A few weeks ago, I gave a talk at the Childbearing society about adjusting to parenthood. Just as each person’s journey to parenthood is different so are our experiences. The business of mothering is challenging and complex and varies from one woman to the next.
With the pregnancy of my first child, I thought I knew exactly how things were going to work as a parent. My child was going to be well-behaved, no rolling in aisle 6 of the local organic grocery store as if on fire, no yelling or having to be carried out of such said store in a football hold as I huffed and puffed to the car.
I was pretty certain that I will just pop out the kid and life will continue as usual with my child strapped to my back or front or side for that matter. Travelling with my husband will commence as usual but with an additional person. We will continue to watch Dexter with junior sleeping sweetly in a bassinet. It never occurred to me that junior will have his own sleep patterns that are not conducive to my schedule.
In preparation for my talk, I decided to do a little bit more research about top complaints/concerns about parenthood. Of course a variety of topics came up with most of them focusing on the psychoemotional aspects of parenthood. I came across a list on the TLC network that pretty much summed up my experience and opinions about parenting thus far.
5. Everyone has an opinion.
Isnt’ this the truth. I got all sorts of advise solicited and unsolicited from people. Everything from how to not let my child ruin my life to the EASY technique. Of course the Eat, Activity, Sleep, Yoo technique was the only thing I took away from the Baby whisperer book. Basically, the baby eats, does an activity after eating (diaper change, read a book, sing a song), sleeps and then you have some time for yourself. A good way to get baby and you on a routine that is baby directed. Take whatever advise works for you and your baby and ignore the rest.
4. Parenthood takes a physical toll.
From sore shoulders to dark circles under your eyes. Being a parent is hard physical work. It can be difficult to find time to take care of yourself with a little one. It is important to continue to exercise even if that means pushing baby around the neighbourhood. Lots of community centers and gyms now offer programs such as baby and me yoga and stroller exercise. For mothers who have had a C section, please consult with your doctor. Treatments such as massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, craniosacral therapy, yoga, mindfulness based meditation can all help to alleviate the physical toll of parenting.
3. There are days you are going to feel like a failure – but you are not.
As parents we all have our goods days and bad days. Parenting is not always glamorous or what we envision it to be. What really matters is that we try our very best with the purest of intention for our children’s well-being.
2. The relationships in your life will change
Parenting can be very stressful on a marriage and other relationships on your life. It is important to continue to nourish and make time for the relationships that feed us as human beings not just mothers.
1. Parenthood is the hardest thing you will ever do but it is worth it.
Being a parent is not for everyone and that’s ok. No matter the route you took to be a parent, there is nothing as satisfying as watching your child grow in front of you and become an independent human being. It is truly an amazing transformation to witness.
What challenges have you experienced as a mother?