Being a new mom can really get to your head. It definitely wasn't what I was expecting (to say the very least). Not that I thought it would be easy peasy, but any mom knows that you can never really prepare for motherhood. We all have different stories of bringing life into the world. Mine included having a baby 10 weeks early, and being in the hospital myself after being diagnosed with preeclampsia that reached severe status within two days.
After my C-section, my room was suddenly full of strangers from a lactation consultant to a hospital social worker consuming me with a checklist of tasks that I had to complete before I could even think about bringing me and my baby home. At that point, I had a breakdown thinking, This is overwhelming. This is stressful. How am I going to do this? This is just... a lot.
Six months later, those thoughts really haven't gone away.
You wonder if you're doing a good job while you try to provide cruise ship-like entertainment for your little one 24/7 - and the nagging "mommy guilt" is more than difficult to shake. Sometimes all it takes is hearing someone say, "You're a great mom" to give us the strength we need to keep going. But when we don't get that reassurance from others, what stops us from giving it to ourselves?
We spend a lot of alone time with little humans who can't communicate back with us. This leaves plenty of room for self-deprecating thoughts. A turning point for me came when I was scrolling through Instagram stories and saw a set of affirmations from fellow new mom Aisha Howard, who welcomed her beautiful baby girl in December (can we just salute the moms that are super vulnerable with their journey? It's so brave!).
As much as I love affirmations, I never thought about doing them for myself and my life as a mom. Ever since, I've been doing my best to replace negative, self-consuming thoughts with positive statements that are true. With these affirmations, we can all start to conquer motherhood like the super-sheroes we really are.
LWA/Dann Tardif/Getty Images
1. "I'm doing a great job."
Because you are. You will never be perfect, but that's the beauty of it all. It's so tempting to scroll on Instagram and see other moms with their capes on doing it ALL and wonder if you're depriving your child. You're not *insert air hug here*. The most they need from you is love, compassion, and affection. You're giving them that, so give yourself a break.
And no matter what you (and your little one) look like at the end of the day (because let's be real, it can get rough), just know you did your best, and that's more than good enough.
2. "I deserve grace and compassion."
"..And I'll give it to myself first." Working from home with a baby is more than challenging. From spit-ups to diaper blowouts between emails and to-do lists, it can be overwhelming. But whether you're balancing life between loving on baby and Zoom meetings, a stay-at-home mom, or a full-on working woman, motherhood is not for the faint at heart.
You deserve grace, you deserve compassion, you deserve a break, and it's OK to provide it to yourself before anyone else does (or even knows to). Remind yourself that you were made for this and that you can do it with this affirmation.
3. "I'm an amazing mom."
That's it. That's the affirmation. Like the others, it's short and sweet, but powerful enough to switch the ongoing gears in your mind to a positive mindset instead of a negative, self-defeating one. Ultimately, it all boils down to the fact that you're such an amazing mom. Even though it might mean the world to hear that compliment and affirmation from others, sometimes we have to channel our inner mirror-rapper Issa Dee and tell ourselves with confidence and certainty that we are simply amazing mothers.
We give everything, including our actual selves, to our child(ren) as we pour out our energy and love daily. It might not always look the way we hoped and dreamed during our pre-motherhood life, but it's still nothing short of amazing.
4. "Needing a break doesn't make me a bad mom."
I think most new moms are realizing that a break is needed sooner than we're ready to take one. I'm literally in talks with my husband right now about putting our little one in daycare a couple of days a week. At the same time, there's this tugging feeling of whether I'm really ready to put her in someone else's care (especially a stranger *cringe*) for hours at a time.
But whether it's all day or just for an hour or two, you have to give yourself permission to need and take a break. It doesn't mean that you're careless, it means that you understand you have can't pour from an empty cup. So take the break, sis. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you for it. And you'll be refreshed and recharged to continue being an amazing mom.
5. "I'm the best mom for my child(ren)."
You were made to mother the children you have. It's one of the handful of purposes you were born for. However you became a new mom, through childbirth, adoption, surrogacy, you name it, you are the best person God has chosen to serve as the miraculous role of being their mom. No one else can do it but you. No one else is graced to do it.
Each child has their own story, challenges, and the journey that they'll experience, and God saw fit for you to be the one to help lead and guide them through it all. It really changes the perspective when you realize you were made for each other and gives you the confidence and strength to live, think, and speak accordingly.
6. "I cherish this time."
Because it goes so fast... so I've heard a million times. When we first brought our daughter home from the NICU, we received compassionate and empathetic eyes from every parent who noticed how exhausted we looked from sleepless nights and early mornings. But in hindsight, those first couple of months flew by.
As tiring as it can be, I know I'll miss these days that she actually wants me to hold and kiss her and overwhelm her with affection. So in the overwhelming times, I'm reminded with this affirmation to cherish it (and every phase of life we get to experience), because once it's gone, we can't get it back.
JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images
7. "I understand that to be my best, I have to take care of myself."
It seems impossible. Days go by before you think, "Wait.. when was the last time I showered?" Taking time to enjoy a long bath or a trip to the nail salon seems like it's out of the question, but like the flight attendants tell you on the airplane, you have to put on your own oxygen mask first before trying to help anyone with theirs.
I remember our first flight with our little one, they made sure I knew that I had to help myself before I could try to help her. That was a tough pill to swallow in the rare event a mask would be needed. But the reality is, we can't pour from an empty well. And there's nothing wrong with taking time to fill up.
8. "I am strong."
Motherhood can make us feel like we're falling apart. Before venturing on this lifelong journey, we had it all together or at least felt like we did. We didn't have another human life to constantly look after and protect. Now, we find ourselves feeling inadequate as we try to balance it all. But the truth is, your strength is what helps you.
No matter how little of it you have, you use it daily to be the mother and woman you were born to be. It doesn't always feel like it, but you're strong and capable. On those days your strength is depleted, speak this affirmation and hang on to your second wind.
9. "I can do this."
Take a look back over your journey of motherhood. No matter how long it's been, you'll realize that not only can you do this, but you have been doing it. Life can be a blur as you learn to take care of your little one, yourself, and everyone in your household. But you can do it because you already are.
Remember that you were literally made for this. It's one of the amazing reasons you were born. And after you reflect (and give yourself an "I did that!") and say your affirmation, take a well-deserved break.
10. "I'm not alone."
You can also add, "It's OK to ask for help." Motherhood can be a lonely journey, but the truth is you're not by yourself. The more I talk to moms, whether they're new in the game or have years of battle scars, the more I realize we're all in this together. If you don't have family or friends you feel like you can lean on, I feel for you.
Still, there are ways you can connect with other moms from local Facebook groups to apps like Peanut that help you build relationships. You might feel lonely at times, but just know you're not alone. You got this!
11. "I am exactly what he/she needs."
If (and when) you find yourself wondering if you're fit to be their mom, know that you are, and this affirmation helps you remember that. As new moms, and as moms in general, we can easily obsess over every small decision that we believe will determine their long-term path. We question if we're doing the right thing, if we're the best thing for them, and even if there's someone else who could do the job better.
You are the best thing, and there's not someone else. You're the woman who is most fitting to nurture and care for your child as their mom. Yes, they will have other influences in the forms of aunts, friends, cousins, etc., but there's nothing like the bond they'll have with you.
12. "I'm more than a mom."
Life doesn't stop when you become a mom. Yes, your time is entangled with diaper changes, feedings, and going through multiple baby outfits a day, but you're still more than that. Being a mom is a major part of your life, but it doesn't have to be your life. Whatever your job or career is, it's vital to keep pursuing your passions so you don't lose yourself.
I'm not an expert (and already see my six-month-old as my new BFF), but I feel like part of the reason we get overwhelmed is that we don't take time to indulge in things that excite us. It might be because we don't think it's OK or mom guilt is on 100. It's perfectly normal to be consumed with your children, but you need a life of your own too.
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
Featured image by LWA/Dann Tardif/Getty Images