This is a post that has been whirling around my mind for the past weeks, so I guess it’s going to be a bit lengthy. 🙂
Now that we are in Ellie’s third month, I have been reflecting on what we have gone through and what has helped me in adjusting to this new season of motherhood. A lot of times, I felt very overwhelmed by this responsibility that God entrusted to me. At the same time, I am so grateful for what He has faithfully provided so that my transition from pregnancy to motherhood was as smooth and fruitful as possible.
So here are some thoughts. 🙂 Probably not representative of every new Mum, but I hope it helps a Mummy-to-be in some way.
++ I realised pretty early into this motherhood game that I cannot do everything at one go, nor be everything to everyone. When you’re a new Mum, the words ‘priorities’ and ‘boundaries’ seriously take on a new level of meaning. I literally had to shut out every other request that came to me and obligations honestly had no place in my schedule for the first month. Bren and I simply needed space to try to survive as new parents and our baby needed constant attention and care. When there were pockets of lull periods (which was very rare especially in the first 2 weeks), we grabbed the chance to rest. There were moments where I felt bad – like I was such a lousy friend, a lousy sister, a lousy wife…but God would gently remind me of His calling for me in this season, and I would feel better. I could only choose to focus on loving well – in everything that I did, as long as I did it with the love that God graciously pours into my heart, God says it is enough.
I was wary of over-committing, and only desired to say yes to things that would matter in the long run. I also needed to be conscious of what voices I was allowing inside my head, as their impact on my days were very real. Wallowing on something negative would spoil my mood very easily, and the last thing a baby needs is a grumpy Mummy. Limiting what I viewed on social media, and limiting my intake of other opinions was also helpful. Everyone just seems to have an opinion on everything, and I realised soon enough that if I listened to everyone’s well-meaning advice, I would quickly go bonkers. So instead, I started observing Ellie’s cues more and trusted my gut instinct more often. This approach worked so much better. 🙂 Ultimately, it was the daily quiet moments with God that made the biggest difference. Seeking His wisdom and direction daily helped guard my mind against stress and anxiety, and there is such sweet rest when God takes our burdens.
++Routines are important – for baby, and for us as new parents too. When I didn’t have a routine, I felt very lost. It was difficult to get the hang of things when I couldn’t plan or predict what would come next. So while learning on the job took place, I sought to bring a semblance of order into our days with simple and consistently implemented routines so as to create a reliable rhythm. Progressively, Ellie felt more secure and we were better at managing the unexpected too.
++Tap on whatever help you can get. Readily ask! My sister-in-law helps me out twice a week in the afternoons, and my Mum frequently drops by with dinner and when she’s here, she helps me prepare lunch for the next day too. Bren and I could have some couple-time on weekends only because our parents offered their help. So thankful!
(We finally went to watch Star Wars last weekend! Loved it.)
++Podcasts are a beautiful platform. 🙂 When I’m pumping out milk, these are a great companion. Perfect to listen and learn while I do my Mummy duties. Two of my favourites are: Mom Heart Ministries & Inspired to Action.
++Self-care is worth your time. When I invested time (even if just 15 minutes a day!) in cultivating my inner being and acknowledging my needs, it helped my overall mood because I cared to make space for things that brought smiles to my face. It could be as simple as afternoon naps, buying myself a new top (when I finally went out after my ‘confinement period’ was over, whoohoo!), taking a hot bath that’s more than just a quick shower, haha. I try to wake up earlier every morning too, so I get to have uninterrupted time with the Lord…and some time to just be still, and do my first pumping session for the day. 🙂
++Lastly, having a growth mindset helps to set things in perspective. New Mums are, well, new. Everything is a learning curve for me, and motherhood is a whole different world from just being a wife. I keep reminding myself to keep growing as a Mum through reading something nourishing every single day, if only for just 15-30 minutes. It helps my mind to be engaged, and tinkling with ideas that I read, being refreshed by God’s Word..these little bits help. I focus on what is realistically possible (now with a baby to care for), and pray that God will use the little that I have to make it grow. And of course, an attitude of thanksgiving never hurts.
Concluding my post, I’m reminded of this scene I just witnessed last week, where a Mum was shopping with her two young girls at the supermarket, the girls probably not more than 3 or 4 years old. I was wanting to buy cabbage (engorgement issues, sigh. only Mummies understand my pain…) when I heard her yelling at her younger toddler. Shocked, immediately my mommy-mode came on, and I felt so much for the little one who was being scolded and smacked in public.
Shortly after, I found myself thinking, “I must not be like that to Ellie.”
Then I caught myself – why? Why am I judging someone I don’t even know? I don’t know her story, I don’t know her children, I don’t know what caused such a foul mood in her, I don’t know the complete picture…but one thing I do know – that Mum is made in God’s image too.
And my heart just sank. I’m sorry Lord.
How many times do we judge or assess, thinking that we’ll never behave this way, or our children will never do that? I’m sorry to say that I’ve been there too.
We really need more grace. For ourselves, for others, for our children. Motherhood is hard enough. Let’s encourage and spur one another on towards bringing up children that glorify Him. 🙂 No competition, no condemnation, but all moving together towards the same goal.
Yes, Mummies, we can do this!
All by His grace alone.