By Amber Kozawick, BCB Guest Blogger
“Mommy street cred”
That’s a thing, right?
It turns out that having two kids somehow makes me a trusted source of information on motherhood, which I find hysterical, because it’s not like I know what the hell I’m doing either. Since I’ve made it a point to forcefully insert myself into the lives of every new mother that I know as a way to help them create the village that they don’t know they need yet, I guess I’ve sort of embraced this responsibility, though.
So that brings us to the inevitable question that every one of these amazing women eventually asks:
“What is your best advice for new moms?”
I love this question and I love being trusted enough to have this asked of me. My advice? I have so much.
Find your village. If you don’t have a village, create one.
Be confident. No one knows the right way to raise your child except for you. You’ll get so many opinions whether you want them or not. Accept it all. Process it all.
Be informed, then make a decision and own it. If you change your mind down the road, own that too. You don’t have to apologize.
Be gentle on yourself. We are all honestly just figuring this out as we go along. Do what you need to do to keep you, your partner, and your child sane, safe, and healthy.
Be direct. Tell people what you need. If you’re nursing, tell your partner, your mom, your best friend that you need their unequivocal support. You need them to hold you accountable, but you also need them to not bully you if you decide that your breastfeeding journey is over.
Get out of the house. It is hard in the beginning! The logistics are intimidating but I promise you’ll figure it out. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Go somewhere safe: a new mom meet-up, a breastfeeding support group, a baby store or the park down the street. Just do it.
If you need to sleep, sleep. If you need to cry, cry. If you’re overwhelmed, put the baby in the safety of their crib and step away for a few minutes.
But what is my very best advice? Pee first. Yeah, its a funny answer, but it is essentially all of the more long-winded, flowery, fuzzy-feeling advice that I usually give boiled down into two words. Let me explain.
One of the most pivotal days in my motherhood journey so far has been the day that I realized that my kiddos will be just fine if they fuss or cry for a few moments before I can get to them. As long as I’m sure they aren’t sick, hurt, or in danger, they’ll be alright. They’ll be OK if I don’t pick them “UP!” for a few more minutes so I can take a few sips of my coffee while it is still hot. Tantrums can simmer for a bit while I stuff that freshly toasted piece of bread into my face. They can fuss a little in the safety of the pack n’ play while I take a quick warm shower. If someone wakes up and needs to be fed in the middle of the night, they’re won’t starve if I run to the bathroom and pee first. I am going to be stuck there feeding them for a while, after all. No, I won’t neglect my screaming child if there is a legitimate, immediate need, but it has to be OK to take care of myself too.
Pee first. It’s the essence of self-care. Take care of yourself so that you are well enough to take care of your babies. Take a shower. Take a nap. Accept help. Make peace with the mess.
Pee first. Don’t make yourself sick from being run-down. Don’t allow yourself to be overlooked. Its been all about you for 10 months, and now it is suddenly not about you at all. Except it is. It is so much about you.
Pee first, Mama. It’s the least you can do for yourself.
Amber Kozawick is a full-time working mom of two awesome boys living on Chicago’s Northshore. Though she has perfected her dog mommy skills, she is still very much figuring out the world of parenting for her two-nager and newborn. Amber is a firm believer that every parent has to decide for themselves what is right for their child when it comes to parenting, and also that that some major changes need to be made in our culture to support parents of young children. Her ramblings can be found on her blog: http://www.