For most first time mothers, in the beginning, motherhood can be overwhelming.
It’s this crash course into a whole new world—one you can never be prepared to enter.
I am shocked they don’t give you a “how to” guide on parenthood when you leave the hospital. The day we brought my oldest home from the hospital, my husband and I looked at each other as she sat in her car seat all buckled up and tiny, and said, “what now?” Neither one of us really had any experience with babies and knew we would, for the most part, be winging it. Of course we read all the new parent books and guides from the hospital but I swear, it all went out the window on day one.
As my hubby and I soon came to realize, every child is distinctly different. But even figuring that out took time! A lot of time! We had no time for anything else!
When I was pregnant, mothers would tell me they didn’t have time to take a shower or put on makeup or browse their favorite blogs, and I would think “why not?” But now, I completely understand. Motherhood is an extremely busy job. Before I had kids, I simply did not get it. I had no idea the amount of energy and effort it takes to be a mom, spouse and have a career.
One major aspect of my life to suffer were my friendships.
I was one of the first of my friends to have children, which was kind of brutal at first. I didn’t have many close peers to bounce ideas off of or ask questions or simply cry on an understanding shoulder. As a new mom, I found it very difficult to manage my previously healthy, happy friendships. There was barely any time for myself. My best friends live out of town so no one could just pop in and say hello or help around the house which also meant that they could not see the reality of motherhood firsthand.
They loved me, but didn’t truly understand the struggle of those first several months adjusting to this new life.
I was used to talking to my bestie at all hours of the day or night. All of a sudden, I wanted to sleep any free chance I could get. We used to gossip about random things and engage in silly pop culture debates. Now, I wanted to talk about why my baby had acne and would it ever go away. We used to send pics of what to wear to events and get “approval” from each other. Now, I wanted to find diapers that didn’t leak when my baby had a blow out. She wanted my advice on all of her business decisions and I could barely keep a clean shirt on.
Clearly our priorities had changed—and therefore our relationship changed.
At first, it was hard to even make the time to call friends. While a fellow mother would completely understand, my single friends could not. They didn’t understand why I didn’t want to chit chat or why I was too tired to even think about anyone else, especially them. They were offended and felt like I was abandoning them. For me, I simply felt this new little life needed me more.
What I realized was I was very focused on being a great mommy, which is exactly what I needed to be at the time. I was breastfeeding on demand around the clock which was very time and energy-consuming for me.Mommy brain made me forget things often and I found it hard to hold long conversations.
In so many ways, my focus had shifted.
It took me a while to adjust and learn how to balance motherhood with other aspects of my life. It helped a ton when my daughter started sleeping longer stretches; when she began to develop a routine and I could begin to predict her patterns. I learned how to take moments for myself and my friends around her schedule. I also had very supportive friends, who although were unaware of the ins and outs of motherhood, were extremely patient with me and waited for me to find my rhythm.
My newborn baby was a major priority at that time because she needed me most of all and my friends had to understand that. It did, however, take me realizing that it wasn’t all their fault if our friendship was going to continue to grow.
It was up to me to introduce them into my new world and be more understanding of the world I had just left behind.
I started to include my friends on decisions I was making about doctors, diapers or making baby food. It didn’t matter how big or small. I also started to schedule more FaceTime talks with them during peak points like breakfast or dinner to include them in the mayhem. I invited them to visit for the day when they were in town. My bestie came to town, spent the day with us and at the end of the day, looked at me and said “I am in shock that you are responsible for feeding and taking care of all these people; I can barely feed myself some days!”
To the friends who who were more than willing and super excited to take the journey with me: Thank you.