Mom with a plan
Reading through all these heartening, funny, inspiring posts written by mothers and new-mothers, left me thinking that mastering the art of motherhood seems like boot-camping or training for the Olympics.
You put all your passion, time, attention, strength, ambition and the will to succeed into it. You not only give your body, but your mind and heart too. You share everything, your entire universe and every nanosecond of your life.
But does it really have to be this way? Can’t we just have the cake and eat it too (read have the baby and enjoy it too)?
This is supposed to be a happy, positive post, so bear with me until the end of the post, will you?
We, (new) mothers put up with everything: sleep-deprivation, postpartum amnesia, worries, heartaches, doubts, major hair loss, cruel mirrors that highlight our dark circles under the eyes and the messy-weird hair to go with that. Our universe shrinks and shrinks some more and the only social life we get is rambling in a hurry through the aisles of the grocery store.
Image source here
We stare-down every human being who innocently dares to mention getting a manicure; we passionately hate those who spend a lazy afternoon in bed and we will knock down anyone showing a hint of excitement for their new-bought high-heels. The only adult-content conversations we have, that do not involve the words “poo” or “baby” are late at night, when we softly whisper into our husband’s ear “Pass me the remote control, please!”
Right? No! Wrong! This is not the way it supposed to be. I certainly didn’t sign up for this when we decided to have a baby. So, I won’t have it. And you shouldn’t either, even if it defies all laws and common knowledge of motherhood.
Here’s my plan of attack:
1. Do something for you every day.
Something that gives you pleasure and offers you a well-deserved crumble of “Me-time”. Whether it is reading, writing, painting, baking, or just sinking on the couch for 10 minutes. It makes a world of difference.
2. Stay connected.
There’s nothing worse for a socially active person or professional, than a minimal universe comprised of baby poo, toys and play dates in the park. Stay in touch with your friends via phone, email, social media or texting. Watch/hear the news whenever you can and take a brief look at the daily newspaper. While you are totally engaged in raising your baby, the world goes on. Things happen, people evolve, people live, and friends need to hear your voice from time to time. Don’t isolate yourself from the rest of the world.
3. Daily beauty routine.
Make-up, mani, pedi & a decent hair – it’s all doable, even at home, even by yourself and even with an inconsiderate stopwatch ticking in the background (okay, maybe not all of them at once). But the point is, you need and deserve to take care of yourself and feel, if not all glamorous and diva-looking, at least decent and pulled-together. And if you find 1 Million excuses to that, ask yourself how would you like your child to remember you: all pale, sloppy and grumpy, with a constant lunatic stare and wearing PJ’s or tracksuits 24/7? And what about your husband? How do you think he feels silently witnessing the decaying condition of the woman he loves?
For super-rapid hair styling: All you need is a flat-iron or a hair setter. I’ve been using something similar to this for years and it was one of my best investments ever. It takes me no more than 5 minutes on the clock to have wonderful hair. Make-up: I use natural and organic beauty products (concealer, blush and a hint of mascara). All products are Eco friendly soI don’t have to worry if they get in contact with my baby’s skin, while I shower her with kisses. Mani & pedi: Work your magic with a fast-dry nail polish. I’m using an intense red color to satisfy and celebrate my inner feminine ego.
4. Let the music play.
My house is filled with music; I listen to a variety of styles and musicians all day long, according to my mood. It’s the best therapy and power-booster I know. Sometimes I dance to it too and even get extra-points (read smiles) and happy cheers from my nr. 1 fan, aka baby Clover.
5. Have friends over for brunch.
Okay, I see that look on your face and I can almost hear your thoughts:” What on Earth is this woman talking about? I barely find time to jump in the shower for 5 minutes!” Well, again it’s doable, I promise. You don’t have to cook fancy meals. In fact, you don’t have to cook at all.
We recently just bought a variety of French and local cheeses, some fresh-baked baguettes, we added fresh fruits and some good wine and had a “Wine & cheese brunch“ on a Sunday afternoon. Be inventive and keep it simple. Why not have a “Pizza Party”? It sounds complicated, but in reality all you have to do is to have some pizza delivered to your place and something to drink. And this is only the starting point: think Chinese, think sushi, think tea-party (you just have to boil water and buy a cake), the options are infinite.
Whatever fits your gastronomic taste, time and disposition. The point is for you to be with your friends again, to share some laughs and get out of your daily routine. Your baby needs to be in the company of adults too, not to mention so do you!
6. Use your evening-off pass.
My husband and I have this understanding: every week or every two weeks we are allowed to an evening off & out, while the other one stays at home with Clover Jr. He uses his pass to have a drink with the boys and I use mine to go to the movies. I recently had a “date” with these guys and saw them live in their first concert in Bucharest.
7. Baby-blues and postpartum depression.
I had my fair share of crying back in the days, especially in the first month after baby Clover was born. However, I never felt depressed, so I don’t know what to say on this subject. Yet I found this heartening, sincere post and I want to share it with you.
8. Deal with guilt.
Okay, breaking news: we all go down that road. Some of us just one too many times. We worry and we question our decisions, our legitimacy and authority as mothers. “Am I doing the right thing for my baby?” or “Am I spending enough time with her?” or “Am I too tolerant/ moody/ harsh/ protective?” Sounds familiar?
My remedy on guilt is this: whenever I feel a soft breeze of self-consciousness coming my way, I ask myself this: “Do I have my child’s best interest at heart?”, “Do I try/give my best?” if the answer is “Yes” then I stop feeling guilty. God knows we all try; we are not perfect, but only human and alive. And for these reasons and these reasons only, we are good mothers. The best ones our children could have.
9. Engage in a project.
Start knitting, start a blog, paint something, browse through the DIY blogs/magazines. For years I thought I’m the proud owner of two left hands, but guess what: it’s not true. While I’m no Picasso nor Martha Stewart, I discovered I am good at making (some) things. I painted several paintings for my own pleasure, learned to bake three different cakes, hand-sewed a quilt from old shirts for baby Clover and made all the deco (again nothing complicated) for her Christening party (read paper pom-poms, paper mustaches on a stick, paper name garland etc.). It made me so happy having something to “work” on and something to look forward to every day.
10. The writing on the wall.
Right above Clover Junior’s bed I framed her 3 month anniversary gift that I painted (and printed) myself. I will let the picture below speak for itself and only add this: it’s a good reminder!
And as I end, what I hope to be a happy post, I’ll only add one more thought.
Motherhood, the way I see it, is not a beauty parade or a popularity contest. But if it was, be 100% sure that YOU are the big winner, as in your baby’s eyes there is only one contestant and only one winner: her mother!