By Normi Alvaira-Herrera, dedicated specifically for the newbie moms.
So another new year rolls in, and just like any other Mom, you list down resolutions and goals that you hope to follow through the whole year. You come back from a long holiday fully recharged, ready to take on anything. But as routines go back to normal, reality hits you hard in the head—motherhood is still as challenging and as exhausting as the year that was, and there isn’t anything “new” about motherhood this year. You watch as your resolutions fly through the window while you deal with dirty diapers, piles of laundry, tantrums, and house chores that seem to never end.
And just like that, the first month of the year is over, and you wonder where on earth the days have gone. Cheer up, January is not the only month you can commit to a set of resolutions. Consider February your new January. There’s a lot of room to make changes, and for us mothers, the change we need is more often an internal change than an external one. We may not be able to change our circumstances, but we can change the way we see them.
Here are 12 mommy resolutions for newbie moms. Come on, mommies, let’s do this.
1. Do not sweat the small stuff.
Just because your child has pooped a different shade than you expected, you become worried sick that he might be having a serious digestive disorder. As long as your baby is thriving—meaning he is gaining good weight, happy and alert—then it is all good. There’s a fine line between discerning an unnecessary worry and feeling the “mommy-gut instinct.” Listen more to the latter.
2. Take unsolicited mommy advice in good faith.
With our culture, you really can’t avoid the unsolicited mommy advices—be it from your friend, a mother in the mommy network you are part of, in-laws, or even your own mother. Instead of looking at it as criticizing your parenting abilities or being annoyed with their “know-it-all” remarks, take those advices with the thought that they mean well for you and your child. You can always filter advises that are applicable to you and your baby, and genuinely thank them for helping you with their comments and suggestions.
3. Stop reading about child-related tragedies.
This can seriously cause you paranoia that you do not need. While it is good to be aware, overdoing it can bring anxiety attacks and negative thoughts for you, which eventually will affect how you deal with your child. There’s really nothing you can do to control these from happening, all you can do is say a prayer for the affected families and hug your little one tighter, praying that she will always be kept healthy, safe and protected.
4. Don’t be a helicopter parent.
You can’t do anything at all when you keep hovering around your precious one all the time. Allow your baby to explore his environment on his own. Of course, parental supervision is still important, but you don’t have to run at his aid every time he falls or immediately snatch that toy when he is about to put it in his mouth. Unless the area he is playing in is not suitable for babies, you can just watch your baby from afar and see how he enjoys his surroundings while discovering his skills and capabilities on his own.
5. Let your husband take over sometimes.
Daddies, believe it or not, want to be involved in caring for your baby. More often than not, husbands are criticized more than affirmed when it comes to taking care of the baby. This makes them reluctant to participate. Allow your husband to find his own groove in nurturing your child, just as you did when you were starting. Let your child establish a special bond with him in this way, as you also give yourself a break from all the diaper changing and baby-cradling time.
6. Sit down and enjoy your meal.
When was the last time you actually savored your food and not scarf it down real fast? How about enjoying a really hot meal instead of chowing it cold? This year, make it a point to take your time at the dining table and mindfully eat your food. Eat with pleasure, even if it is just a simple everyday dish, and see how it improves your mood naturally.
7. Do not easily quit.
Be it breastfeeding, exercising or pursuing personal interests—do not give up on it just because the baby has become too difficult to manage. Before you throw in the towel with breastfeeding, give it a 6-month probation period. I assure you that by the end of it, you have mastered the art of nursing. When you exercise, shorter and more consistent efforts can go a long way. As for pursuing personal interests, discover slivers of time to learn new skills or to work on your crafts. Take advantage of the downtimes, while your baby is asleep or when your husband is around to watch over him.
8. Give yourself a break.
Attending to a baby or a toddler can beat doing all the house chores a hundred times over. Okay, so maybe I am exaggerating. But I believe many would agree that it can be a very exhausting job. Allow yourself to get naps when you can (a 5-minute power nap can do you wonders!), go to a salon for some pampering, have a good massage, go out alone and just enjoy being on your own. Do not feel guilty when you do take a break. Your child will be fine without you for at least an hour or two. Remember, you need to rest and refresh yourself so you can be a better mom to your child. So go ahead and do just that.
9. Admit when you need help.
Mommies would normally endure the difficulty of taking care of a baby rather than bother others with it. But let me remind you, mommy, your superwoman abilities can only do so much. You don’t have it all figured out yet and definitely your strength can only take you so far. You won’t be less of a mother when you ask for help from others. It is called being wise, because you know that you need others to become the best mother for your baby. Especially when you are going through post-partum depression—which is common among new mothers—reach out to someone when you feel like you are having a hard time keeping it all together. Family and friends will be very much willing to help you anytime.
10. Get enough sleep.
I know sleep can be elusive, especially on the first 3 months of your baby’s life. But when your baby starts to sleep through the night, please do get sufficient sleep too. Nighttime sleeping is the only time where your body regenerates. Heed numbers 5, 8 and 9 and you will be able to get at least 6 hours of good shut-eye and wake up recharged for another hectic day.
11. Don’t forget to be pretty.
Wear make-up or put on a blush-on, at least. Brush your hair and put it in a neat bun. Do not use the baby as an excuse for not prettifying yourself. Baby or no baby, you need to always be well-groomed—yes, that means taking a shower too, EVERY DAY. Your husband wouldn’t want to lose the once hot chick he was head over heels in love with just because she’s a mother now. I’m not asking you to get all dolled-up because time is limited and babies are sensitive to cosmetics—but putting on a little color on your lip, curling your lashes and taking a really soothing bath (in 3 minutes tops) can surely make you feel good about yourself.
12. Have quality time with your husband.
Since the baby arrived, all your attention and focus has been on the baby and your husband understands that. But do not neglect him altogether. Have a moment alone with your husband. Cuddle under the sheets when the baby is asleep, make him his favorite dish or give him a relaxing massage. Husbands really just need reassurance from their wives that they are not forgotten. Resume your date nights like when you were still young (and wild and free!). Make your husband feel that he is still your priority. Spoil him rotten with gestures that will make him fall madly in love you over and over again.
As you begin the second month of 2015 with great anticipation, may these resolutions help you achieve a happier and more meaningful year in your motherhood journey.
Normi Alvaira-Herrera is a work-at-home mom who is an advocate of gentle birth, lotus birth, and all things natural and organic. In fact, she gave birth to her second son in their home, without medical assistance (her water broke and she had to give birth while her doula was stuck in traffic!). She talks about her gentle birth experience, motherhood, and her faith in her blog, while also writing professionally on the side. She has two energetic boys, a 2 year old and an 8-month old.