Who I thought myself to be all changed the moment I first held my 5 pound, 13 ounce baby in my arms and felt the warmth of her skin against mine. In those first few moments no longer was I a compilation of all the labels I had previously given myself. Now, I was simply “A Mother”—and in my eyes, being a mother was the only label that mattered.
As one day merged with the next, my newfound sense of joy, unconditional love, and enormous inner strength that came with motherhood also brought to me a healthy dose of discomfort and disruption to my everyday life and fundamental core of identity.
Instead of being the confident and assured mother that I had imagined, I found myself wallowing in self-doubt and obscurity more than I wanted to admit.
In those first few months I wondered what had happened to those early days of bliss when everything made so much sense? Mostly, I wondered when my world would return to normal.
But it never did…
Now, 10 months into mommy-hood I am still adjusting to life as a new mom and life as the primary caregiver to my rambunctious daughter, Jaida. However, one of the things I’ve learned is that transitioning means more than just learning to function with sleep deprivation or exhaustion.
It means completely opening myself up to the tremendous amount of growth that lies before me.
By quickly adapting to a whole new sense of self, personal identity, expectations, and new relationships—as well as passions—I’m able to thrive (in my own sense of the word) in this new world. And to me, that’s what being a “modern mama” is all about.
Here are 4 things I’ve learned to help me stay in harmony with myself and the world around me:
So many of us struggle with answering this question and quite frankly, I still do… On a daily basis… And even more so when I am out with other people.
Raising children is a huge responsibility. We all want what’s best for our kids, but what’s good for one child may not work for another. A huge example of this is the common debate over how long a child should be allowed to breast-feed, and how long they should remain in diapers. For many of my mama friends, being in diapers until 3 (or so) is perfectly fine, while breast-feeding until the same age is “just wrong.”
I hold different opinions on the matter, but ultimately what it comes down to is individually determining for ourselves what is best for our children while at the same time refraining from unfairly judging others for making different decisions.
2. Create a Plan that Allows for Flexibility
Being a good parent requires a healthy dose of both planning and allowing. Even though things seldom go as planned, having one—even a crude one—sure helps move things along.
The allowing part is there to simply give ourselves permission to be okay when life intervenes (as is always does) and rearranges our plans. What’s most important is allowing ourselves, and our ability to meet our own expectations, to be a work in progress.
3. Make the Best Use of Your Time
Doing so changes on a daily basis for me. When my daughter was younger, making the best use of my time meant sleeping when she slept. Now that she’s a bit older and her sleeping patterns have changed, I now make good use of my time in an assortment of different ways: like connecting with friends on Facebook, catching up on emails, eating a meal, writing, reading eBooks, and staying on top of household chores.
As a side note, one of the things I have quickly come to the realization of is that no matter how much cooking, cleaning, laundry, organizing, (insert task here) I get done, there will always at least 10 other things I could have done instead.
It’s a never-ending cycle. Therefore, my advice is to do your best. You know what needs your immediate attention, what can wait until later, and what can just keep waiting. The most important thing to remember here while your going through your transition is to… (read next tip
As much as I believe in providing my child with love, encouragement, and togetherness through routines, I also know the power in taking time as a parent to recharge. As wonderful as it sounds, it isn’t always an easy task for me to hand Jaida off to my husband when he gets home from work because sometimes I feel downright guilty doing so.
However, my husband and I established early on that the best way for us to survive parenthood and keep up with our individual passions was to team-up while encouraging and supporting each other.
So, when my husband gets home from work, I support him by watching Jaida while he goes to the gym. After his workout and shower, he supports me by taking over caring for our daughter. This gives me an hour or so (before it’s time to start preparing her for bed) to focus on my passions—like writing for my blog, catching up on reading, and sometimes taking a little nap—while allowing my husband to spend one-on-one quality time with our daughter.
Of course things don’t always go as planned, but at least one has been set into place for when they do.
Tips to Grow By
Embracing the simple fact that life will never (ever) be the same as it once was is what parenthood is all about. By surrendering old ways of thinking and creating new patterns of action, we are better equipped to take on the responsibilities being new parents brings.
About Aisha Quinece:
“How am I making the world a better place?” is a question I ask myself almost on a daily basis. As a wife, mother, designer, writer, and teacher, actively enriching the lives of others is a responsibility that I take seriously. Supplying you with practical ways to “Create Your Life” is what my blog, www.AishaQuinece.com, is all about. So, check it out, visit me on Facebook, follow me Twitter, and get started creating your life today!