This year, I want you to do yourself, your new baby and your household a favor: make 5 New Year’s resolutions that have nothing to do with body weight or your idea of what “a perfect woman” should look like, do or be. Instead, I want you to make resolutions that are all about love, life and family – because those are the most important treasures of all.
1. Be kind to yourself
One of the most famous quotes attributed to Gandhi is, “be the change you want to see in the world.” As a parent, you’ll spend a notable amount of time finding different ways of telling your children to be kind – but they’ll learn kindness firsthand from you and how you treat yourself and the world around you.
There’s no time like the present to begin practicing the kindness you want to see exhibited by your children by being kind to yourself. This includes things like:
· Not comparing yourself to others
· Smiling at your mistakes, rather than inwardly berating yourself
· Taking a few long, deep breaths before expressing anger, resentment, frustration or any other sleep deprivation-related emotional state
· Starting a gratitude journal (yes! Expressing gratitude is proven to have multiple mental/emotional healthy benefits – including better sleep, healthier relationships and a greater sense of compassion towards oneself and others)
· Looking at yourself in the mirror each day and saying, “I love you and I accept that you’re doing the very best that you can.”
Aaaah, doesn’t that feel better already?
2. Treasure the small moments
I once heard someone say that parenting is a type of time warp, where each day can feel like a year, but each passing year can feel like a day. Nobody is more aware of that mystery than a new mother. There are moments that seem to stretch on forever, and then there are whole days that fly by in a blur.
Don’t let the blur get the best of you. Instead, treasure all of the small moments that you can – especially in those first precious weeks and months when your baby is unbelievably tiny. One of the best ways to do this is to hire a newborn photographer and schedule a professional session within the first few weeks of your baby’s birth.
If you aren’t able to do that, read DIY Baby Photography Tips for Pro-Quality Pics at Home. You’ll capture absolutely priceless small moments that are gone in the blink of an eye.
3. Call your parents
Wait a minute; shouldn’t they be calling you? Yes, in a perfect world – those without small ones running around the house or requiring feedings every two hours would be the ones to call. However, I’ve heard time and time again from clients who bemoan parents’ expectations that it’s the kids and grandkids who should do the calling.
Instead of becoming a bemoaner, surrender to the reality and make “call the parents” a standing weekly date. I have many loved ones that would give anything to hear their parents’ voices on the phone again if they could. So take it from them: if your parents are still here, pick up the phone – or Facetime them - for a few minutes each week. Once your wee baby is old enough, s/he’ll take up the reins for you and that special connection with Grandma and Grandpa will be sacred.
4. Don’t stress the mess
You are going to have a clean house someday – but it’s not going to be anytime soon. Remember Resolution #1 – Be Kind to Yourself? Stressing out about the dirty dishes just stresses out everyone else in the house. Beating yourself up over the fact that you haven’t completed a single load of laundry all week doesn’t do you or anyone else any good.
De-clutter and get things done as much as you reasonably can, and then surrender yourself to the process. I also recommend reading Beth Berry’s mothering.com post titled, What Your Messy House REALLY Says About You, which includes things like:
You don’t derive joy from the experience of constantly cleaning up after others. You find your joy elsewhere, and recognize that sharing your joy with your family is a greater gift than the gift of a tidy home.
5. Put down the “How to Be a Perfect Parent” books and trust your instincts
While all those parenting book authors mean well (I hope!), I’m not sure they’ve done much good throughout the decades; and sometimes I fear they’ve done more harm by stressing mothers out and making them feel like they’re never good enough.
In my experience, nobody knows their baby or children better than their mothers – and nobody knows what’s best for your baby than you do.
If you’re facing a “what should I do…” dilemma, put down the books, give Google a break and take a deep, connected look at your baby. What do you already know is best? What is s/he telling you that you are ignoring? The answer is almost always within your instinctive mother wisdom. In the rare case your instincts are overwhelmed or silent, refer back to Resolution #3 – or amend it and call a trusted friend.
My name is Marcela Limon and I spend the majority of my days with mothers-to-be and new mothers and their infants as a professional maternity and newborn photographer. I wish you, your newborn (or soon-to-be-born) baby and family a very Happy New Year. Would you like to honor Resolution #2 by finding a magical and priceless way to Honor the Small Moments? Give me a call here at Lemonshoots so we can book your newborn photography session. (510) 747-9019.