Recently I’ve been reflecting on the past two years raising my daughter and I’ve come to a conclusion: this motherhood thing is not easy. Especially, if you are like me and are a little older (I gave birth to my child at 39), very structured and scheduled, and perhaps a little Type-A/OCD. So, how do we get through it? Here are a few tools that have helped me in my journey over the last couple of years.
Facebook Groups for Moms
Many of my friends have children. However, most of my friends’ kids are doing things like going to prom, graduating from high school, and starting to drive. Facebook groups for moms have been good places to ask for advice, read about what other new moms are going through, and get tips. A couple of my favorite groups are Ask the Chicks and Holistic Moms of Columbia, SC. However, take these groups and what is suggested in them with a grain of salt. Remember that most of the people posting are moms like you. They are not medical professionals or people with degrees about children (usually). They are simply sharing tips and things that have worked for them. If you or your child has an angry, oozing rash … maybe go visit a doctor? Which leads me to…
Medical Professionals I Trust
I try to do things as naturally and “crunchy” as possible. So, that angry, oozing rash might get some coconut oil and lavender essential oil for a couple of days before I go see a doctor, but I’m not going to let it go for very long. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I found doctors I trust for myself and my little one. Before, I never really needed a doctor outside of the occasional sinus infection, and Minute Clinic did the trick for that. But, something about becoming a mom makes you care more about these things.
Another thing about becoming a mom is that you get advice from EVERYONE – whether you ask for it or not. I know moms who do not visit a regular pediatrician or vaccinate their children, or who opt for a home birth over going to a hospital because they are hesitate about medical intervention during birth. Those moms have offered suggestions and advice to me about those things. I listen to and appreciate the advice. However, you do you and I’ll do me.
If you are seeing a doctor you don’t completely trust, find someone else. I go to doctors I know are going to take care of me and my child. I believe in modern medicine and I love that I know professionals who tell me the truth. We also take our daughter to a holistic doctor and a chiropractor. It’s all about the whole body and doing what is best for you and your family.
Mom Friends I Trust
I am sure you have read about the importance of finding your “tribe.” I have discovered that this tribe does not need to be large or even be people you physically see often. My tribe consists of around three moms who I text or call pretty much all the time to ask for help and advice. They are all different in their philosophies and opinions but they have all helped me when I needed it the most. Mom friends you trust are those you can ask your most ridiculous questions, share your most outrageous anxieties with and even ask to watch your kid for you sometimes. They are out there – find them!
I Accept (and pay for) Help
I very much want to do everything on my own and control how everything is done. What I learned with a newborn (and even more so now with a toddler) is that it is impossible to do it on your own. What I thought would happen is that we would just come home from the hospital and things would be pretty much the way they always were. I would wear my baby in a wrap and do all the things while she stayed content as I wore her. My husband would take care of her while I worked part-time. We wouldn’t need outside help because we are grown adults and we got this. HA! NOPE.
Accept help when it is offered and even outsource some of it. We hired a Postpartum Doula for the first few weeks because we didn’t know how to change a diaper, give this kid a bath, or change her clothes. Basically, we NEEDED help! My dad did our grocery shopping for us and we eventually hired a nanny. We just had to accept that we could not do it on our own, nor could either one of us work “from home” when there was a baby around. My husband and his family work all the time, my mom passed away five years ago and my dad does not live next door. Accepting help (even paying for it sometimes) has really gotten us through times where we wondered how we were going to make it at all.
I Do My Own Research
I am a librarian, so one of my strengths is research and finding relevant, reliable information. When I am wondering about something having to do with my child, I can ask my friends and post to Facebook Groups, but ultimately, I do my own research and read parenting books and blogs to get the answers I need. Some of the best books I have read (and that I go back to time and time again) are: The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, MD; Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina; and Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki. Websites that have helped me include The Baby Sleep Site, CloudMom, and Weelicious.