Being a mother has changed me in so many ways but I think the one and most important way has been the increase in confidence.
I consider myself a pretty confident person even pre baby, but once that little soul entered this earthly realm..oh boy..
Perhaps it was the mama bear instinct that kicked in, perhaps something else, but one thing I know for sure. I wanted to teach my daughter how to be confident in herself and for that, she need the best role model she could have. Who am I to tell anyone to be confident if I can’t be so myself? I got to live up to it and lemme tell you.. It feels pretty darn good.
Though the days of being hyper insecure are just a faint memory of the past at this point, I quickly learned how to stand up for myself in ways I hadn’t considered before. Most importantly, with everything that I do, I remind myself that I am doing my best and that is good enough because that’s what I want my daughter to live by.
2 Know what you want and don’t want
Having a child has made me stronger in so many ways but one weakness I’ve always had has been knowing what I want and stating it. She helped me with that one too. Seeing my daughter so fiercely expressive when it comes to what she wants and doesn’t want has taught me how to recognize my own desires and in that, giving myself the freedom and permission to be more vocal when it comes to expressing my own desires and needs.
On the flip side of that. I find it equally as important to know and recognize what you don’t want. So often I come across people doing a lot of things they don’t want to do because they are scared of saying no. This is where I always tell people to treat themselves like they would their own children. I would never want my daughter to do anything she doesn’t want to do, and I’m not talking skipping bedtime here... but so many of us have learned that life comes with a whole list of ‘you have to, even if you don’t want to’ and as a result most of us don’t realize when we’re neglecting ourselves by doing things we don’t want. It often looks like an internal conversation of 'mmm I don’t really want to, like I reaaaaallly don’t want to but I should. She might be disappointed in me or get mad if I don’t.. but I really don’t want to.. I guess I’ll do it anyways’ and that’s the end of that. Have you ever seen how much resistance comes with a child that is being forced to do something they don’t want to? Yeah.. that should be you.. except for the temper tantrums.. know what you don’t want and trust your emotional guidance system on this one.
The other day I read a post from a girl talking about how she looked up to this other woman because she would always prioritize everyone else before herself. Insert red flags!!! ALARMS GOING OFF OVER HERE!!!
I had to let out a deep sigh.. oh sweet girl... how can I tell you to prioritize YOU! Putting everyone else’s needs before your own is a sure recipe for a lot of bitter resentments followed by ‘I did this for you’ and ‘you owe me’ with a side of potential fatigue.
Learn to say no guys, and ladies! No can be extremely healthy..
3 Self care is crucial
It’s 2018, unfortunately we don’t live in tribes anymore and often times raising a child is a one woman show. (Or shit show). In those cases. Self care is crucial.
Finding the time for it though... I know I know.. good luck.. but finding ways to fill my own cup or should I say PRIORITIZING - filling my own cup whenever I can is an absolute necessity. Without it, I’m a horrible person! I’m far from the best version of myself which means I slack when it comes to being a good mother, wife, friend. I become a hot mess!! Angry & overwhelmed with the endless chores, tears and laughter that comes with being a mother.
So how do I find the time to take care of myself and what do I do? I ask someone to babysit. In my case it's mostly just hubby that gets to do that. Husband, friend, family, whoever you trust, just call for help.. And for that hr, I will do something that I know makes me feel good! I know it can be incredibly tempting to just sit down in a corner or lay in bed and scroll on the phone for an hour but I try and do something that I know will pay off.
I read a book, meditate, go for a loooong walk without the phone - or with it in case I want to listen to an audio book. (Motherhood teaches you to multitask on a whooole other level). I go for a run or go to the gym, preferably anything that gets me out of the house and do something different. But most importantly.. I BREEEAATH! I put that fight or flight feeling on pause for a bit and I breath through it all.
In the past I would find myself procrastinating a lot because hey. I can always do it later.. Then motherhood came along... What does 'later' mean? if I have 10 min it's either now or never.
4. It’s the little things
Noticing how water pours from a bucket, the texture of sand, turning a piece of paper into 50, squeezing a blackberry in your fist, eating with your hands, sitting in a drawer because you can, tasting new things, laughing more... The never ending beauty of this earthly realm that we find ourselves in is just breathtaking.
When My husband was out walking with our daughter (before she could walk) he would always stop and smell the roses with her because ‘one should never be too busy to stop and smell the roses’. Today we can barely go anywhere without having to smell EVERY plant. I say plant because we have to smell the grass, the bushes, the dandelion, the rose and the dried up weeds. I mean.. how can you do anything but smile, and be late to your every appointment.. ‘sorry, my daughters had to stop and smell the flowers’.
In those moments I’m reminded that everything at every moment is new. There’s always something new if only we stop and wonder with the eyes of a child.
It’s the little things in life that makes it all worth while. The smiles, the tears, the hugs, the kisses.. they’ve become the big things.
5. Be present - this too shall pass
I’m constantly reminded that no matter how trying it can be, good or bad, this too shall pass.. With each breath you take, every moment passes and becomes a memory before your eyes. Before you blink, you’re no longer pregnant but have a little human in your arms, blink, this little thing is now crawling, blink, walking, blink, mommy mommy can I.. blink, woa what happened... Time.. Time is what happened and yes, it flew by at the speed of lightning.
having a little one makes it easier to see just how fast time flies and it’s forever a reminder to be in the present moment because if you’re not, you’ll be missing out on a lot.