Try remembering when you found out you were going to have a child, and everyone said to you it would change your life forever? And they were right. If you're anything like I was, your worry button got stuck on, your ESP accuracy skyrocketed, and you suddenly knew everything and nothing all at the same time. And then come to the speeches — all the advice you never actually asked for (and probably never really wanted). Like when your infant is screaming in the middle of the night, and you've had roughly 35 seconds of sleep, and people try to tell you to cherish those moments because they pass by too quickly. Savor the joy of motherhood every second because you never know when they will be over.
Okay, it's true — your life will change forever. And, yes, as your children get older you will miss certain parts of their childhood. But, I can all but guarantee, the parts you miss will not be the tantrums, the endless crying, or the guessing games. You won't miss the sleepless nights, the stress, or crying in the bathroom because you just want to take a shower.
You know what you'll miss? The cuddles. The snuggles. The sweet little cute things they say when they're small and don't know any better. The random “I love you, mommy. You're the best, and when I grow up, I want to be a mommy just like you.”
And you know what? That's okay. It's outstanding.
Too many mothers out there start their motherhood by feeling guilty because they don't know how to handle the stress, but everyone around them keeps telling them they should be happy. First of all, not only is this advice completely useless, but it's wrong.
A new mother needs to learn how to adjust to her new role as a mother. And she has to find out how to make this adjustment while trying to live on 30 seconds of sleep a week. She's got to get to cope with new levels of stress she's probably never dealt with before — and all the while she has to try to keep a whole new human being alive and well. This the type of stress that gives healthy, well-adjusted mothers into postpartum nightmares.
If you're afraid that you've lost the joy of motherhood, just know that you're not alone. In fact, you're in good company — some of the best mothers out there lost their joy at least once or twice.
And if you're wondering whether that you can get that joy back, the answer is yes. It might not be easy, but it's completely doable.
- Take a break. Find a babysitter, a daycare center — anywhere safe you can bring your children for at least a few hours. And for those few hours, resist the urge to try to get a ton of work done — give yourself a break. Relax, binge watch some television read a book, take a bath…relax. Let your body remind itself what it's like to take care of you for a bit.
- Talk to someone you trust. Someone who won't judge you for feeling frustrated with your kids, who won't tell you “you should be happy because these moments won't last.” Someone who will understand that you're frustrated, and will help you cope with that frustration in healthy ways without hurting yourself or your children.
- If all else fails, talk to a professional. More and more psychotherapists and counselors than ever before are being trained specifically to handle postpartum stress and issues, family dynamics, and parenting skills. Connect with one of these professionals and get the help and support you need.
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