Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Confessions of a New Mom

So you might think I'm a terrible person for even saying this, but sometimes I struggle with being a mom. That first month after she was born was really rough. I like to call it the 4th trimester, which was much worse than any of the 3 trimesters of pregnancy. But after that first month, it started to get much better. Although most of the time I like being a mom now, there are a few things I am still struggling with. Maybe you other moms can help me out with some ideas....

How on earth do you possibly get a workout in? And what do you do for exercise? (I'm getting sick of stroller walking.)

How do you prioritize? And not feel bad about the stuff you don't get to? And feel productive?

How do you not feel trapped inside your house all day? And not feel lonely.

What hobbies do you have that you can do at home by yourself? (Most of the things I like to do are not the most "stay-at-home friendly".)

How do you not go crazy when you're up in the middle of the night? My mind seems to fret about things irrationally at 3 a.m.

How do you not feel guilty when you feel like your baby is making other people's lives harder or putting them out?

Anyway, even though I struggle with a few things, I'm so glad to have little Em around, and for the opportunity to be her mom. The precious little moments do make up for the struggles.


Will and Natalie Giddens said...

Oh Christy! What you've expressed is nothing any other new mom hasn't felt as well. The best advice I can give you is that there is a season in life for everything. That's not to say that you can't do all the things you want to do, but it may not be exactly as you're used to doing them. You're going to have to let some things go, or at least lower your expectations a tad - for a little while. 6 a.m. 10 mile runs might not be feasible if you've been up two or three times during the night. Maybe try work-out videos you can do from home? Like P90X or something similar?

Also, as someone who's been working full-time for a lot of years, being at home can feel stifling. The thing that helped me the most was changing my expectations as to what constituted a productive day. When my first was a new baby, if I took care of all his needs AND managed to get a shower and even eat a meal, shoot, that was one REALLY productive day.

Now that I'm on my third, my expectations (and abilities) have changed. Giselle is 3 months and I'm getting to the gym three times a week, sometimes at 5 am, sometimes at 10 am. I'm able to put the kids in the KidZone, I'm on a cleaning schedule, my oldest is in preschool, etc. This is not to brag, only to give you hope that it definitely DOES get easier, and that you can definitely do this! The first one is always overwhelming and I vividly remember being right where you are, thinking my life as I knew it was basically over and that I'd never get to be "me" again. Don't fret! The older Emily gets, the better it'll get for you in every way.

Chin up! Get creative with what you're doing - exercise-wise, hobby-wise, social-life-wise, etc. Join a playgroup, go to story time at the library. Motherhood is definitely an exercise in stretching yourself beyond belief. And whatever you do - DON'T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHER MOMS! It will only make you depressed. You have certain talents and abilities that make you the very best mom for Emily. Don't ever doubt that!

whew... Ok, I'm off my soapbox now! Sorry this was so long...

Bethany said...

I'm still struggling with some of these things! ...especially since I've been a 100% stay at home mom for the past few son is 2 but I definitely feel like a novice!

I struggle a LOT with working out as I can't afford a gym membership right now and it's waaaay too hot down here to regularly walk outside during Michael's waking hours. We've got a stationary bike and I've got a couple workout DVDs--neither of which see me much (if at all)...way too boring. (that's all my fault--sheer laziness there) Sorry no advice there other than go to the gym and put Emily in child care there for a little while.

As far as feeling productive, I take advantage of nap time to work on my own stuff. I know everyone says to sleep when they sleep (and I think at the beginning that's super important!) but I feel better when I use it to enjoy some of my own personal interests and projects.

The trapped and lonely thing has been a bit tough here and there these past few weeks--for the first time I realized I have little to no interaction with adults unless I make it happen. I decided to call other stay at home moms in my ward (very few of whom I knew very well as I've been a working mom up until now) and invited them over, met them at the park, went out for girls night etc. Also, I'd previously shied (sp?) away a bit from taking Michael out a ton...I think I thought it was too much trouble...until I met a mom with 3 little ones under the age of 4 who took her active brood EVERYWHERE! I loved watching it! Still don't have her level of courage and stamina :) but I want to be like her!

Middle of the night...while those feedings are TOUGH (and I was sooooo SOOOOO glad when he started sleeping through the night) :) I will say I remember some really really tender late night moments when I'd sing Michael lullabies or primary songs while feeding him or rocking him back to sleep. It's probably just a fond memory cuz it's over. :)

Such a tough transition! I still haven't worked out all the kinks but know your feelings are totally normal and you definitely aren't alone! That alone can be comforting. :)

Melissa D said...

Yep your feelings are totally normal. I started a playgroup with the babies and moms in the ward when Lily was just a few months old. The babies just sat there, but it was the time with the other moms that was precious to me! And now that those babies are now 2, they have a GREAT time playing together and I still have my time with the moms! Take advantage of the library time too, Springville offers a few childrens classes, and we have really liked them! Once again i started taking Lily when she was tiny---for my own sanity more than for her! The info. for the classes is in your utility bill each month. And you can always stop by our house if you are bored!

As for working out, for me it will not happen unless I get up at 5:30am, before the daily chaos begins. And some times 5:30am is sooooo not worth the work out because I've been up three times in the night with Lily...PRAY that when Emily is 2.5 she will sleep all night. I am dying.

Like some one else said, there is a season in life for everything, and right now its about kids! And not about everything you like, love, want to accomplish, etc. Which was soooo hard for me to digest, but once i settled in and realized that this is how it was going to be for several years----I LOVE IT and it is soooo worth it! :)

It will get better---for me it took almost a year to fully appreciate everything and feel ok about my new life. So don't worry if you are still feeling down in a few months. It is a HUGE change in life!

How is Matt doing? One thing that I regret, is that i was so into my feelings that I unintentionally ignored how Eric was ajusting to a baby. Turns out he had a really hard time with things too (in different ways than me). It caused a bit of drifting apart and strain in our marriage, since I was so oblivious to his feelings and needs. So check up on Matt once in awhile and make sure he's fine too and that his frustrations are addressed!
Ok thats all.

Shannon said...

I struggled big time with my first feeling very depressed much of the time. I felt like a not so good mother and that I wasn't fit to be a housewife. As the baby starts sleeping more, you sleep more. When the baby starts feeding itself you do too.

My sister had a pretty good strategy. She put together a daily schedule...not to plan her day away, but to plan at least one thing mandatory for the house and one thing mandatory for herself. She put it at a certain time and she stuck to it, because she knew that if she didn't do it during that time that it wouldn't get done that day.

If you want to be productive mom and wife, you need to take time out for you.
Another idea that I got from the RS President in my ward was...she has an hour of ME time every day. She does it from 8-9pm. This is where she does something just for her. Her husband knows this is her time to take a relaxing bath, or paint her toenails, or exercise, or read her scriptures, or something else that she has wanted to do. Once you get this time, it is easier to prioritize what needs to be done on a daily basis.

Also, to get in a routine makes things easier too. My sister is my inspiration for a lot of the things that I do now. She plans something fun for her kids every day....but it is the same thing every day of that week. Sunday is Hot Cocoa with breakfast (the kids love this), Monday is FHE and something else, can't remember, Tuesday is library day, Wednesday is creativity day, Thursday is game night, Friday is movie night and Saturday is something else fun. It makes doing things as a family that much more enjoyable and your kids remember what day of the week it is that much quicker :).

I hope I helped a little bit. I promise it will get easier in a few months...not years. Keep your head up and take time out for you.

The Bentley's said...

Totally normal...which doesn't make it easier:))) The best investment we ever made is our eliptical... I ilove it because it is quiet not loud like a tredmill... I do it every morning.. and they say it as close to burning as many calories as running.... I feel like after the 3rd kid all my hobbies went out the window. I'm just happy if I can stay caught up with the laundry:)... the newborn stage...aka the first 9months to a year are tough... but after that it just gets better and better... and once you start getting some sleep you will feel better:)

Leserlee said...

Exercise: When the baby naps, or I would put Abigail in the Bjorn and jog on the elliptical. DVDs too.

Prioritize: do what bothers Matt the most, then what bothers you the most, then whatever you still have energy to do. Or tackle one room a day. A different room each day. Or tackle the whole place with Matt once a week. Just do what you can, and don't worry about the rest.

Trapped: That's probably why I'm on the computer way too much. But it also helps to find a like-minded mom friend, and just do something together once a week.

Hobbies: I scrapbooked when Abigail was tiny, but haven't for a few years. Now I digi-scrapbook instead. Reading.

Middle of the night: I had to make a conscious effort to keep my mind as blank as possible so I could go back to sleep quickly.

Guilt: Don't feel guilty. Anyone that has kids, or has had kids understands. We've all been through it, or are currently going through it. You aren't putting people out, you are giving them an opportunity to serve.

I hope this helps.

The Pen Pal said...

I suppose a robust cup of coffee in the morning and a glass of red wine late in the evening is way out of the question?

Krista said...

Christy I'm so glad you posted this! I have been feeling the exact same way with everything you talked about so I was so grateful to read the comments from others. It is kind of nice to know there are others going through the same thing. Good luck to you!

Kristen Brady said...

This is something we all struggle with, and I think it's why so many moms feel unappreciated - not because they actually are, but because they are having a hard time appreciating their own situation. I don't know if that even makes sense, but.... As for me, the best advice anyone gave me was to not look forward to the times she sleeps because that's when I can get things done, but to flip my thinking and look forward to the times that she's awake because I get a break from those things. Also, please realize that it does get a little easier as they start to depend on you less and less to have their every need met. Each new stage brings a whole new schedule, new fears, new highs and lows, and new memories. Find moms who are in the same situation as you and get together. I LOVE the library - it's such a great place to take your baby and read. If you live close enough to things, bundle Emily up and walk to them. Finally, just realize that you won't be able to do everything you want to, and one of the hardest parts of adjusting to parenthood is realizing that your priorities need to completely change. Maybe you won't be able to do all the things you used to, but you can still find new things to do that fit into your life better and that will eventually be just as important to you. It will all work out in the end. Emily is so lucky to have you!

Tamara Gray said...

I love what everyone else said, and totally agree! I remember being in your shoes with Grant, and thinking to myself that people who do it more than once must be absolutely insane because it was so tough. I kept asking people why no one told me that recovery was the most difficult part of pregnancy, or that "4th trimester", as you called it! I absolutely understand you! And yet, here I go again with baby #2, because it got better. He became more independent, I found ways to make it all work (still an effort), and it is working out. I really believe that motherhood is so important to Heavenly Father that He literally increases your capacity as a woman so you can handle it. Have faith, and even though knowing other people have had the same concerns doesn't really change your concerns, I hope it helps you to judge yourself less. You're awesome, and Emily is blessed, and you're going to do just fine.