In the early months as a new parent, there are many days when the trials and tribulations of learning all there is to know about your baby and how to figure out and care for your child can be quite overwhelming. There is nothing like the job of parenting that can throw a bright and intelligent person into a tailspin. Prior to motherhood, women are doctors, lawyers, business executives, professors and, in general, competent individuals in their professional, pre-baby lives. Enter: small baby who poops, spits up, cries, makes funny noises and only sleeps in short intervals of time. Sure, eventually this child will smile and coo and cackle and laugh and bring you joy beyond your imagination, but initially, this small human can really throw you for a loop.
As moms, we are often very hard on ourselves for not being able to “figure it all out.” Friends with older children may have told you that it will get easier and it does but this takes time and experience. The only way to get this experience is on the job. It is nearly impossible to completely prepare yourself for the challenges that parenthood will bring. No matter how much you read, how many experts you hear from or pediatricians you consult, you will come to know that your child is a unique human being that only you know best.
I often find that there is a constant internal conflict going on between just wanting to survive a particular moment in time and the struggles that occur at some of the stages and trying to focus on the here and now and enjoy each moment because they are often so fleeting. If you haven’t read the article Don’t Carpe Diem by Glennon Melton, I highly recommend it. I love how she talks about finding the brief moments in your hectic day to really appreciate one of the little gifts that children bring but also to remember that parenting young children is far from the bliss and harmony that some who have lived through it remember it to be. Our minds have a habit of playing tricks on us and helping us to forget the difficult times and remember only the good. Of course, there is good reason for this, because if we only remembered the tough days as parents or how challenging it was, no one would have more then one child.
On those tough days that leave me feeling like a far from “good enough” mom (my goal has never been perfection), I often find myself singing Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” in my head. It keeps me going and reminds me that tomorrow is another day, another chance to improve on the day before, to learn from my mistakes and to move forward as a mom. Now I try to remind myself that the longer I am a parent, the more I am able to look back on the tough days and remember that we all survived and even had some laughs about the crazy mishaps that occur that move us from one moment in time to the next.