The best new-mom advice I ever heard came from a total stranger. I was a guest at my friend's baby shower and we were all asked to jot down a piece of wisdom to share with the new mom. When the tidbits of advice were read aloud, there was one that spoke to me: "This too shall pass."
The woman who offered up this wisdom was a grandmotherly type with a sort of all-knowing look. That may be why I trusted her advice even though we had never spoken and I didn't know a thing about her track record as a mother. Plus, I liked the reassuring feeling these words gave me. "This too shall pass."
I thought about my husband, the stay-at-home dad, and all the issues we had grappled with due to our different parenting styles. He wanted our son on a strict sleep schedule, when all I wanted to do was snatch my chubby little baby out of his crib and snuggle him every chance I got. It was torture to listen to my little guy scream his head off during "sleep training," and I fantasized about burning my husband's sleep books. (My sanity wasn't helped by my own lack of sleep.) I wish I knew then what I know now: This too shall pass.
When my daughter was born, I thought breastfeeding would be a breeze. I had done it masterfully with my son, so of course it would go just as smoothly the second time around. Unfortunately, this was not the case. For some reason, I couldn't get that latching thing down, and breastfeeding became pure torture. Frozen pea packs on my burning raw milk-makers didn't give me much relief, especially when I came down with mastitis and a 104 degree fever. I thought I would forever be hobbling around my house in a bathrobe wallowing in my pain and cursing the extra blubber around my waist. If only I had known those magic words: This too shall pass.
As my babies became toddlers, life changed again. My days were spent reading books, making crafts and pushing the kids in the swings at the park. The only time I could sneak away for some "me time" (otherwise known as "taking a shower") was when I would put on Sesame Street — that one blissful hour of screen time. Looking back, I cherish the memories from my kids' preschool years, but I also remember feeling like I had completely lost myself. Everything I did was focused on the kids, and it seemed like it would be that way forever. My babies are now in school all day and I have time to write, practice yoga, meet friends for coffee and train for a marathon (OK, maybe I made that one up). Yep, I got my mojo back.
So if I have any advice to offer new moms, I would say that motherhood is hard, but you can do it. When you find yourself challenged or feel like your situation is more than you can bear, just repeat that little mantra to yourself — because it's true. This too shall pass.
If you need help, ask for it! Having a newborn can be exhausting. Enlist the help of your husband, mother or friends and carve out some time to recharge your batteries!
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