Motherhood, although incredibly rewarding, leaves me empty. I'm pouring out to the lovely child I've created, like a waterfall flowing from the mountains; nonstop. Like with anything, doing something constantly can leave you burned out. I don't know if it's my personality type or what, but I love my daughter too much to let a negativity cloud the beauty of parenthood. If you can imagine, we are together 24/7. I feed her, play with her, work with her and teach her every, single. day. When I'm off from work, I'm still working. I'm never off duty from being a mom. And honestly, I am so blessed that I get to do this on a regular basis because I didn't have that growing up. My mother worked crazy schedules to provide above and beyond. I had it all but I wonder the memories we missed creating because she had to sustain our living. So please don't mistake this post for a complaint because it isn't. I just want to clarify that the expectations of being a mom CAN take a toll on you. I was not prepared to deal with this, I just assumed that having kids automatically makes you a superwoman—it doesn't. But after countless nights of feeling exhausted and thinking about what I could change about my life to ensure I feel alive and thrive every single second of my everyday, I came up with a few things that have made a difference.
Take care of yourself first
After we came from the hospital, it became evident to me that if I didn't get up in the morning, got ready for the day and ate breakfast after waking up, I may not have a chance to do any of those things at all. The demands of a newborn (or at least, my newborn) in addition to your body recovering, can keep you from doing the things you need to feel whole. I am no condition to take care of my baby if I haven't taken care of myself first. I was fortunate to have my mother with me the first month of Alana's life, as she took care of me while I took care of baby. But taking care of myself first became my priority when I was on my own. I'm a better mom because of it.
Be in the Word
I am filled to be emptied again. And again. And again. I cannot survive what this world has for me unless I spend time being transformed by the Word. I confess that my quiet times has been consistently inconsistent. I've tried to worship with Alana before breakfast or before/during/after her naps but that was not successful. Maybe in a few months she may be ready to participate with me during these special times but right now, I need to carve out uninterrupted time with my Savior. It looks different every day BUT I am actually making our dates instead of leaving Him hanging. Isn't it beautiful how He desires to meet with us?
I try to carve time before she wakes up or after she's been fed, since she's more likely to cooperate. I joined my local BSF, which I highly recommend, and they facilitate in depth bible studies that are done daily and do not consume much of your time. Plus, they teach babies from ages 0+. I say teach because they're not a kids program that babysits your kid, they actually teach them the same lessons I'm taking, just at their level. My chapter even encourage my baby to sign which fits perfectly for me since I've been teaching her basic sign language. Anyways, if you're looking for a free program that motivates you to be in the Word daily and bring you the community you need, look into it! I love the idea of meeting once a week and getting a little break from mom life to soak up God's Word. And for those who are not religious, meditation is a great alternative. And speaking of meditation...
Listen to your Body
Yoga is my favorite method of exercise. It helps me align, stretch and refresh every part of me. It's the perfect practice to become more in tune with your body. I can pause, quiet the mind and focus on what's going on underneath my skin that may be affecting the rest of my system. Find a way to get your body moving and you can count on the benefits of that oxytocin flow! These days I practice mommy and baby yoga at home if I don't wake up an hour prior to baby.
Mom Friends are the Best of Friends
Face it, your life revolves around your child. I didn't think I was going to be like other moms who are always posting pictures of their children and leaving everyone behind to just be with them. But you don't know what it will be like until you get there. The saying is true, it really does takes a village to raise a child. I don't know where I would be without all the ladies that have been there for me to encourage me and keep me sane during this time. Ashley, Jess, Ida, Liz, Vivi, Liv, Rebecca—y'all don't know how much I've learned from you all. Thank you!
Don't be a lonely mom, go out and find where the moms are and be their friends.
Poetry has always played a huge role in my life. Before I took pictures, I had words. I have notebooks upon notebooks filled with songs and poems that speak the language of my soul. I even won a few poetry contests back in the day (ok, it was one contest...at the library. But still!). I've had a few poetry books I've been meaning to read so I decided to skip scrolling through the unending recaps of people's day on Facebook and read poetry before I go to bed. It's like wine to my being—unwinding sweetly before drifting to sleep. If you don't care for poetry, like my husband, challenge yourself to read. He likes to read a book a month but I think for this year he might've challenged himself to read a book every two weeks? I can't keep up with his library card.