As I sit here writing this, I’m nursing my 1 week old holding back the tears from feeling like a failing mama. People who know me tell me that I’m far from failing my children but in the day to day, I feel otherwise. I’m an adult often plagued with issues that were planted in my childhood. In fact, I often joke with my brother that my measure of parenting success is by how many issues my own kids present to their therapists that are rooted in things I struggled with as their mom. The truth of the matter is is that even though this is my third time having a newborn, I’m extremely overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed With Love
My goodness. There’s nothing like the little people that your body makes. All throughout each of my pregnancies I was so excited to meet these creations that were bumbling in my stomach. And then when they come out I fall head over heels in love with them. Each of their perfect little fingers, toes, cheeks, eyes, all of them. They are each so perfect in their own way.
Overwhelmed With Fear
The world we live in today doesn’t love my children though and that frightens me. The world doesn’t see my babies as babies. The world sees them as angry black women in the making or tiny threats to be eliminated. My perfect, precocious children aren’t seen as the beautiful beings that they are. I just want them to have the opportunity to be great and positively influence the world we live in.
Overwhelmed With Duty
Motherhood is hard with one child. More than one child? My goodness. I don’t know how the Duggars do it. At the end of the day I want to feel good about the job I’ve done as a mom and lately I haven’t felt like that. I strive to be a mom who has her shit together most days. Waking up before the kids, having our lesson plans done, meal plans completed and executed, fun outing done, bedtime routine started with no problems. This is my daily goal. Yes, I know it’s ridiculous to expect this daily with an infant in tow but these are still goals.
I want to be the kind of mom where my kids look back on their childhood with happiness. Pregnancy was tough on our household and so far this fourth trimester is a little rough as well. Healing from pushing out a baby in your almost mid 30s is way different than in your 20s. Again, I know it’s only been a week and I should adjust my expectations accordingly but I just love my kids so much I want them to know that. Every time I see their little faces fill with disappointment or sadness because I yelled or fussed I feel like I’ve failed.
Overwhelmed With Anxiety
I tend to struggle with anxiety anyway but after I have my children I have a moment where I lose faith in my God, my sight and my ability to walk in my gifts to fulfill my dreams. I’m pretty sure I “what if” until the cows come home and it’s worse now that I work for myself. But anxiety happens.
Overwhelmed With Expectations
My kids expect me to entertain them. My husband expects me to be, well, me. My family expects me to be available all the time for them. Friends expect me to want to share my last born freely. I expect myself to be fully operational like I was before I got pregnant. I feel like I’m failing all of them.
That’s how it feels to add another baby to the picture. I know that this feeling will pass. I know that I’ll get it together and will be successful but even as a seasoned mom, I am overwhelmed. I want first time moms to know that you aren’t alone and this too shall pass. But how, right?
Know What You Need
This is hard to know. I’ve been asked countless times what I need and honestly, I need time. But what you might need is someone to go grocery shopping for you or bring over food or take your other children or clean your house. Take inventory on what it is that would bring you peace.
Ask For What You Need
This is normally the hardest part. When you have a baby, people want to come over and hold the baby, talk about the baby, and make everything about the baby. If this isn’t what you determined you need, ask for what it is you need instead. This can be hard but for your peace of mind you need to do it. Ask someone to grab some groceries for you. Set up a meal-train. Make the ask.
Set Necessary Boundaries
This is hard if you’re a people pleaser like me but will pay off in the long run. Post baby my phone has been ringing off the hook. Anyone who knows me (or just reads my blog) knows I don’t like talking on the phone. I received a text asking me when is a good time talk. In the midst of now 3 kids, homeschooling, being a wife, and trying to figure out who I am as a mom of 3, I don’t have the bandwidth to just be chatting on the phone. This is a hard and emotional transition for me and I had to set a boundary while just saying “no”. No is a complete sentence that requires no additional explanation. Protect your peace.
Have Other Kids? Planning Is Your Friend
I remember after I had abc I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to handle these two kids by myself. I consulted Pinterest and had activities planned for after I picked Mini up from school. The more I planned the more control I felt I had over my situation and the less anxious I felt. Pinterest is your friend. Craft stores are your friends. Playgrounds and all that jazz are good. Sure, it’s hard to get out the house with all the kids but you’ll make it.
This was way longer than I intended it to be but I hope it helps someone. As my own feelings of overwhelm fade and I regain some semblance of confidence and control I’ll update this with more tips. Till then, remember you aren’t alone.