The beginning is always the hardest

Preparing for this second baby has made me think a lot about the transition into motherhood the first time around. Change can be difficult, but add sleep deprivation, hormones, body changes, and a complete lifestyle overhaul to the mix and shit can get down right crazy. It doesn't matter what books you read or advice you hear, new parenthood will change you in ways you didn't think were possible.

 I didn't particularly love my job before I went on maternity leave, but I was missing the routine and the independence I had before this newborn entered my life; oh and the sleep... did I mention that I missed the sleep? I felt like a stranger in my own life, I didn't even recognize myself. I felt like I had lost my identity and I wasn't quite sure I was ready or wanted this new identity.  But I was always sure I wanted to be with my baby everyday and it was hard for me to even leave her for a short time, So going back to work was not the right choice for me. I had to create a familiarity in this new life. We have the choice to invent and reinvent our life story every day. With motherhood I needed to start a new chapter.

Slowly with time, and more sleep, I began to appreciate this new life as a stay at home mom. I started to see the positive moments with so much more clarity instead of worrying about what I thought my life should be like. The moments when we are outside and the weather is perfect and she is full of joy exploring the world. The moments she hugs and snuggles with the dogs so peacefully. The moment she first played in the rain. The moment she accomplishes something and turns around with a big smile. Those moments I get to be a part of every day began to be what I focused on. The moments when she is screaming, dogs running through the house loudly, messes everywhere and the 2nd or 3rd poopy diaper change also happen... everyday, but what job doesn't have downsides. 

I came up with a few things that helped me with the change. Now Ill have something to look at in a few months when I am back to those newborn days. You could also apply these to other difficult life changes.

1. Find the silver lining

     If you can change your thoughts, for even just a moment, you will change your perception and mood. There is always a silver lining, but it may seem very small at first. For me it began as; No more awful rush hour commute! and I get to wear comfortable yoga pants all day long, wooohoo! This process is also called Cognitive Behavior Therapy

2. Stop people pleasing

     When days seem dark, you must take care of yourself first. This can be difficult to do because it requires us to speak up, but after wards you will feel lighter. The expectations we feel from others may include those perfect newborn pictures, getting back in shape or even taking care of your toddler a certain way. Pick what is a priority for you and try to fit that in your life; then ignore all the rest. 

3. Get outside

     It doesn't matter if you think there is no time or the weather isn't right, just throw some clothes on yourself and the kids and take a walk. The health benefits of nature are numerous and includes decreased depression, decreased stress, and improved sleep. Everyone knows walking more improves health, so this is a win win situation. Put the phone away, be present and go feel the sun on your face.

4. Find something that is mentally stimulating for you and do it.

     This is not something to worry about at first since sleep deprivation will limit you to basic survival mode. But once some of the chaos subsides you have to find something that sparks your interest and make some time to do it.  I think the hardest part of this is making the time. Kids are magic they seem to make all your free time disappear. With my first baby I started by making it to a few Yoga classes again. Continuing to blog will be something I want to keep busy with once baby number two arrives. Taking time to do something just for yourself will make you a better parent the other 23 hours of the day. 

5. Reach out to a friend. 

     This does not include liking or commenting on a baby picture on Facebook. I mean a real conversation, on the phone or even better in person and enjoy that adult connection again. New motherhood can be lonely at times, so it is vital you make time for your friends, even just for an hour. Put the baby down, and get out of the house.  Some of life's best moments include good company, good food, and good wine. Cheers!

6 comments:

  1. Layla who knew you are such a good blogger?! This is a wonderful read. Sunshine therapy is my saving grace. And of course reaching out to a friend- can't wait to see you again soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess I'm unknown, to most. But you I'm known as Dani.

      Delete
    2. Dani, So glad you had a chance to read this and liked it. See you soon friend!

      Delete
  2. Great blog Lay. Your posts read really well and flow together nicely.

    I'm always here if you need me little sister.

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great blog Lay. Your posts read really well and flow together nicely.

    I'm always here if you need me little sister.

    xxx

    ReplyDelete