By: Tina Avila, LMFT
When I became a mom, it was the biggest shock of my life. I had no idea what to expect when my son was born and everything that came with it. I found myself constantly feeling guilty for not being able to do it all and wondering how other new moms were coping with the incredible demands of motherhood. These feelings did not last forever, though! By learning about certain things about myself and my relationship with my son, I learned how to stop feeling guilty about not doing everything perfectly as a new parent.
Here are some things you can do if you're struggling with this same issue:
You're not superwoman, you're a new mom
You are not a superwoman. You are a new mom, and you can’t do it all. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing your best or that you don’t want to be the best mom possible, but sometimes we need to remember that we can't do everything perfectly and still be happy people.
Not only is it okay to admit that sometimes things just don't go as planned, but also remember that there are so many other people out there who have gone through the same thing! Sometimes when we feel like no one else understands what we're going through, it's comforting just knowing that someone has been where we are now and survived.
Get some sleep
The importance of sleep for new moms
Sleep is essential for a healthy new baby, and it’s just as important for you. After all, if you don’t get enough rest, how are you going to take care of your family? If you don't get enough rest, how will your body be able to recover from labor and birth? And most importantly—how can YOU possibly enjoy having a baby in the house if you're exhausted all the time?!?
To help improve your sleep habits, try some basic changes like:
● Giving up caffeine (including chocolate) at least 12 hours before bedtime.
● Avoiding alcohol after 6 p.m., which disrupts normal sleep patterns.
● Eating regularly throughout the day and avoiding too many late-night snacks or large meals right before bedtime (this can upset digestion).
Get out of the house. If you’re feeling like your life has been reduced to a laundry list of daily duties, it may be time to get away from home for a while. You don’t need a babysitter or any daycare arrangements—just an hour or two away from your baby can refresh and recharge you. Maybe meet up with friends or family, go on a walk around the neighborhood, sit in a coffee shop and read, take some photos of your little one playing at home—do whatever makes sense for you! Just remember that this is important self-care time, so celebrate yourself by doing something fun!
Make time for yourself
This is the most important one, and it's also the most difficult. Don't feel guilty about it—you're not a bad mother if you take your kids to daycare from time to time, or if you go out with friends once in a while. You don't need to be on call 24/7; your partner is perfectly capable of caring for your newborn without you being there (and chances are good that he wants some time alone with his little one as well).
Take this advice from someone who has been through parenthood: no one cares! Everyone knows they're not perfect parents, so don't let anyone make you feel like yours needs fixing or improving in any way.
Embrace the chaos
You’re allowed to be messy. It’s okay. You don't need to clean up after yourself, or display perfectly folded laundry by the end of the day, or get your house in order before you can take care of anything else. It's nice if you do all those things—and if someone else helps you out with that, great! But it is not a requirement for survival as a new mom or as an adult human being who lives on her own. You don't have to have everything under control all at once; just start taking little steps towards progress and then celebrate when they're done.
You don’t need to worry that you’re not doing everything right
You don’t need to worry that you’re not doing everything right. You’re a new mom, so in the beginning, you might feel as if there are so many things that you need to do and learn about. But having a new baby doesn’t mean you have to be superwoman and do it all. In fact, it would probably be impossible for anyone to do it all! So don’t worry about this—focus on what you can do and let go of trying to accomplish everything else. You will also find that your child won't mind if they don't get everything they want when they're young as long as they get love from their parents (and siblings).
We all have different ideas of what it means to be a good mom. You’re not alone if you don't feel like you're doing it right, and that's okay! We can all learn from each other about how we can do better at being the best parents possible.