Motherhood is a huge transition- one that we most definitely do not talk enough about. I remember asking my mom shortly after my daughter was born “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” In the midst of late night feeding sessions, diaper changes, laundry and crying (on both our parts), I was so completely overwhelmed by my new day-to-day activities it never really clicked that my life was transforming.
Now my daughter is 2.5 years old and my son is 15 months. My early motherhood days have been a chaotic, stressful, funny and beautiful blur. We were lucky enough to choose to have our children close in age- just 15 months apart. I have learned a few things from becoming a mama and surviving life with 2 under 2. Here’s my top 5:
1. Be True to You
I remember the early days of being a mom. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what kind of mom I was. I tried to learn new hobbies to do at home- DIY projects, crafts, baking etc., tried different mom groups where we met at other moms’ homes and drank tea and tried to breastfeed in public. Turns out that I can’t DIY to save my life, I love coffee and active group activities and I love to breastfeed- in private. Once I let go of these ideas of who I was supposed to be, I felt so much better!
2. It Takes a Village (For real!)
Caring for and raising a baby (or babies) is a tough job. Find your village and lean on them for support. Ask for help. Be specific. I ask for help when I’ve had a tough day and my husband will take the kids for a bit so I have some quiet. I ask other moms at playgroups for help when my daughter is attempting something new at the playground and my son is trying to eat mulch. I ask for help from The Wiggles or Splash’N Boots when I need to get a quick shower or drink a cup of coffee ;)
Talk to your partner. Every day. Even on the days that you want to throat punch them. But seriously, talking about your day, the challenges, the funny parts- all of it- will keep you connected. It’s too easy with our hectic schedules to zone out on Facebook or Netflix at the end of the day but making the effort to check in every evening with my partner has kept our marriage strong in a time of complete chaos.
(image via Northtexaskids.com)
I love to laugh, be silly and get my kids laughing. Do whatever it takes to bring laughter into your home. I think having a couple toddlers is enough to keep me laughing most days which leads me to my last point.
5. Change Your Perspective
Motherhood is hard. The days are long, messy, stinky and hectic. They are also full of moments of laughter, love, discovery and learning and magic. Choose your thoughts and focus your energy on the positive aspects of your day. I choose to laugh (out of sight) when my daughter decides to paint her whole body blue in the 20 seconds it takes me to extract the playdough out of my son’s mouth.
The last 3 years of my life have changed me in a way that I could never expect or describe to anyone. My mom told me that there is no preparing anyone for motherhood. The sacrifices are big, the giving never stops and the love is immeasurable. When I see pregnant women and new moms, I want to tell them to embrace the moment. It drives me nuts when people say “You’ll see” or “Just wait…” There is no benefit in worrying about the future and every parent, child and family is different. Enjoy those baby kicks. Embrace those newborn snuggles. Soak in the way your little one’s eyes disappear when they smile extra big.
Instead of telling moms to prepare for the worst, I want to tell them to jump in with both feet. Today is full of opportunity to create memories, learn, sing and play with your babies. I have truly loved becoming a mother but the best times have come since I let go of my pre-baby life, stopped worrying about the next age and stage and enjoyed the little people in front of me today.
You’re doing a great job, mama, now go enjoy today!
Nikki Bowman is a busy wife and mom of 2.
Her kids, Scarlett and Hudson, keep her busy while chasing them around their home at the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada in Guelph, Ontario. She is still learning to juggle being a stay-at-home mom while working both from home and at work in her spare time. Nikki is a lover of coffee, wine and the great outdoors.