Motherhood is the hardest job in the entire world, and you’re not wrong in thinking so. The first child is especially a journey as you endure the postpartum period and the healing that comes with it, the sleepless nights, and the uncertainty of it all. Because, let’s face it, all of us first-time moms have faced our fair share of struggles -- from the dreaded breastfeeding learning curve to developing the ability to decipher what your child needs when she needs it. You’re constantly learning and growing as a first-time parent. So, from one mother to another, here are four things I’ve learned in Lili’s first four months:
1. You should know that sometimes your baby will scream for no reason. Others will try to tell you it’s gas or sleepiness, hunger or teething. But sometimes, the baby just feels like screaming, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. The way I handle my precious daughter’s crying fits is to play some relaxing music. People think the lullaby is just for Lili. Truth is, it’s mostly to protect my own sanity.
2. But hang in there, Mama. Those bouts of nonsensical screaming won’t last forever; eventually they fade away. Just like the sleepless nights. In the first few months, three straight hours of sleep will seem like a rarity. This too will soon disappear as your child develops the ability to wait longer periods between feedings. Establishing a schedule early on will help with this. Just as you thrive on consistency, so does your baby. By six weeks, Lili was sleeping through the night, partly due to her own personality, but also because my husband and I created a routine for her. It was the best thing we could have done.
3. Keep in mind, however, that you have to do what is best for your baby and you. Each child is different, as is each family and each parent’s ability. People will try to tell you that a child has to be sleeping through the night by six weeks because their own children did. But there is no fool-proof method to child-rearing. If you can’t get your child on an airtight schedule, or if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night before two months -- don’t feel discouraged.
4. And don’t get caught up (and consequently lost) in all of the advice that ‘experienced’ mothers will try to give you. I know they’re just trying to be helpful, but oftentimes they really aren’t, and oftentimes they tend to frustrate more than assist. Many times, they give us the impression that that they don’t think we understand our babies any better than they do. But the truth is, we know our babies. Like, really know them. After all, we’re the ones who spend more time with our children than anyone else. Don’t get caught up in the swamp of advice you’re going to get from everybody else. Graciously accept it and do with it what you will.
So, Mama, motherhood is the hardest job in the entire world, and you shouldn’t feel bad for thinking so. It isn’t that you’re weak or ill-equipped or incapable. It’s just that motherhood usually means doing things you don’t really want to do for no pay and very little recognition. It’s monotonous and repetitive. It tries your patience in more ways than you can count. It means sleepless nights and hours of screaming, housework that piles up, places you can’t go and things you can’t do. Motherhood is hard because it’s constant sacrifice.
But, as mothers, it’s a sacrifice we are willing to make for our children because their smiles are pay enough. With each skill that they learn and master, from rolling over to walking, the pride and love we feel for these little human beings is all the reward we need.
So, while motherhood is the hardest job in the entire world, it is also the most beautiful and blessed. Just remember that and cherish it all, both the good and the bad.
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