When you were pregnant, everyone told you that your entire life was going to change. You knew it was true. But somehow, when the day came, you were never quite ready for it. Now you realize that your entire life is changing in ways that you never thought possible.
For the next decade or so, every decision you make will have your child in mind. Your entire life is going to be structured around keeping this tiny infant happy and healthy.
There’s no shame in asking yourself this question. Here’s some advice for embracing your new role, so you can enjoy motherhood instead of feeling frightened or threatened by it.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
In today’s society, the media tends to give the impression that women are supposed to be happy and smiling in every stage of motherhood. We’re also held to impossibly high standards. Moms are supposed to do it all: clean the house, get the kids to school, fix three healthy meals a day, pay the bills, and hold down a job all at once!
It’s not always humanly possible to be the “perfect mother.” And if you need assistance navigating this new world of motherhood, there’s no shame in asking for help. Talk to fellow parents, share stories, and collect advice.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a break if you need it. You’ll have a much easier time embracing your new role as a mother if you know when to ask for help, instead of feeling like you have to bear the burden all by yourself. Your experience might be unique, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.
2. Accept Changes Instead of Fighting Them
As Motherly points out, the plans you made during your pregnancy may not always pan out. Maybe that relative who was supposed to help you moved to another state. Perhaps you had to leave your job and become a stay-at-home mom?
Whatever the case, be prepared to accept the changes that come your way. Because any parent will tell you that there’s no way to plan for every aspect of motherhood. We might think we’ve got it all figured out, but life always manages to sweep the rug out from under us.
And that’s okay. Nobody has to have it all figured out at any stage of their lives. Motherhood is a journey. And these sudden changes are going to teach you a lot about yourself. Just be flexible and embrace changes instead of fighting them.
3. Don’t Demand Perfection From Yourself
There’s no such thing as the perfect parent. Everyone’s going to make mistakes along the way. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent; it’s just a part of life.
Don’t demand perfection from yourself, and then bully yourself with insults and guilt trips if you make a mistake. Because let’s face it: you’ll never embrace your new role as a mother if you’re convinced you’re terrible at it.
When you make a mistake, step back, and evaluate the situation. Ask yourself: is this really a major issue? Will I even remember this a year from now? Months later, you’re not going to be thinking about the one night that you let your child eat chips for dinner. And if it is a bigger issue, you’ve got plenty of time to work on it.
Did you think your parents had it all figured out when you were a kid? They were improvising the whole way, just like you.
4. Educate Yourself
One of the scariest things about being a new parent is not knowing what to expect. You can’t prepare yourself for every eventuality. But you can prepare yourself to have an idea of what to expect as your child grows older.
If you’re anxious about a topic, research could help quell that anxiety. Are you afraid your child’s going to get bullied at school? Read up on bullying, how to talk to your child about it, and what you can do if it happens to them. Worried about your child getting a common childhood disease, like an ear infection? Educate yourself about ear infections and what to do if your child starts showing symptoms.
Raising a child is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. But it can also be one of the most terrifying. Education is key to embracing your role. Additionally, it helps ease some of the anxiety that comes with the “What ifs.”
When you educate yourself on various topics, the vague images that scared you become clear.
Despite the challenges that lay ahead, you know you wouldn’t turn back the clock even if you had the chance to. Yes, it can be frightening, and sometimes you may feel like no one understands your struggles. But it’s also rewarding. So, take a deep breath, arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible, and enjoy the ride of your life.