New Mom to New Mom Bullying

Bullying a new mom is a pastime for some women.  You know the types, they come across all sweet and helpful and walk away with that self-righteous cheshire grin on their face leaving you in a puddle of your own tears.  

The conversation was focused on all of their perfections and your imperfections.  You’re not even aware of it but you’ve just been bullied.  You’re left asking yourself:

“Why isn’t my baby sleeping through the night like theirs is?”  

“Why is my gut hanging over my pants instead of being tight as a trampoline like theirs is?”  

“Why isn’t my husband massaging my feet every night like theirs is?”  

The reality for most new moms is as follows:

  • Tired
  • Sore
  • Overwhelmed
  • Emotional
  • Unsexy

The odds of a new mom not having at least 2 of those symptoms are slim to none.

Flashback to 1990:  I joined a new mom and baby play group with my 6 months old son.  No one knew each other and we were all sitting around trying to keep our fussy babies quiet.  I said, “Has anyone else ever worn the same clothes covered in spit up for 2 days straight?”  

Turns out I was the only one but another said she hadn’t washed her hair for 2 weeks.  And another couldn’t wear shorts as had forgotten how to shave.  

If you’re not surrounded by such moms, then keep searching as they’re out there.  You may have to start the ball rolling but once it does it almost becomes a competition of who’s the worst mom.  

Parenting is fun, not fun, vulnerable, tiring and just about every other emotion under the sun.  Accept it and stop second guessing yourself.  You’re just as good, and bad, as the rest of us.  

 

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

 

New Mommy Blues

Everyone keeps asking you if you’re excited about having a new baby and you say, “You bet!”  But the reality is that you’re tired, sore and depressed.  Yes, you’re excited underneath all the demands on your mind and body, but it’s hard to dig that deep and find the excitement.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Most new moms go through some level of depression and certainly all feel tired and sore.

I’m not discussing Postpartum Depression but if you feel you may have this condition, please consult your doctor.

The Baby Blues are somewhere between giddy excitement and postpartum depression.  Most of us fall into this middle category.  We may bond with baby right away; or it may take time.  We may be happy; or feel just plain exhausted.  Most new moms I talk to who aren’t on Cloud 9 feel guilty and worry that they’re bad moms.  I assure them they’re completely normal and that they have to stop focusing on what they’re doing wrong and start focusing on what they’re doing right.

We all make mistakes.  We all put diapers on backwards, go all day without showering and cry during those night feeds.  Adjusting to being Mommy 24/7 is hard and you just have to find what works for you.  When new parents hire me for coaching the first thing I tell them is to join parent groups.  I can give them parenting advice and reassurance but I can’t match the camaraderie they will get from other new parents.

My best advice is to find strength in those around who support you, and ignore those who criticize you.  Just focus on taking care of yourself and your baby as THAT’s what makes a great mom.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach & Mom (email:  lisa@bratbusters.com)

 

 

New Mom Pining for Old Life Back

Here is my column on new Mom pining for her old life:

Q: I just had a baby six week ago and feel guilty that all I can think about is getting back to work. I love my darling little boy, but I’m just not cut out for this full-time mothering. I had a job I loved, great social life and tons of daily contact with people. I don’t enjoy being home alone all day doing laundry, changing diapers and watching TV. I want to hire a nanny and go back to work yet can’t handle the guilt from all around me. Am I a bad mother because I don’t enjoy mothering 24/7? Everyone is very critical of me and I’m getting angry. I think I need some help.

A: Many wonderful mothers are just like you and hate the drudgery of being home with a baby. They love the baby, just not the isolation, dirty diapers, cleaning, etc. I feel it’s best for children to have a parent at home raising them, but not at the expense of the parent’s happiness. The child is better having a happy mom part of the time than a miserable one all of the time.

Don’t worry about your feelings; they’re more common than you would probably think. We’re not all happy devoting ourselves to cooking, cleaning and mothering 24/7, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

You didn’t mention that you’re in any mother’s groups. They’re absolutely wonderful as you wouldn’t feel so alone. Not only would you have other mothers to chat with but I’ll bet you’d find some who feel exactly as you do. Look through your local newspapers for mommy groups near you, check out Meetup for parenting/mommy groups and just walk around the neighbourhood with baby in stroller and start chatting to other moms pushing strollers.

I can remember when my kids were babies and I’d have a really bad day after being up with them all night or something. I’d get us both dressed and out the door and instantly start to feel better. Hit the parks on nice days and the malls on rainy ones. You’re sure to run into other moms, and there’s nothing like sharing baby stories to bond two new moms.

Once you have new mommy friends you may start to enjoy being home with baby.

If not, then go back to work and forget about the guilt – just enjoy your job during the day and your baby the rest of the time.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach & Mom (email:  lisa@bratbusters.com)