Being a mother is one of the most important jobs on the planet. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and even anxious at the prospect of being responsible for this new little human, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. Here are four ways to step into this new role with confidence and self-assurance.
1. Learn your baby’s cues.
No one knows this baby like you do, and no one is more naturally equipped to be his mother, but this doesn’t mean that your brain downloads the perfect parenting handbook at birth. Noticing your baby’s patterns and learning their cues makes it easier to create a solid base of healthy sleep habits and tend to your child’s needs, and you’ll gain confidence as you learn to interpret those cues.
2. Take care of yourself.
In an emergency, they tell you to put the mask on yourself before you help you child, and this is great advice for life as a mom in general. A newborn is entirely dependent on his parents for survival, and that means you’ll be dealing with a lot of needs. Even the happiest babies need to be fed, burped, changed, bathed, put down for naps, woken up, carried around, taken to appointments — the list is endless. Make time for yourself as you adjust to your new role. It might be spending a Saturday shopping the boutiques, enjoying a spa day with friends, or just heading out for a meal with your partner at your favorite fine dining restaurant. Write up a list of what makes you feel happy, calm, and fulfilled and figure out how to make that a part of your everyday life.
3. Get help when you need it.
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Motherhood is challenging, and no matter how prepared or capable you are, you will find yourself in a situation where you aren’t sure what to do. Parenting books, baby magazines, and infant/child development studies can all be helpful — and goodness knows there are plenty of them — but everyone has a different opinion, and this information overload can make an already difficult situation worse. Consider talking face-to-face — or via phone or video call — with a newborn care specialist who has extensive experience with everything baby related and can help you cut through the noise and get back on track quickly.
4. Surround yourself with support.
Motherhood sometimes brings bouts of confusion, uncertainty, and just plain tired. Having people around you who are truly supportive of you and your parenting is vital. These may be friends who already have children and can reassure you that you’re doing great and this too shall pass, or it may be single friends who can help you remember and reconnect with your passions before you had children. Your group may include a religious leader, counselor, friends, and family members, but everyone has to be nonjudgmental and truly invested in your and your child’s mental and emotional well-being.