Last year, I was a brand-spanking-new fresh out-of-the-hospital mom. I had a 3 day old infant so my immediate goals were to pretty much resume all normal bodily functions [It got real national geographic folks.] As I reflect back on the last year of life with a new (now one-year old), I have crafted what I consider to be Six Essential Secrets of Motherhood.
Whether you’re in the throes of sweet newborn (sleep-deprived zombie) bliss, chasing around a couple of tantrum-throwing toddlers , or perhaps you’re a seasoned mom veteran with self-sufficient kids that require more complicated reserves of energy – these Six Essential Secrets are for you.
- It is okay to stretch out days between showers as much as humanly possible. All you need is a good dry shampoo. And with the right liquid eyeliner, you don’t even need to re-apply makeup the next day. [Wait, you don’t do that? Yeah, just kidding… Me neither… ]
- Remember the rule of balance. You can’t always give 100% of your time to everything, but you CAN be strategic about how you balance it. For me, I’m locked in a giant chess match of how to balance work, family time and social time [Translation: Happy Hour. Mama loves a good cocktail with girlfriends.] Sometimes I make it work, sometimes I fail miserably, and that’s okay. [And sometimes I’m just too exhausted to do any of it so I put on PJ’s and call it a day. For those instances, see #3.]
- It’s okay to say NO. I’m going to tell you a secret. I LOVE saying no. I LOVE staying home on a Friday night in my PJ’s and cuddling with my adorable little family. And I’m not ashamed. [There’s probably a 12-step program for this.] LADIES – It is okay to say no – say no to the obligations and the commitments. If, at the end of a long week, all you want to do is scoop up your little one and squeeze them tight, DO it. Don’t be ashamed. Say no and ENJOY it. You’ll never regret that you did.
- Take a deep breath and cherish these moments. They go by so fast. For example, I woke up this morning and my sweet cuddly newborn baby boy had magically turned into a one year old who was maniacally dropping food on the floor giving me major attitude. When did THAT happen? [He obviously gets the attitude part from his father.]
- You are allowed to cut yourself some slack and give yourself some credit. You’re doing an amazing job. Every morning that I successfully make it out of the house on time I give myself a little “NAILED IT” cheer inside my head. And you know what happens next? I kick butt the rest of the day. That’s how I roll. [Or it’s a hard day and I curl up in the fetal position. Either way.]
- Don’t take everything so seriously – a sense of humor makes all the difference. This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but I promise you there is no surviving without it. Don’t worry about all the Pinterest-perfect photo-captured memories you may attempt to make. You’ll forget those eventually. But you’ll remember the humorous moments and all the laughs you had. You’ll remember how much fun being a mom is and how much joy it brings you because that is the BEST secret of all.