The first year of motherhood is filled with moments unlike any you've experienced before. Mum-of-four Rebekah Hoeft shares her tips on making sure you don't blink and miss any!
The first year of motherhood is filled with moments. Moments of pure indescribable joy, moments of excitement, moments of stress, moments that are unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Whether high or low, they all equate to a year full of magic, milestones and the beginning of the greatest journey of your life.
During this year your life is turned on a new axis. You’re constantly in a state of change, learning and experimenting. There are so many pressures that you feel once you become a mother and the expectations you place upon yourself are mammoth. Here are some inspiration for helping you thrive during your first year of motherhood.
Take time for friendships, time for your relationship and importantly, time for yourself.
When you become a mum your new baby becomes your number one priority and the thought of going out without them is not a thought you tend to entertain. The reality is, to be the best mum you can, also means taking time for you, time to unwind, refresh and nurture yourself so you can fulfill both yours and your baby’s needs. You need to look after yourself in order to look after your little one whether that means you time, a date with hubby or a girls day; do it and don’t feel guilty, enjoy every minute. Take time to reconnect with your partner, keep your relationship alive and growing, stable and strong and not neglected. Take the time to talk and put thought into keeping your love life a priority because, it is. Hold onto friendships to give you balance and a break, that necessary escape that you sometimes crave. In order to thrive as a new mum, you need to have time for yourself and your mental health.
Don’t compare yourself or your parenting to others.
This I cannot stress enough, do not make comparisons! I am a firm believer that if your baby’s needs are being met and you are doing the best you can then you are winning at motherhood. Every mother has a different parenting style, different beliefs and a different approach to situations and therefore, will make different decisions. As a mum I know it is easy to make comparisons however, making these comparisons is only going to drive you crazy and will ultimately cause unnecessary stress and disappointment. So, instead of making comparisons or letting yourself judge others, let’s lift each other up, praise the good, offer support and be kind; be kind to yourself and all the other mums around you. With an approach of kindness instead of comparing you will find yourself lifting each other up and building a great network of friends who all want the same thing, the best for their baby. Having a no comparisons mindset you will find yourself thriving, feeling victory within each of your own successes and pride in knowing you are doing your best and that your best is enough, it is more than enough.
Remember to smile, laugh and maintain your sense of humour.
I won’t sugarcoat it, being a mum can be hard work. There are moments that push you to the brink of insanity but I promise you, your baby who can drive you crazy will also bring you the most overwhelming sense of love and joy. That madness will subside and in time, whether minutes, days or even years you will likely laugh about each maddening moment. If you can maintain your sense of humour all the days of darkness won’t seem so dim, the light will shine bright and guide you through any hard times and with that smile on your face you are untouchable. Throughout motherhood you will face many laugh or cry moments, pick laugh mum, always try and pick laugh. That laughter will lighten your stress and will likely bring joy to baby too.
Cherish all the little things, enjoy the simple pleasure
The simplicity and the chaos, the laughter and the tears, the flowers outside or the song on the radio, each accomplishment, coffee, smile, or, cuddle, cherish them and relish each moment and the memory being created. This first year is filled with many milestones, a lot of firsts for you, your partner and of course, your new baby. These significant moments are the beauty of life, the beauty of growth and are our memories being created. By cherishing all the little things it fills your soul with a sense of inner peace and by enabling yourself to find joy in the simple things will give you a deep sense of happiness that cannot be explained, only felt. It is a simple yet crucial tool to help mums thrive and yet it can be so difficult to achieve.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Our lives are so fast paced that it is too easy to get caught up with the never ending list of things to do, but allow yourself time to step back, breathe and enjoy this time. Some days you may have a mountain of washing to be done, an un-mopped floor, or maybe just feeling a bit “behind”. Remember, this period is all about discovering how to be the best mum that you can and your baby is your top priority. All the the jobs will get completed however, your main job at this time is enjoying motherhood and raising a little person who is spoiled with love, cuddles and time. Things will go wrong but SO much more will go right!
Build your village
Establishing a good network of friends and family during the early stages of motherhood is a great way to thrive as a new mum, this little village can provide you with a solid foundation who can offer you support, guidance, love and help. Therefore, making a world of difference during your first year of motherhood.
Thriving as a mother comes down to believing in yourself and the decisions you make, surround yourself with people who support you and continually lift your spirits, choose kindness instead of comparisons, cherish every moment, laugh, laugh and laugh and remember, take time for you. You’ve got this mama!
Rebekah Hoeft is a mama to Mokoiah, David, Madeline and Delilah. She shares her experiences on her blog, Simply Six. Rebekah lives in Auckland, New Zealand.