Friday, August 31, 2018

6 Parenting Truths to Digest

        A lot of the information available out there (note - on social media in particular), pushes us into a bubble. One where everyone looks airbrushed, happy and skinny. This includes mothers with spanking new babies. And while there maybe a few who come out of the hospital looking skinny and airbrushed (like Kate Middleton of course), most of us come out in mesh undies, with leaking body parts and in baggy maternity clothes that we were hoping to never seen again (or at least tuck away for a while). What many social media accounts (even bloggers like me are guilty of this) are missing is a big fat dose of reality that most are afraid to convey. I for one am a believer that the reality doesn't make you look weak, but instead it shows that you are persevering and imparts strength to others who are likely in a similar boat. So here are some mom truths that every mom should know (regardless of how many kids you have or how old they are).

Essential Parenting Truths: 

1. Being a parent can be overwhelming.

         I'm skipping the sugar coating and getting to the point - post delivery, however you delivered, you are physically exhausted. To add learning to be a human vending machine at all hours of the day and night, in addition to dealing with all the post partum pain and bleeding, is downright insane. However, it is something we all go through and try to combat with a smile - as new parents are expected to be overjoyed and thrilled. I vividly remember feeling venomous towards the many people who had the guts to ask me "when's the next one?" when they visited me in hospital post delivery (and by the way, this was after my second and last one, but you guys know it as it's probably happened to you too).
       As parents though we are juggling our emotions constantly, and long after our physical wounds have healed. Whether it's mom guilt versus wanting me time, or the mix of happiness and sadness while we watch our kids grow up - it's a constant emotional tussle. And being overwhelmed through a lot of it is not only okay, but it is indeed normal!


2. Postpartum depression is real.

       Why does no body want to talk about this when the reality is that those in need can only get the help they need when they are able to open up and talk about? Being a new parent is isolating as your schedule is completely different from everyone else while nursing, your hormones are all over the place and you are physically consumed with taking care of a new baby. That's usually also when postpartum depression hits due to hormonal changes, and not everyone has someone around to notice and drag them to seek help. Often women have to stand up for themselves and seek the help they need. Which is why it is so important to talk about it, so that others know too that they are not alone and that what they are going through is something that is alright, and something that they can come out of. They need to know that they will feel happy and balanced again and they will be able to enjoy their children too, but to get there they need to be recognize they need help and to able to accept the help they need.

3. Self-love is essential.
        Essential to your happiness, your child's happiness, your marriage, and your ability to parent. Absolutely essential. It's also an upward battle though with yourself, thanks to the millions of pictures online of women who look absolutely nothing like the pictures they post online. As someone who frequently posts under the "nomakeupnofilter" hashtag, and means it - let me tell you this, you have to love, accept and also forgive yourself. Accept that your body has changed, whether not externally then internally through birthing, nursing, being pregnant and all the hormonal changes it has gone through. Forgive yourself for eating anything you though you shouldn't, not going to the gym when you felt you should have and for allowing yourself to simply be human. And loving yourself regardless, because until you are happy with who you are and how you are - any other love you get won't feel as real, as it will be feeding only a pit of self doubt. A confident woman on the other hand has more love to share with everyone around her and is less focused on the airbrushed plethora too.

4. Preconceived notions be gone.

       I was in Disneyland Orlando in 2011, shortly after my wedding (with no plans of children on the horizon), and saw a mother chasing her toddler while he was on a leash. I was pretty aghast, and I'm quite sure I passed some judgmental looks and thought some even worse things in my head. This year, in 2018, I was at Disneyland with my two kids and two strollers and my backpack leash - fully prepared to use it (and I have used it several times over the last 4 and a half years since I had my first child). I was definitely apprehensive the first time, about people (like me in 2011) judging me, but then realized that it doesn't matter what anyone thinks because keeping my toddlers safe is my first priority (dirty looks be damned). This is just one of the many many instances where I have had to change my mind set and go from being annoyed at the crying baby on the plane to apologizing for the shrieking badly behaved baby on the plane.
     Parenting teaches you more than any other experience I have ever had (including schooling), and one of the first things I learned was to let go on my preconceived notions and judgments, because once your priorities shift to your little baby and their immense needs - everything else is irrelevant.     

5. Life is up and down, that's just how it is.

       Everything is not always going to be smooth sailing, unfortunately. Kids do fall ill, have off days and seriously disobedient days, and we all go through things that we would rather not talk about. I for one have had a particularly rough year with negative life incidences and seriously ill immediate family members -but it's not something that I have chosen to share on my social media because I needed privacy myself to get through it all (and while I am private in many ways, I am someone who believes these things should be shared if they can do collective good, but was too stumped processing reality myself this year to share). What I have realized though is that everyone goes through these things between deaths and cancers and illnesses and environmental calamities and fertility issues - we are all affected by some degree or another. And yet, when we scroll through people's pages we let the happy faces and facades get underneath our skin and can make us feel worse (or atleast more isolated) about what we are going through, when in reality we all have problems and issues that are easier to not talk about or dwell on.

6. It's alright to prioritize yourself.

     Taking time for yourself, even if it's a long shower with blaring music while ignoring the kids banging on the door, or getting out for a girl's night or a date night doesn't mean that you are neglecting your children or that you love them any less. It just means that you love yourself - as an individual too. And it's hard to prioritize your individual needs around your kids because they have demands constantly (which is fine, who else will they express it too), but we tend to get lost in their needs. So every once in a while, whether you feel you need it or not, take a few minutes or hours (or even a day or two - I know people who love getting a weekend away), to focus on yourself, because that too will make you a better parent. For children it's about quality time and not quantity as much. If you are around all day but answering calls and emails they will be frustrated. However, if you take a few hours to get to work, or catch up with friends and come back put away your phone and play games with them - they will choose the latter in a heart beat.
Definitely Me time 

I hope this helps you feel a little better about being human, (or about not being a part of the rest of us who are human), as it's really the purpose of most of what I write.

More to come!

P.S. Sorry about the long silence,  point 5 hopefully explained why I've been MIA.

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