People always ask me how I do it and the truth is that it’s not that hard.
I’m not boasting or pretending that I’m better than anyone else, I’m going to tell you the truth: I don’t even try. The reason people feel so bogged down by motherhood is because they try too damn hard and when you put in so much effort into being perfect, you become blinded to this miracle of life and the beauty of parenthood. If you’re constantly tired and in survival mode, how are you able to enjoy your new bundle of joy?
Disclaimer: I’m not in the photo — I took that picture of my sister in law who has twins of her own #lukeandleialaw and Leia is completely smitten with the two <3
Breastfeed for bonding, not feeding
You will be pressured by other moms and yourself, to breastfeed exclusively. I think that’s just a load of crap. Sure, you want to give the best for your kids, but that includes giving them the best mom which means taking care of yourself. If you’re up every hour feeding one twin or another, you will be cranky and so sleep deprived you might just break down and no kid needs a broken mom. When you take the stress off yourself and breastfeed just for bonding purposes, you’ll find that you actually enjoy it. There is no point in suffering unnecessarily, so do your sore nipples and engorged breasts a favor and nurse only when you feel like it.
Give yourself a break
Guilt is a stupid game we play to feel bad about not being as good as we want to be. But there’s no reason you should beat yourself up for not enjoying motherhood or being the perfect mom, it’s silly really. We’re so afraid of being judged by other imperfect people that we drown ourselves in feelings of inadequacy. So, take a day off or a weekend, leave the kids with your husband, your parents or trusted friends and just take off. Sure, you’ll miss them and you’ll want to see them but missing them is so much better than feeling sick of them (which, by the way, is a totally normal feeling – you’re not a bad parent just because your kid annoys you).
It’s okay not to love them right away
People think that they should automatically love their bump and in essence, their newborn. I loved neither. I hated the bump because it was this huge troublesome thing which made mobility an issue and stood in the way of my life. I couldn’t well do what I wanted and it made me feel like I was disabled in some way, which I’m not. People would do things for me like carry my bags and tell me to be careful while walking, all of which made me highly uncomfortable. I’m an independent woman who is more than capable of handling my own bags and walking. But this period of time actually taught me to give in and follow the flow.
A happy mom is a good mom
You can’t be a good mom if you’re not happy, end of story. God knows I’ve smacked my newborns twice rather hard in a fit of anger. I can confidently say it wouldn’t have happened if I weren’t trying so hard to soothe them while being extremely sleepy. Sometimes it’s okay let them cry. Actually, whenever you feel impatient and annoyed, it’s a sign for you to block them out. Any damage that a little bit of crying does is preferable a full grown adult striking out in anger at a helpless baby, so learn to walk away. Do whatever you need to in order for you to get into a happy or content state of mind. When I’m feeling joyful, I can play with them and take care of them for hours on end, all while being in a good mood. The moment they start grinding on my nerves, I let my husband deal with them. You don’t have to feel like a failure because you couldn’t settle your own kid. It happens. Deal with it and let someone else try.
You’re not the only parent
Unless you’re a single mom, don’t act like you’re one. Too many mothers ostracize the fathers and prevent dads from doing their duty. It’s stupid because mothers always say that fathers don’t do enough but when they try to do something, mothers lose their shit and take over, making the fathers a spectacle in their child’s life. I’ve seen this happen way too many times, in too many relationships and it was hard not to succumb to maternal gatekeeping myself.
Women have this idea that they are better than men when it comes to certain tasks such as caring for the baby. Moms, you have to understand, just because he can’t breastfeed it, or treat it the way you do, doesn’t mean that he is useless. Mothers and fathers care in different ways because we’re wired differently. We don’t even love the same way. But this doesn’t mean that your child will wither and die under his care. Kids need both their parents in order to become well-rounded individuals. So, have confidence in your partners and learn how to co-parent instead of trying to do everything yourself because by not allowing them to participate, you’re the one alienating him.
The Women Decoder: If we say “stop, I’ll do it” with a sigh, what we really mean is “step up and do better!”