Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Advice for Young Moms - From a Not So Young Anymore Mom

For an entire week, this Tuesday Ten topic had me stumped, which is ironic because it was my idea. Also ironic because, looking back through my posts, it seems I frequently give advice. My favorite post ever is the Lessons I Want to Teach My Daughters which is basically life advice for them. More recently, I wrote a letter to my oldest daughter when she started middle school spouting all kinds of advice for her. I have even shared tips for other bloggers from time to time. This time around, though, I couldn't come up with anything.

That is until today (Monday). This morning, I was studying with a wonderful group of women and we had a discussion about how, as moms, we sometimes lose ourselves in the day to day of motherhood. We sometimes leave behind careers and, therefore, our previous identities. The conversation seemed to strike a chord and even a few tears were shed. Then, we talked about finding the gifts we have to share. For me, it all came together. One gift I have to share is my experience.

You see, I am no longer a "young mom" (i.e. a mom of young children). My girls are now 7, 9, and 12. I am no longer in the throes of baby land and toddlerhood. BUT, I've been there. I've nearly drowned in the day to day monotony of diapers and breastfeeding and tantrums. I've lost myself and found myself again. I've come out on the other side of it all and I can look back at it through a different lens from what I had when I was wrapped up in the tornado of it all. Parenting definitely comes in stages. My current stage allows me to see where I've been and, maybe, share some words of wisdom with others who are in the trenches right now. 
  1. Find your tribe. This is advice that is given to bloggers. It means to find a group of other bloggers who write about similar topics and who will support you by sharing your posts, having your back when commenters get nasty, and helping you out of a writing funk. Moms need a tribe, too. Find a group of other moms who are going through what you are going through; who can laugh with you and cry with you; who will have your back and help you out of a down time. 
  2. Develop a support network. This is different from your tribe, although they may cross over some. Your support network is the people you turn to in a pinch. The people who will come to your rescue when your husband is out of town and you haven't showered in 2 days. The people who you can call to stay with the toddler while you take the baby to the doctor because you were up all night and just can't handle the toddler in the waiting room, too. They are the people who will ALWAYS be there when you say "Help!" It may be friends, family, or even colleagues.
  3. Ask for help. This one is repeated often and so hard for moms to embrace. All moms are superwomen, but we are not super human. When you are sleep deprived, overwhelmed, and don't think you can make it another minute, reach out. Ask for a sitter just so you can take a nap. Call Dominos and don't feel guilty. Hire a cleaning service. When you are about to crack, let someone else share the load.
  4. Find a way to feed your soul. Do you love to run or go to the gym? Maybe you like to sew or write. It's hard, I know, but carve out the time to do it. (See #2 and #3) Figure out what pieces of the "before mom" you are most important and hold on to it at all costs.
  5. Breathe. I used to pass out when I got a shot until a nurse once reminded me that I had to breathe. As moms, we hold our proverbial breath waiting for the crying to stop, the first step to be taken, or just for the day to finally be over. We lose our temper and, it feels like, our sanity. In those moments, just breathe. Close your eyes and breathe.Breathe. Watch them sleep. Advice for Young Moms from a Not So young Anymore Mom. @TheGoldenSpoons
  6. "This too shall pass." As you breathe, repeat this mantra to yourself. With kids who are a little older now, I can promise you with certainty that it will pass. The breastfeeding that feels like you're chained to this little human; the incessant crying as those first teeth come in; the terrible two's and the tumultuous threes - all of it will pass and you will survive. 
  7. Cut yourself some slack. Nobody is perfect and we are no exception to that rule just because we are moms. You will screw up. You will forget the diaper bag or at least the diapers. You will miss an appointment. You won't get a shower every day and you will not always prepare healthy meals for your family. You won't always be a good wife or a good mom. It's okay. Your family will still think you are the best mom/wife in the whole wide world because you are absolutely the best mom/wife in the whole wide world for them - even at your worst.      
  8. Accept affirmations. Do you have a tendency to deflect compliments? I do. When I would complain that I felt like a gerbil on a wheel who accomplished nothing of significance on a daily basis, my wonderful husband would point to out girls and say "Yes you did. You accomplished that. You gave them life and you cared for them today. There is no greater accomplishment than that." He was right.
  9. Watch them sleep. At the end of the day, no matter how hard it has been or how tired you are, go in quietly and just watch them sleep. Soak in their little hands and their round cheeks. Follow the rhythm of their breathing. You will be utterly convinced that they are angels here on earth and all the stress will melt away.
  10. Trust your gut. At the end of the day, you don't have to listen to me or anyone else who gives you nuggets of unsolicited advice. You are the best mom that your child(ren) could possibly have and nobody can love them like you do. Trust your instincts and everything will work out just fine.

Breathe. Watch them sleep. Advice for Young Moms from a Not So Young Anymore Mom via @TheGoldenSpoons


Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

TheLiebers


The Teacher Wife
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36 comments:

Janine Huldie said...

So true about so many of these, especially learning to ask for help, because I was one that always thought I could do it myself, but not true and definitely needed help having my girls only 16 months apart.

MamaRabia said...

Beautifully said, Lisa! I think you did a great job with this advice. I'm not deep down in the trenches anymore, but I wish someone had said these things to me when I was first starting out. I went through a long period of time where I forgot who I was apart from being a mom. That's not healthy.

Marcia Shaw Wyatt said...

Excellent advice, Lisa - all of it. I especially love your #6 - "This too shall pass." It's a favorite saying of mine, and it's so true of whatever circumstance you find yourself in. It eventually will pass. Whatever you're facing or dealing with - it will get resolved in one way or another, and the situation will pass. I just offered this advice to a girlfriend of mine - a mother of teenagers - and she greatly appreciated it. Situations sometimes seem so overwhelming and disastrous. It's good to be reminded that they won't last forever and that you'll get through them.

BritishMumUSA said...

Lisa this is awesome. I too am the older mother now, I have a 17 and 12 y/o! I on the other hand am NOT old :) All excellent advice, and for you new moms out there take heed. I was going to go this route, but after a week of wanting to kill the oldest thought better of it as my 10 would probably of ended with me being carted off by the police ;) Maybe! Ha! Mmmmmm, so I love what you have given out, as a new or young mom they forget to do most of this, so again moms, from Lisa listen and DO!

christine said...

My youngest is 5, but this week my 1 year old nephew is staying with us. Good gravy, it is bringing back the memories of days gone by!
You have given some good advice here. It's important for us moms with older kids to make ourselves and our experience available for the moms with young kids. Since my kids are so spread apart, I have friends with older children and friends who are in the throes of baby-and toddlerhood. The young moms have said many times that they appreciate having me there to give them perspective and ideas when they need it.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I learned that one the hard way, too, Janine!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I think lots of moms go through that, but it is definitely not healthy!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Even though mine are older, I still say that! We are entering puberty and hormones and mood swings - it's wild. I keep telling myself "this too shall pass!"

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks so much! I'm sure you could give some great advice about dealing with teens!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I do think it is something we cant I've them. I have found myself in that situation several times lately which prompted this post. I'm still close enough to it that moms with young children know I remember and understand what they re going through. Yet, I am far enough past it to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks Kathy! I remember when my oldest was first born, I felt so isolated. I had left my career and colleagues. I stayed at home most days without talking to anyone. It was such a relief to find some other mom friends who could relate.

BritishMumUSA said...

Does burying them in the backyard count??? ;)

Kristi - Finding Ninee said...

Lisa, I actually love this TT prompt and so wanted to participate (how long is it open???) but promised that I'd run the Our Land today and well we all know how posting too often goes. I LOVE this prompt though so much. And yeah, I still have done a better job of finding a tribe online than in person. Why IS that (maybe it's me IN PERSON). Great advice. Seriously.

Jennifer Hall said...

I love your advice, Lisa! And I'm so happy to see an option to subscribe to get weekly reminders of the Tuesday Ten Link up because I ALWAYS FORGET. So thank you!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

It't not you in person! I just think sometimes it's easier for us writer types to express ourselves throughout the keyboard. The link up is open through Friday if you still want to link up! :-)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

You're welcome! I look forward to having you join us!

Tamara Bowman said...

Am I still a mom of young children? I feel like having one toddler and one school age has me somewhat straddling the gap.
I love #10 and I think I may have always been right with trusting my gut.

Meredith said...

#5 and #10 are big ones for me. Awesome list. Can't wait to share! :)

TheMissusV said...

I wish I read this when I was a younger mom! I feel like I was such an uptight mother back then. :(

Chris Carter said...

Perfectly said Lisa!! OH, how I wish I had you telling me these things when I first starting this motherhood journey... I hope new moms everywhere can read this!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I would still consider you a mom of young children, but about to cross over! :-) Our gut is usually right, I think. We just have to have enough confidence to trust.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks, Meredith!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

We I've and we learn! :-)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks Christine! I did have people tell me a few of these things, but I was too naive to listen back then!

Kristi - Finding Ninee said...

Maybe it really is me in person. Some of the moms at the bus stop? Sheesh.

Katie @ Pick Any Two said...

I love this. Asking for help has been HUGE for me; once I stopped trying to do it all myself, life as a mom became much more manageable. I also love watching my son sleep. :)

Sarah Kerner said...

I absolutely loved this post! We just moved and even though I'm generally okay with asking for help, I'm finding it a lot harder to do with people I don't know as well... even though I know many of them would step up and help in a pinch. I'm starting a MOPS group at my church and this is just the kind of thing I'd love for them to read.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Those two are huge for me, too. Asking for help was a lesson I learned the hard way. I still watch my girls sleep even though they aren't so young anymore.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

That's awesome! Good for you starting a MOPS group - that will help you and so many others. We moved when my oldest was 3 and my (now) middle was barely 1. It was so hard to ask for help when I didn't know anyone. You will get there, though, I promise!

Jennifer said...

"Figure out what pieces of the "before mom" you are most important and hold on to it at all costs" THIS is what I wished someone would have said to me before I had my daughter. Motherhood really changes your life, but this is so important to remember. Also, number 9. I don't think anyone will understand this until they have a child, but it's probably one of the most beautiful things to watch.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks, Jennifer! I agree - I learned that first on the hard way.

Tara Gantz Newman said...

Lisa, this was fabulous. I have been wanting to read this since I saw it in my feed but...life! I am glad I came back to it because I love your advice and agree with everything you said. But here is my question...When did we become the not so young moms??!! That happened super fast!

Michelle Nahom said...

Such good advice! I don't know what I'd do with out my mom tribe. I don't even see them all the time because most of our kids aren't even friends anymore, but the friendship has endured and I can count on them no matter what.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I started blogging for a similar reason once all mine were in school and I was sitting at home alone feeling very useless. Blogging gave (and still gives) me a sense of accomplishment and has given me so many wonderful friendships!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Right?? That did happen fast! It seems lately that, in a couple different groups I am part of, I am the "senior mom" and the "young moms" with babies & toddlers are looking to me for wisdom. Scary!!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Yes! I have mom friends who have kids that are very different ages than mine, but we have connected through Bible study groups or things like that and I would be lost without them!

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