maybe she should consider staying home with baby. Yup, there is going to be a pay cut, but the family can live without a Bahamas vacation for a few years. Baby will only be baby for so long. This lag in employment doesn’t have to be the end of mom’s career. She can take this time to sharpen some skills while baby naps.
If mom has to go back to work, she’ll need to be patient with herself and her co-workers. They might be excited for their officemate’s new addition, but they might also be resentful of having to pick up the slack in her absence.
6 Being A Wondermom
Rumors about some super human, almost alien-like species abound. They call her Wondermom. She seems to be everywhere, doing everything perfectly and precisely. She is the envy of all other moms. Her hair, body and makeup are perfect, she seems to know just when trouble will strike. Armed with bottle, diaper and burp cloth, she expects and prevents all screams of hunger, needs for comfort and poopy explosions.
Let’s face it, there will be times when mom forgets a change of clothes and baby has pooped and puked all over both of them. Both mom and baby will be dirty, smelly and cranky. There will be a time when mom has used that last diaper and baby will have to wear an old shirt. There will be a time when mom forgets the cheerios, and that is all baby is eating these days. Wondermom is a myth, she does not exist, get over it.
5 Mom Won’t Repeat What Her Mother Did
Everybody’s got a story about their parents. They yelled too much. They spanked too hard. They didn’t let ya’ do whatever. They argued too loud. They let little sis cry it out in a restaurant. They let big brother use matches. They plopped the kids in front of the television as the electronic babysitter.
We are all products of our parents for better or worse. Chances are they did the best they could with the tools they had. Kids need time with mom. Don’t waste time trying not to repeat what grandma did. Mom should spend time trying to establish her own parenting style gleaning some of the good from her childhood and avoiding the bad.
If mom’s childhood was traumatic, she should definitely work to do better than her parents. She should also seek out positive maternal role models. Family, church groups and mom groups are good places to seek out role models for positive mother-child relationships.
4 My Kid Will Never Scream In A (Insert Public Place)
Maybe mom was that person prior to giving birth that swore up, down, left and right about how her child would never be allowed to scream in a restaurant, store, boutique, library, waiting room; name it. She cringed when that kid screamed in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. She wondered, out loud, why that family didn’t just pack up and leave the restaurant. They were so inconsiderate.
Well, now she and hubby are looking for a night out. As she’s breastfeeding, leaving baby with grandma is out. Besides, grandma is not nearly as perfect at baby care as mom! So mom, baby and dad load into the car and head out to a movie. It’s baby’s bedtime anyway, right? Well baby wakes at the movie theater and must be gassy because the poor little guy just wouldn’t settle down but at $15 a ticket, mom and dad are staying parked. Later on, baby screams at the restaurant, gas again, eliciting stares from strangers but mom and dad’s meals have just been served. After a so long without a night out, there is no way they’ll be taking those dinners home in a doggie bag. They’re sure baby will settle down soon.
3 My House Will Be 100% Baby Proof
Did you hear Cousin Sue’s toddler nearly choked to death on a lego? How about that girl who shoved a bean up her nose and nearly suffocated? What about that toddler who broke out in a rash after touching that bamboo looking houseplant? My house will be 100% safe for my kids.
Ha! Nobody’s home is 100% accident proof. There is a difference between being cautious and being paranoid and bumps and bruises are okay. Covering electrical sockets, keeping electrical cords off the floor and putting up a gate on the stairs are all good ideas. But no mom can completely prevent every bad thing from happening. The key is to be aware, be careful but not paranoid.
Put safety latches on the lower cupboards and on the toilet. Place rubber bumpers on the edges of all the tables and baby-proof all of the electric outlets. Install a baby gate at the top and bottom of any stairs. If you have a pool, make sure it is fenced and that the gate has an automatic shut feature. Do everything you can to assure baby’s safety but don’t stress about it too much. The best way to avoid accidents is to keep your eyes on baby.
2 Mom Will Be The Envy Of All Other Mothers
The Madonna with baby cheerfully balancing on her knee is quite a beautiful picture but it is only a snapshot in time. The reality is that that baby was probably just tugging on mom’s hair so hard she wanted to pull his too. There are no perfect mothers except in fantasies.
Chances are mom’s baby will be dirty, smelly and boogery all out in public for the world to see. Mom might go to work with spit up on her shoulder or a poop footprint on her blouse. It’s quite possible that mom’s perfect child could have a diaper blowout within smelling radius of all those other perfect mommies in baby momma yoga class. Again, normal moms don’t have an entourage at their heels primping and pampering both she and baby. Chill, there will be Madonna moments but their stories aren’t nearly as funny as the time mom went to work with a poop footprint on her shirt.
1 Mom Will Love Everything Her Child Does
Kids are great and we love them. Their coos and caas can send even the most terminally stern faced person into a gibberish talking mush ball. Babies are made to be cute but sometimes what they do is not. Also, it has been documented that on occasion, in the wild, animals eat their young. Humans do not do that, but might be tempted to.
The reality is that every mom has had a moment when their kid, even in infanthood has just stepped over a line and entered the dangerous area of making mommy very angry. Whether it’s a harsh nibble while breastfeeding, for the tenth time today, or a thigh bite from a teething toddler, there are some things children, even young ones, do that make a mom see red. What is mom to do? Put the kid in a safe place, walk away, calm down and don’t eat the kids.