THE REALITY OF MOTHERHOOD
I'd like to introduce my friend Isabelle; she is a CrossFit coach, Birthfit Coach, and leads a community called Moxie Mothers. Today, she's joining us as a guest on the blog to dive into the reality of transitioning into motherhood. As you know, here at Thirteen Fit we like to open up, be vulnerable, and talk about things that might be difficult. The reality is that we all struggle and today, we are addressing the difficulties of motherhood.
(We also recorded a podcast so feel free to listen in...)
Without further ado, ISABELLE:
Motherhood and the struggles of parenthood have been creeping towards front and center since our worlds turned upside down last year. As a mother and full time worker I understand that the struggle is in fact real, but what I've noticed is that resources are lacking for actual help. I'm going to chat a little bit about some things that are not necessarily fixes to your problems, but maybe they at least let you feel a little bit better about the shit-show that is parenthood.
1. Parenthood/Motherhood is hard. No one has prepared you enough for this.
The above statement could not be more true. You will never be prepared enough to take on the responsibility of being 100% in charge of another helpless human or multiple humans. The only thing that can prepare you is time and practice. Every parent that you know has struggled, if they say they haven't, they're a goddamn liar. But it changes you, it allows you to grow, and that's beautiful. I hear all the time that the days are long, but the years are short. These days seem like they will never end. Sleepless nights make it impossible to even know what day it is. But time passes, either way. When a toddler attitude or mega blow-out is about to tip you over the edge. Try and really look at your child. Really really look at them. Notice their details, their features and your heart will melt again to give you that little pick me up to keep going.
2. Shit is crazy right now in our world. Societal pressures aren't helping.
Raising humans during this great time of uncertainty is stressful AF. Not only has life as known it been flipped on its head, but social media is ever present. Social Media is a melting pot of contradicting opinions. You'll see things like "moms are superheroes, you can do it all' AND 'give yourself some grace, you can't possibly do it all'. When you see things like this in the same scroll feed, who are you supposed to believe. Societal pressures like this make it more difficult to find our own way in parenthood and not feel guilty about it in the process. Mom guilt is real and someone on the internet shouldn't add to it. I recommend getting out social media as much as you can. Find what works for you, set timers for yourself, put your phone in a different room or turn on do not disturb. Focus inward on what really matters, you, your sanity and your family.
3. It's ok to not be ok. More people than you know are not ok.
The more transparent and authentic I am about my struggles, the more connections I make in my community of people who are struggling with similar issues. Please see number 1 and remember that this is hard and everyone is struggling in one way or another. The more you open up to people, the more permission they can give themselves to open up. Don't sugarcoat it. At all. If someone asks you how you are and you feel like shit because you barely slept last night, but then you say you feel great, how is that helping anyone? Struggling does not equal a deficiency in anything, so don't feel like you're less worthy because you're having a hard time. Also, flip it the other way. Ask your new mama friend the right questions. How has YOUR sleep been going? Are you able to eat enough nutritious foods? How are you really feeling?
4. Everyone is different. Mommy groups, doctors, friends, family all can help, but only you know your mind and body.
My journey through motherhood has changed with each baby, but what stays constant is the varying opinions on how to parent or go through pregnancy. There are countless mommy Facebook groups, online forums and family members to give you all the options for everything and their opinion on them. Knowledge is power, but don't get decision fatigue because you have options. You know your body best and your baby best. Build confidence that you can handle and sift through misinformation to find what you need to find. You got this.
5. Here are my recommendations for new mothers or anyone struggling with their motherhood transition.
This list could be extensive, but here is my short list of daily habits to help struggling parents in no particular order.
- Get outside. Fresh air and sunshine will do you good. Bonus points for bringing kids outside too.
- Drink more water. You've been hearing it all your life, but that's because it's true. Bonus points for extra water for breastfeeding mothers.
- Nourish your body. Eat well, or as well as you can. Make the best choice you can at each opportunity. Bonus points for doing #2+#3 together.
- Move. Movement is an expression of health. Bonus points for doing #1+#4 together.
- Make connections. Connect with people in your community. Have deep hard conversations. Bonus points talking about your realities and not trying to look like you're perfect.
Having my 3rd baby really threw me for a loop. It was physically, mentally and emotionally draining. I needed help and I felt like no one wanted to help me, or I should just suck it up, or I didn't have enough money to get the help I wanted. It took so much trial and error, but when I finally found a practitioner who would actually listen, it made a world of difference. I am now, with the help of some lexapro, a much more patient mother and partner. Advocate for yourself and see a professional when you know something doesn't feel right. Don't suffer in silence because you feel bad about feeling bad.
7. TALK TO YOUR GODDAM FRIENDS
If you could take anything away from this blog, it should be to reach out and have meaningful conversations and connections with people in your community. Find your tribe of people with whom you can be your true authentic self. You're worth it.