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It takes me more than two years after having my first child that I'm able to write this. I especially would like to dedicate this post to new mothers who feel, or think, that they are not cut to be a "good" mother, according to some traditional views.
Women who don't naturally adore children
Some women are just crazy about children. They think children are the sweetest things in the world. But you are not one of them. You are not really interested to listen to stories of your friends' children, you don't go "ooh" and "aah" when holding your friends' babies, you feel annoyed when you heard a small child asking the same question 20 times to her Mom at the mall. Sometimes you remember your nieces and nephews' birthdays, sometimes you don't.
And the worst nightmare of all, you gave birth to your own child, you held him in your arms for the first time, and all you could think of was, "Such a wrinkly tiny thing." You have read and heard how a new mom feels an overwhelming love for her new infant. How they describe the most wonderful moment in their life define them as a "real" woman. How giving birth and be a mother is the greatest achievement in their life. And you felt nothing. And you felt bad about it. You felt guilty. You felt like an evil mom who doesn't love your own child.
I am the kind of woman who have no special memories whatsoever of my wedding day. I don't remember the flower, nor the procession, the food, anything. Same with the moment of child birth. The first time I held my little baby, I didn't remember feeling anything special. Just confused.
These are the memories that I DO remember about marriage. Those times when Hubby massaging my swollen feet every night when I was pregnant, cozy evenings when we snuggled in front of the TV watching DVD, singing happily while preparing dinner for my husband, preparing his birthday celebration, precious times when me, Hubby and our son played silly games and strangled together on the bed and giggled like mad people.
And these are what I DO remember about raising my son. His little squeal of joy welcoming Mommy home. Tickling his little feet and whisper in his ears "Good morning, baby boy. Wake up, it's morning already..." Singing lullaby for him to sleep. The ocean of joy to hold him in my arms without us saying anything. When I read stories for him and he sits on my lap. Teaching him to sing nursery songs and clap hands. Waking up in the wee hours of the morning to nurse him and thought how tiny he was.
The Lord knows what He's doing, and if he's giving me motherhood, He must have planted the seed of love within me. The fact that I'm not the kind of mother with overwhelming feeling, doesn't make me a bad person. Or a bad mother.
I have learned that once I let go of the guilty feeling and submit to the Lord, I became more relaxed, and I bonded to my child more and more.
Some women might judge me while reading this, but I decided to share my story, because I'm sure, that somewhere out there, there are women like me, who feel like they're alone, who feel they're bad moms and guilty, because the feeling of love and bonding developed a little bit later than for other women. Note that I wrote "feeling of love", not "love"; because that's what it was. Love. Not just the "feeling of love".
I am still not a woman who naturally go ga-ga for cute babies or children, but I like children much much more than in my single years. Especially my friends' children.
So if you're a new mom, and you don't think that you love your own child, don't worry. You DO love your child. Greatly. It's planted within us by the Lord himself. It's just that the FEELING of love has not grown inside you yet. It will come. Trust me.
Women who are not domestic goddesses.
You cannot cook to save your life. You cannot sew and you become green with envy seeing all those beautiful arts and crafts you see on Pinterest. You don't enjoy household chores. You think they're a burden.
Again. DON'T WORRY!
You don't need to be a domestic goddess to be a good wife and a good mother. If you cannot cook, just learn some basic recipes. Or some VERY basic recipes such as scrambled eggs, omelettes, frying a bacon, make a toast, and cook up a delicious hot chocolate. You will get better. It doesn't matter that you will never be a gourmet cook or the next Nigella Lawson. As long as you can bring food to the table for your family to eat, either by cooking, by buying ready-made food at the grocery stores, by ordering in, frozen food, whatever, nobody will get starved.
You will learn. And you don't need to excell at them. Everybody has their own talent.
I'm not a good cook and I'm not good in sewing, and will never be. I have learned for years, and I have still not mastered it. But I am making progress. I learn to cook healthier meals, simple ones. My son loves my singing, my husband appreciates how I keep the house clean, I'm very good at being organized, and I'm a whiz in handling family finances. Oh, my husband also loves it that I look like a wife and mother who looks like she cares of how she looks. My son loves my simple cooking and doesn't mind that I don't cut up his carrots into pretty rabbit shapes like some other moms do.
As long as you're willing to improve yourself, you will do just fine. You don't need to be Martha Stewart. Really, you don't.
Women who don't ENJOY household and motherhood tasks.
I'm still amazed at all those moms who think that changing dirty diapers and potty training is enjoyable. I don't think it's enjoyable at all! Again, judge me if you will. I prefer reading, pamper myself, watch YouTube, decor my house, or write. However, I keep doing it. I just don't enjoy it. I enjoy being with my son, but I don't enjoy wiping his behind when "accidents" happened. Sometimes, after a particularly long day, I cannot wait for eight o'clock so he will go to sleep and Mommy can chill out a bit.
If you are a woman like that, don't feel guilty. It doesn't mean that you don't love your child. It doesn't mean you are an irresponsible mother. You are an irresponsible mother if your child is all wet, and you just let her cry because you're having a good time watching TV. You are NOT an irresponsible mother if you cater to her needs, but you feel exasperated that you missed your favorite TV show, twelve times in a row.
I get more enjoyment leading management meeting or go shopping or decorate the house or write a post or read a book than changing diapers. But note this: when I work, shop, decorate, write, or read, I do it out of enjoyment. When I change diaper, clean up his mess, struggle to keep my eyes open when making his breakfast before he wakes up, I do it out of love. And I don't need to enjoy it, because I don't. I would have been lying if I said I do. So if you don't enjoy cleaning up your baby poo-poo, don't feel guilty.
Women who are NOT GOOD in household or motherhood tasks.
The diaper leaks. Your child refuses to eat. You forgot to wash the crib sheet and it's two weeks already. Your Mom complained because you don't bath your child clean enough. You look around and see other moms with clean, healthy baby, with perfect hair, perfect dress, perfect house, and they all seem to take it so easy; while you feel and look like a complete wreck. Don't even mention about baking cute cupcakes and decorate them with complicated icing like so many domestic goddesses on Pinterest, you suck even in the basic stuff!
You feel like a total failure.
Like cooking etc.; I have become better and better at it. The realization dawned on me that now I'm really able to take it to breeze some time ago when Hubby and I took Michael to his friend's second birthday party. The timing was not ideal, because the party was on 3 pm, and Michael usually naps until 3.30 pm then having some snacks then taking a bath. But I managed to juggle his schedule around. Before leaving the house for the party, I took a good look around my house and realized that the house was relatively clean, me and my husband and Michael were all fed, bathed, smelled lovely and happy, all of us dressed well, and at the party all of us were having a good time. I felt calm, cheerful, confident in my ability to juggle everything. And I thought to myself: "Wow, just a year ago I would leave the house disheveled, unshowered, distressed, and anxious. Now it seems all so natural and easy, just like those Moms on YouTube! Hurray!"
It took me more than a year, but I finally became a "pro". You will be, too. Just be patient and keep learning and trying. I remember how wonderful my own Mom has been as a mother, and how she told me that she cried a lot when changing diaper and nursing my eldest brother, because she was exhausted, she was angry to see my father slept so peacefully while she had to be up with the baby, and she constantly felt like she was about to explode. Well, surprise, surprise! Because I always think she is a great mother!
Women who are not very patient with children, or anything or anyone
Children ask the same question fifty times. Children whine and groan and could be seen as selfish monsters because they will kick and scream when Mommy is just leaving him for two minutes to take a bath (or even to pee). I might be in a senior position at one of the biggest corporations in my country. I am completely able to lead and manage my team. But sometimes I feel helpless around my own child. It takes so much more mentality and patience to deal with fussy children.
Sometimes I would yell and perhaps my child would think that Mommy was going nuts. Then I would feel bad. Sometimes I was afraid of being too lenient and soft. Many times I got confused and frustrated, despite all the books I have read about childrearing, despite all the advises I got from experienced mothers.
Yet I did it. With the help of the good God, family and friends, I did it. I still do. I still make mistakes. I still lose my patience. But I make it somehow. And you will, too.
I never thought that I would feel confident enough to write such post dedicated to new moms, because I never really consider myself fit to the role. I always felt that I was not good enough. Now I know that's not true. And if what happened to me also happens to you, perhaps by reading my little story here, I hope and pray that this could give a bit of encouragement that you too, can be better and do better and feel better. And don't worry. Your children know that you love them, like Michael knows that Mommy loves him though she is not a traditional or "perfect" mom.
No mom is perfect. But you are the best mother to your child. And how do I know that? Because when God planted the baby inside your womb, He has chosen you to be the mother and the Lord surely knows what He is doing.
And during the darkest moment when you feel like you can't do it, just know that you can, and remember this verse:
"I have the strength for everything through Him who empowers me."
I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies: