10 Life Lessons from my Journey to Motherhood.Motherhood comes with many lessons.
Whenever a new mom asks for advice, I often share what I consider to be one of the most important lessons on my journey; the importance of making selfcare a priority by learning to mother myself.
Not only has it been the foundation of our company but has made me a much happier and healthier mother and woman.
In honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to share a few other lessons from motherhood that have been useful in other areas of my life.
Embrace differences. We've all heard this before, but it is worth remembering and understanding this simple truth. It's easy to fall into the trap of judging another mother for not parenting the way you do, but there's no need to see someone else's choices and values as a rejection of your own. In the same way that every child is different, our way of mothering must be unique too. Someone will always have an (often unsolicited) opinion on the choices we make; and it’s usually because they’re different from the choices that they have made.
“Show me a mother, and I’ll show you a woman who feels guilty for something, thanks in no small part to the judgmental internet musings of other moms who’ve made different choices.” - Brandy Zadrozny, The Mommy Wars.
- Trust your Instincts. Because every pregnancy, every child, and every family unit is different, the mother becomes the expert on what works for her body and her family. I believe that every mother innately knows what's best for her and her baby and just needs some guidance and support on this journey. Intuition is a powerful force for pregnancy and beyond, and we need to learn to listen to that voice in our own head that guides us.
- It's about perspective. I learned from pregnancy that the female body can do amazing things but it was through my labor experience that I discovered the power of the mind. Both my labors were unmedicated and it really was my willpower that got me through every contraction. Instead of thinking of the pain, I thought of the purpose of each contraction and that I was getting closer and closer to meeting my baby. It was a deeply empowering experience.
- No woman is an island. You CANNOT do it alone. Believe me I've tried and it left me exhausted, frustrated and back at square one. Now, I am fortunate to have a small village (tiny, really) that helps me to raise my children because raising kids is super hard. Assembling a team of trusted advisers and helpers on this journey will go a long way. Most importantly, asking for AND accepting help is not a demonstration of weakness.
- Self-care is not selfish. In fact it is survival. You MUST take the time to nurture and pamper yourself because you can't pour from an empty cup. A few months after my first child was born, I got the flu but insisted on being superwoman, taking care of her, the home and managing business matters. Only after my temperature soared to 104 degrees (!!) and I started hallucinating did I slow down. By this time, however, my daughter and husband had caught my flu. In the end, me trying to be the hero didn't serve anyone. Had I taken the time to take care of myself, no one else may have gotten sick.
- You can't please everyone. Initially, I got caught up in the need be a people-pleaser to avoid offending anyone. After a lot of stress and several instances of the situation blowing up in my face, I realized this simple truth; it's impossible to please everyone. So, it's okay to say no, it's okay to turn down invitations or visits from other people, whether it be friends or family. It's also okay to change your mind after making commitments, if they no longer serve you or fit into your plans. It's okay to structure your life in a way that works best for you and your family unit. Most importantly, it's okay not to feel guilty for doing so.
- We grow at our own pace. Remember the tinge of jealousy you felt when one of the kids from the play group started walking way before yours showed any interest? Every child develops at his/her own pace. Some focus on social developments before physical ones and vice versa. Grownups are on their own path too, don't get caught up in thinking you should be further along than you are. You're exactly where you're supposed to be to learn the lessons you need to learn.
- Growth is necessary. Growth means change and going outside of your comfort zone. You will not remain unchanged by motherhood. Your body will change, your mind will change and your soul will be changed by the tiny human. Embrace and enjoy this reality.
- Appreciate the small things. I've learned that life is truly made of the small moments. Moments that we dare not take for granted when we have kids. There are a lot of firsts on this journey and each one will remind you of how truly special this miracle of life is.
- Give up the quest for perfection. I no longer feel the need to always have a squeaky clean house, in fact now I know it isn't possible. I also know that parenthood and life is about being flexible, doing things you swore you would NEVER do and just doing your best.
What life lessons have you learned on your journey to motherhood?