I cannot believe Cairo is approaching eight months, it feels like I found out I was pregnant yesterday...some days I feel like I have this motherhood thing down, and other days I'm curled up in a ball crying. Motherhood definitely has its ups and downs, but it's all a part of its beauty. Whether you're married, single, young or not so young, we all have our own unique struggles.
I thought I'd share what the first six months taught me.
1. When help is offered, take it!
I cannot emphasise this point enough. I remember I was so defensive after I gave birth and was side-eyeing everyone, I had so many unresolved feelings, and that resulted in not wanting people to be around Cairo or myself. I did everything on my own at first, I did not even let people hold him. He was glued to me at all times - even when making night feeds.
Of course, as you'd expect this tired me out, eventually, I became humble enough to accept the help offered by family and friends, and then I'd even ask for it. Being able to have a long bath undistracted, or do your hair or nails, or even have a good full nights sleep helps so much! So humble yourself mama, if people want to help you, let them.
2. You are going to make mistakes, embrace them.
Coming from a background in healthcare, I thought I had this mothering thing down chile! I had read all the books, handled babies at work, so I thought I'd be A-OK! And whew did I get the slap of a lifetime. There is actually nothing like having your own child. I think besides marriage, parenting is possibly one of the biggest learning curves. I made so many mistakes like forgetting to burp Cairo, forgetting to change his nappies, confusing sleepiness for hunger, the list goes on. You are going to make mistakes. It's part of the process. But that does not take away from how much of a badass mother you are. Your mama made mistakes with you and you're just fine. So why get yourself down over them?
3. Learn to filter comments, advice and concerns.
I don't know why women don't automatically uplift other women knowing the struggle is real. There will be so many comments, concerns and nuggets of 'wisdom' many will offer from looking at your child and the situation you find yourself in - whatever it is. Learn to take useful advice and comments in and whenever someone criticises your parenting rather than be defensive, just let it go in one ear and out the other. I always do. I might even giggle with you too, but your comment about me or to me hasn't registered. Mentally, I don't have space for it. I'm learning at my own pace and doing the best I can. Some people mean well but their advice is just....unneeded? is that a word?
4. You cannot do this alone, have a strong support system.
Find a group of women and mothers who love you, who you can rely on, who you can trust, and who will always keep it real with you. They will call you at odd hours to check if you are okay. They will give you tonnes of wisdom. They will counsel you and pray over you and your child. They will not get sick of you venting, crying or repeating mistakes. When you're weak they will hold you up and encourage you to keep going. Married or single, every woman needs sisters, and raising a child takes a village of them!
5. Evenings should be mama's time to wind down.
Sometimes, I'd be so grateful just to get through the day. Looking after Cairo would be a priority and naturally, I'd let laundry, housework and other things slide. When he went to bed around 7pm for a few hours, I'd rush to do all those things and end up tired as hell. So I decided to do one thing from my list per day, the rest of the time I'd take a bath, watch rachet TV, turn off my phone, read, pray and build myself up for the next day. If I had spare time, I'd do extra things on my list, but things not being done no longer bothered me. Trust me mama, housework will always be there.
6. PRAY PRAY PRAY
This is the most important. Don't stop. Even if you can't spend hours in prayer. Pray.
God hears it all. He sees the tears, he sees the exhaustion, he sees the pain, he sees the loneliness, the regret and the anguish. Pray. Pray for your life, pray over your child, pray God's promises. Don't stop. I always say whatever comes to my mind, I might be washing the dishes and have anxiety or stress overwhelm me...right there and then I tell God, like a friend, I vent to Him, then I ask Him to intervene and work out His will in the situation. Pray sis. It's the only way you'll thug this thing called motherhood out.