The first couple of years as a mother is the toughest. Especially if you are a mom for the first time. The main reason is because these are the years you are most gullible and allow yourself to be judged by everyone around you. If you take notice everyone starting from your mother-in-law, next door neighbor to the women who brings you grocery has an opinion about your baby and your parenting style.
While people will talk as long as they have a mouth , it is also young mothers who invite the talk by being affected by it. Let me assure you I am not victim blaming here. I am pointing out to the fact that- why victimise yourself in the first place?
The popular, “Why is your baby so thin. Are you feeding him or not ?” – My response, my baby has bone weight aunty. His doctor reassures us that he is most heathy a baby can get- no fat, only healthy muscle and bone.
When in true fact – there is no such thing as bone weight. How do you explain BMI to uneducated and ignorant aunties ? You don’t. You give them an answer in their own language.
It comes handy to equip yourself with smart responses to FAQs because if you notice they only diss only certain aspects of your parenting style. In India atleast plump, silent and babies with thick hair are usually spared. Baby shaming is a violence against domestic peace. As the primary care provider dont ever let anyone shame you or your baby. He aggressively protective. You can blame it on the hormones later.
I have formulated some best practices that might help you be in the right frame of mind to combat the abuses thrown at you and your baby. Here goes:
1. Sleep to be a Happy Mom
The importance of a good 8 hours sleep cannot be stressed upon for the positive mental state of a mother. Unfortunately in traditional families sleep, food and diaper duties are solely the mother’s. While modern nuclear families still see better division of parenting responsibilities ( especially those living abroad and influenced by other cultures ) there is still a long way to go before we can share the responsibility of calming a baby to sleep. Babies for the first two years are fussy and light sleepers. They wake up frequently for feed, warmth and comfort. How does a woman whose sleep cycle has been disrupted continually for a number of months function sanely ? The best practices are to sleep with the baby and not have any chores after putting baby to sleep, taking a nap through the day when baby sleeps and handing the baby over to someone else in the early morning hours (preferably 3am onwards because baby is less likely to be hungry at this time ) and try catching a 4 hr sleep at stretch.
2. Excercise to be a Happy Mom
As ironic as it sounds to a new mom who is eternally tired, excercise often helps release hormones that will relieve mental stress. Here is the common misconception that excercise means lifting 2kg weights the first day or 30 mins of cardio. While many moms who were fitness freaks all their lives are still able to achieve it do only what works for you and your body. Carrying your baby and walking in your terrace is excercise too. Baby is happy to be snuggled on your shoulders and fresh air and sunlight benefits you both.
3. Romance to be a Happy Mom
Being a mom 24/7 is a thankless job. Do not forget that you as a woman have many avatars. The most rewarding one right now can be a bit of pampering from the better half. The best time to discuss some ground rules on how often you are going to spend time with each other alone and what arrangements you will make for the baby at that time should be when you are pregnant. Yes it’s that important, as important as getting a nursery ready for the baby, if not more. At least once or twice a week depending on your schedules plan for some alone time. Go for a date and talk about yourselves. Ask your husband how he is doing ? Your healthy relationship with each other guarantees a happy life for the baby. There should be no superficial guilt in leaving the kid with loved ones for a few hours a week.
4. Eat to be a Happy Mom
Soon after pregnancy a woman’s insecurities about her body multiplies immensely. Is it hormones ? Is it social conditioning ? Is it just us ? Remember that your body went through confounding changes for 9 whole months. Expanded to house a 2-3kg baby and now is struggling to shrink back into its old space. How can you expect it to be in a shape portrayed by media ? Even normal non-pregnant women are not in those shapes dear. Have a healthy relationship with food. Don’t feel guilty about what you eat as this will become a huge cycle of binge eating junk food. Develop healthy cravings. Drink a lot of water most of our hunger pangs are actually mistaken thirst. Think about that.
5. Be chatty to be a Happy Mom
It is most important to have a momgroup. There is an unexplainable amount relief in sharing your experiences with someone who is going through the same and can reassure you that it only gets better. Surround yourself with a positive group of mothers and meet them or talk to them often in a healthy atmosphere.
A happy mom is not a myth . She lives in each and everyone of us. Like any other badge one has to earn it. Yes happiness takes a conscious and consistent effort. It’s ok to be dull for some time. It’s ok to be sad but it is important to pick oneself up each and every time.