After I found out I was pregnant, it didn't take long before I began reading, researching, and preparing myself physically, intellectually, and emotionally for this seemingly far-off notion called parenthood. But it wasn't until I became a mother to Lila Sky nine months ago that I realized just how much is left out of those books: about being pregnant, what actually happens at the hospital, and the epic highs and sometimes lows that accompany that six pound, eight ounce little human. Would I have believed it if someone else told me I would be inconsolable on my first day back to work? Probably not. But becoming a mother is full of surprises. Here are the 11 things I would tell myself if I could go back in time.
There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing that by simply living lives that are intentional and authentic, my husband and I are, in many ways, teaching our children valuable lessons in love, empowerment, compassion, and humanity. I love singing silly songs and tickling my daughter's tummy when I'm changing her diaper. You don't get too many opportunities to share eye contact and get in close during the day, especially with a whirling toddler, so if you can distract them, and make it a happy time, then diaper changing is your chance. I couldn't imagine going through life without feeling that spectrum of emotion.
We develop these beliefs from the pressure of our communities and society as a whole, the experiences with our own parents, and through the expectations of friends, family, and media. So difficult, in fact, that anxiety, depression, and overwhelming emotion can latch on like crazy to our new identity. I want to share a brief story with you about a mom who I saw in my office this summer. This mom has given me permission to share her process around the topic of being a good mother , because it gives such a clear example of the ways in which perfectionist thinking and unachievable expectations can lead to distress.