– from the mouth of top newborn photographer, Kara Payton of KCM Studios in Kansas City, MO-
Safe to say, she’s The expert. As a mother of three and a career baby whisperer of the last decade, this veteran has seen it all. And we compiled a little list of her best words of wisdom for new moms.
Ok moms. May I be the first to say, “Welcome to this awesome, gross, rewarding, crazy, terrifying, wonderful and indescribably amazing new world, soldier.” This is single-handedly the greatest thing you’ll ever be a part of. Whether you have just discovered you’re expecting, are approaching the days of meeting your tiny human or have just met them, I can’t even describe the awesome you’re about to dive into. But to be real, you most likely have a whirling tornado of thoughts,
fears, dreams and emotions going through your head. Here’s a few things I want you to know:
Number 1 – Take it one victory at a time. Before, you had the option to take on a whole day 24 hours at a time, plan out your whole week, etc. It’s not really the way we were designed to work in the first place I believe. (Too much stress and leaves no flex room for ‘life’ to happen.) Having a baby is a shortcut to a great opportunity to embrace ‘life’ one victory at a time. You woke up to feed the baby, victory. You managed to get the baby to latch in the middle of the night, victory. You remembered to wash the pump attachments before you needed it again, victory. You see where I’m going? Love those yoga pants, the handiness of dry shampoo & a messy bun. The housework and the jeans will be there. You are winning right now to just be you in all this newness.
Number 2 – There’s no class for this sister. You can attend a class to learn to meditate, you can sign up for all the breastfeeding lessons you want and educate yourself on what to expect every step of the way and even be taught ‘how to labor’ according to some. The truth is, there’s no class for ‘how to turn on mommy mode.’ Everyone is sent home the same way, you don’t pay extra to get a manual. You know what you’re doing as well as any new parent does. Trust yourself mama.
Number 3 – O’Doyle rules, you’re the boss. And the way you decide to build this family, raise your child(ren), what you teach them, how you discipline them, what you feed them—is not up for vote by those around you. Everyone has an opinion, most everyone has a couple hundred million and by about 6 months old–you will have heard half of them. Shrug and smile. Opinions are like belly buttons, they’re all different for no apparent reason and, relatively useless. You call the shots with all choices, like whether to use timeout over spankings or whether to home school or public school. If you decide attachment parenting is best for bonding, a very structured home is what will work best for organization, all organic food is what will be in your kitchen, an allowance system in place by kindergarten and that you will move to part time at work…that is for you to decide. There is no one way to parent, run a household or manage life. There is no right or wrong (though you’ll likely hear different.) What is right for your family, is right.
Number 4 – Ok, here’s more of a yucky one. You are not a bad person for needing to ‘detoxify’ your friends AND family circle. This one is hardest at times. I think everybody knows a handful of folks like this, some of us have the pleasure of being related to them. No matter friend of family, there is no real reason to accept toxicity in your life. It has the potential to drain life and energy from everything and everyone they surround and perpetuate, create and magnify turmoil. For whatever reason they function with this combination of life habits, it is not your responsibility to fix. The best thing you can do for them is to draw a boundary line that is clearly labeled. And add a fresh label if the old one seems to wear out.
Number 5 – Taking a break doesn’t make you a bad parent anymore than not taking one makes you an obsessed one. You’re going to hear probably everyone tell you, “Make sure you get out of the house, get that break while you still can, you need a break,” etc. Please just understand that this is probably coming from another parent who is just thinking of your needs. You know you, so you do YOU. If you’re getting an offer for a bit of time away, chances are it is a good friend or supportive family member that is offering. This may make you feel like you have to take it or hurt their feelings. That may or may not be the case, either way, no need to tiptoe around others feelings to avoid upset. Talk to them genuinely and explain your stance. They may have a brilliant solution or be ok with doing something else to help if a break is not the prescription (meal prep, grocery shop, clean, etc.) Not *everyone* needs a break, you’re ok for wanting to ball up with that baby for as long as you want, it doesn’t make you a ‘momster.’ And some *do* need a moment to regain that energy to go back at it. It doesn’t mean you’re less committed to your children, not meant to be a parent or not ready. Everyone is wired differently, we get our energies from different places, recharge in different ways, and regain composure in different time frames than others. Be honest with those around you and more importantly, yourself.
Number 6 – You’re doing just fine. This is the time where that small voice in your head that tells you how much of an uncoordinated and irresponsible goon you are gets a brand new microphone. Every move, thought or choice you make is about to get a good heckling…from yourself. You can’t turn the voice off, but you can decide whether to take it in. You’re going to make mistakes, big ones, small ones and really silly ones. So do I, so did your parents, so does the perfect mother you look up to on Instagram that always has the perfect photos. You can paralyze yourself with criticism or you can embrace the opportunity to love yourself through the newness. Parenthood is the one thing that brings us all down to the same level and doesn’t really ever give us a huge badge of mastering. Once you’ve got one age down, the kiddo is not that age anymore and there’s new things to learn. Be humble, giggle at yourself, take every mess in stride and breathe.
Welcome to motherhood!