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12 Affirmations For New Moms

Don't be afraid to tell yourself you're rocking it.

Motherhood

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.

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Featured image by LWA/Dann Tardif/Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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