My first child was born just over 3 years ago and my youngest is almost a year old…so by NO means do I claim to be a “seasoned veteran” at this whole parenting thing. However, I will say this: sometimes in order to just get myself through the day, I have to tell myself that I DO know what I am doing. As mamas, we second guess ourselves, especially with our first borns, and we need to stop! Of course there are ways to completely mess up our children… am I doing some/many/all of them? Probably! I used to peruse mommy blogs and websites, Google different ailments in babies and toddlers in a complete panic, ask family and friends their opinions on everything under the sun, until one day I just stopped. I am not sure when it happened, it just did. Maybe it was in one of my coffee-laden routines of each and every morning. One day, I just looked at my kids and realized how happy and healthy they are. Maybe it was in the nightly routine that my daughter and I have now, when I was rocking her at 3:30 a.m. and reassuring her I was there for her, feeling her soft skin against my cheek. Or maybe, just maybe, it was when I looked in the mirror one day and truly saw the Mama I have become.
A good one. The best one, in my kids’ and husband’s eyes. Every day, I am seeing her more and more. And she has some advice for other mamas who struggle with feeling like they don’t know what on God’s green Earth they are doing, a "Top 10 List" if you will.
1. It’s totally okay that you are addicted to your phone. Some days it’s our only contact with the outside world and grown-ups. So go ahead, check Facebook one more time before lunch.
2. Your child/children will not die just because you leave them with someone else. Yes, they may cry and yes it’s hard to leave them and your heart may feel like it’s breaking, but it’s not. They will be just fine…and so will you!
3. A friend told me once, “Pick one or two people you really trust and those are your go-to people for advice and help with raising kids.” This stuck with me. My go-to’s are my family doctor and my best friend. They put up with my crazies!
4. You are not evil if you formula feed your baby, put bumpers in the crib and/or give your toddler the Ipad during lunch. You are doing what is best for you and your kids at that time and place. Don’t ever let anyone else’s judgements make you think you are a bad mom. Ever. Professional or not, they are your kids and you know what is best for them and you.
5. I heard this the other day…”Having children is a stressor in a marriage.” Why, yes…yes it is. And a huge “THANK YOU!” to the person who had the courage to say it out loud. Marriage is hard work, and even harder after having kids. Be prepared for this and the complete overhaul your relationship will go through. No one talks about this part. THIS is what should be taught in a Prenatal class. Am I right?
6. It’s okay that you wear yoga pants and t-shirts every dang day. Confession time…it’s April 3, 2015. I haven’t worn anything EXCEPT yoga pants since November 28, 2014 at an early family Christmas celebration. There, I said it. And it’s not just because I am finishing my yoga teacher certification, it’s because I LOVE THEM.
7. Tylenol can be your best friend. That is all. Especially for teething or sick little ones.
8. Chances are you will be a different person once you become a Mama. I did, and everything I once wanted for my life, didn’t exist anymore. It has taken me three years but I am finally feeling like a better version of the person I was. So find your passion and follow your dreams because your kids will then become dreamers themselves.
9. Set your alarm for one hour before your kids wake, if you can. Time to yourself is the key to balancing this crazy job called motherhood. Workout, catch up on emails, drink hot coffee, do yoga…whatever makes your heart happy. Remember that your soul needs to be fed with love and nourishment that it can only get from YOU. So please, give yourself this gift and your whole family will reap the benefits. Oh, and then nap when your kiddos do in the afternoon, you’re going to need it because you were up so early!
10. Repeat after me. “I have enough. I do enough. I am enough.” My best friend sent this to me and it literally made my jaw drop because I find it so powerful. When you are doubting yourself and needing reassurance, get it from YOURSELF by making this your mantra. Repeat it over and over, it's true, Mamas. You got this and you are amazing! Start seeing yourself as the Mama your kids see. She is fantastic!
Jen Kaminsky is a mama, first grade teacher, and soon to be certified yoga instructor. She enjoys baking and reading with her children, and being active with her family.