Preparing for motherhood-the fine balance of planning and following your intuition
So you’re pregnant! Or maybe starting to think about trying to get there. Im sure you are inundated with information from every angle. You are scouring pinterest for nursery ideas and chatting with your friends and family about baby names. You’ve got your copy of “what to expect when you’re expecting”. In an age of information overload, we have everything literally at our fingertips. We can buy baby equipment online. Register for gifts for our shower. Order parenting books to be delivered right to our door. So why is it then, that everywhere you look, new moms and dads look like they’re so…well… UN prepared? Moms are drowning in overwhelm. Dads are spending more time at work because they dread going home.
It’s because we get so caught up in the excitement of planning for all the fun things about parenthood that we forget to pay attention to the things that will serve us well in the long run. It’s way more exciting to think about what a fashionista our little girl will be instead of thinking about how we will raise her so she doesn’t turn into a troubled teenager. We are hearing people talk about the sleepless nights, but we are not REALLY thinking about them or preparing for them. We will deal with it when the time comes.
Failing to plan, is planning to fail. If you think that parenting will come naturally to you and be intuitive, you may end up wishing you would have spent more time preparing for the things that REALLY matter. On the other hand, if you spend so much time wrapped up in books and the surface aspects pf parenting, you may completely lose touch with your intuition. You DO know how to be an amazing mom. Part of planning, is planning to also follow that intuition. Truth? I do feel that I planned really well for my twins. BUT, in the very early days, I was so stuck on following the sleep guidelines set out in one of my books that I would constantly refer to it (like multiple times a day), to remember what it said about this or that. When I realized what I was doing, I was reminded that if I continued this way, I would not be able to follow my god given motherly intuition and I would lose touch with reading my children’s cues. Im a BIG advocate for being prepared but I think that also means preparing to stay in tune with your gut and your babies.
Of course, you cannot plan everything in life, but having some idea of how you want to approach parenthood, and getting on the same page as your partner, BEFORE the baby comes (or VERY early on) will give you a solid framework within which to work.
It is absolutely possible, in this day and age, to raise kids who are good sleepers, good eaters and generally well behaved, while still maintaining your own sense of self and keeping your marriage intact. You don’t have to pick one book to or parenting style to follow, but you should have an idea of what’s important to you. That will help guide your intuition. Do you know if you want to have your baby on a schedule or are you a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of person? Perhaps you like to wing it but your hubby likes to know what’s coming. If you don’t discuss ahead of time, you may end up in a battle at the most inconvenient time. Deciding when your child is 2 years old that you are no longer ok with them eating only cheerios and string cheese is probably 2 years too late. If their eating habits are important to you, think about how you will guide your children early on. I always say, start as you mean to go, and this goes for everything. Don’t wait until you are in the middle of a crisis or bad habit! Anticipate the challenges, get clear on your goals for parenthood and for your child, and put a plan in place BEFORE they get here! Then, use your mommy instincts to guide you. You will be so glad you did!
And finally, BE CONFIDENT in your choices. We are surrounded by judgement everywhere we look. Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare only to what your gut and your plan tells you. If you are raising your kids in a way that feels good in your heart and in line with what you have planned and prepared for, you ARE a perfect mother and you are doing an AMAZING job.