For some it’s the idea of giving birth, for others it’s returning to work or getting their pre-baby shape back – becoming a mommy has its anxieties and dilemmas so don’t be fooled by the angelic calm & poise of the TV mommies in the baby product ads. No one can tell you how good , bad or ugly the whole experience can be – in fact , I stand corrected – plenty will tell you how it can be , but there’s only one person in the whole wide world who’ll ‘know’ how it is and what to make out of it. And that person – that fabulous lady of motherly grace on the outside and mixed bag of emotions inside is – you. A brand new mommy.
My biggest fear whenever I saw myself as a mom – was the ‘parenting phase’. Those knee-high feet thumping, tantrum- throwing little devils we all see creating a ruckus everywhere. I am scared to bits of the day when I realize I am ‘ the mommy’ everyone’s cribbing about who can’t seem to keep her kid in control in a movie hall / restaurant/ mall etc . Likewise As a new mom many of us have plenty of other fears and dilemmas.
There’s no rule book to ‘becoming a good mom’ – just like there’s no rule book to life. But it’s always good to have some mantras as ready reckoners to pull out in a crisis situation. You may use these or throw them out of the window –but as a brand new mom of an almost 3 month old – I wish some- one sat down and gave me these pearls of wisdom. So here goes my list.
Count your blessings:
Before the baby arrives or as you watch your little kid give you his very first smile. Be very very thankful for everything that’s going right in your life.
Haven’t been puking your way to the washroom or your bladder is behaving well? If things are going well, thank your lucky stars, tap your head and keep reminding yourselves how lucky you are. As someone who breezed through her entire pregnancy without the ‘classic nightmarish side –effects’ I didn’t realize back then how difficult the entire experience ‘pre-baby’ can be. So now, on days when my baby sleeps through the night and has an almost clockwork pattern to his feedings, changing and playtime – I am glad & you should be glad too for everything that goes right. Coz it’s only these little things that really matter.
Take everything with a pinch of salt:
Slightly miffed coz your husband called you again to check if you’ve changed the baby’s nappy ? Well welcome to this world where everyone seems to ‘know more than you do!’ You’ll get plenty of parenting suggestions / advice – especially if you are in a joint family. There are definitely people around you who ‘know better ‘ coz they have ‘ more experience’ . Develop the habit of listening. Even the most patient of the lot might curb under the stress of soaking in so much ‘criticism masked as advice’ – but we live in a world where everyone wants to ‘participate’ and ‘contribute’. So let them. At the end of it all – it’s finally up to you to know whats the best for your child – so do as you please.
Don’t lose your sense of ‘me’:
I am not just talking about the very important me time. That is needless to say and that you should anyways do inspite of the kid before, after and forever. But right from the day you know that you are ready to be a parent – you should find your own space, form opinions and have a voice. Right from shopping for the kid to ‘knowing’ what’s right for you and your child. You don’t want your child to even look at the TV screen even if he’s a few days old, say it. If you think phones aren’t for kids – say that too. Feel your kid is suffocating under the layers and layers of clothing he’s being put under – go ahead say that. Motherhood can make the most confident orators suffer from the ‘unsure silence’. So right from your decision to feed or the kind of clothes your baby should wear –take calls, express opinions and trust your instincts. You ll feel much better and raise a much happier kid..
Fight the green devil- it’s not worth the heart-ache:
This one is as tricky as it’s obvious. Women are anyway over ridden with guilt. When the kid arrives – the green monster of insane jealousy messes your head a notch further. Most days you’ll be grappling with guilt in one form or the other, you’d want to also do everything possible for the kid on your own. And that’s why – incase you fall short of your own personal ‘perfect mommy benchmark’ or there are people around you ( and trust me there are always people around you who don’t know their boundaries ) who invade into ‘strictly mommy space’ – do whatever but don’t lose your calm. Afterall , you are the queen of the mommy-land . And guilt , jealousy and temporary invasions will come and go -but you my lady will always wear the crown.
Take it easy – on yourself:
This one’s THE most important one. Being a mother isn’t just a biological process – it’s about ensuring you not only bring a new life into the world – you make a sensible, responsible person out of the child. Taking care of the baby , inculcating good values in a child and bringing up a healthy happy adult – is perhaps the most crucial ‘projects’ you’ll ever undertake. Even the most phenomenal boardroom queens can falter a bit here and there – so on bad days , when you’ll wonder if it’s the most thankless jobs ever – take a look at your baby to see him smiling back and as ‘cliché’ as it may sound – it is definitely worth it , if you enjoy it instead of beating yourself down.
80 days into motherhood isn’t really an eternity – but then again who really has an eternity anyway. Life is always ‘work in progress’ and so is being ‘the perfect mom’ .