Updated: Jan 23
Simply being the mother of a breastfeeding infant is overwhelming.
Your day to day list of things to do is already long. Feed the baby 10 times, change 10 diapers, eat 3 meals + 3 snacks, pay bills, buy groceries, cook them, clean the floors, wash the clothes, put them away, get the car fixed, and more! It's a monster!
So, when you go back to working and subtract 8 or 10 hours from each day, you either surrender or go crazy. Something has to give.
The first thing to go should be zealous perfectionism.
Perfectionism is not a bad thing. The pursuit of the highest, finest verison of anything has led to many of the wonders around us. It's fine to strive for an A in college. It's wonderful to lead your team to be the best in your company. Bringing your home from Foreclosure Fixer-Upper to Architectural Digest is a worthy accomplishment. But, at what cost?
Don’t compare your “insides” to someone else’s “outsides”.
When you look at Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, you may think everyone lives in super-clean houses with perfectly cooked and presented dinners, and wonder why your family is having pizza on paper plates for the third time this week. It takes a lot of time, energy, and domestic help for a family to live in a showcase style. When you work full-time and have a baby, your free time or energy are fully engaged.
Now that you are working, maybe you can hire domestic help. If deep in your soul, you need to live a showcase lifestyle, it’s possible.
What probably bothers you the most is the chaos.
The opposite of perfection is chaos. And babies are the epitome of chaos: wet, messy, ever-changing, rapidly expanding and unpredictable. And in that chaos, what makes you love them most is their potential! That smile! Those two, tiny budding teeth! The discovery of their hands! The rolling! The pushing up, reaching, stretching, pulling, crawling, talking and walking potential!
Your baby's going to be a Rockstar, or an Olympian, or Something!
Your baby is pure potential right now, and that is why you have to let go of perfectionism, and learn to appreciate chaos. Because perfection has no potential. It's dead, and without inputting tremendous energy to preserve it, your perfect thing starts to decay...into chaos…back into something that is pure potential.
Don't make choices you will later regret.
What babies need most is your love, and your undivided attention. Your baby will grow. And who better to guide and support them in all their drive, than you. You are their mama and know them best. You signed up to give your life, if necessary. You may not have realized the terms and conditions--that giving your life was metaphorical, as in, "I give up my clean house, lounge time, and peace of mind for you, my Love."
I promise, in the future you will find you have time and energy to reclaim the parts of yourself you are missing and mourning right now.
Nobody ever looks back and says, I wish I had spent less time cuddling and nursing my baby.
In fact, it’s usually the opposite. Most moms say they wish they had spent more time responding to their baby's need for one-on-one attention. In hindsight, you realize how short of a time, babies are babies. It's really just a few months of intensity before you get organized and prioritize how you want to mother.
I encourage you to sit with the intense feelings about your current life.
Turn off your TV. Put down your phone. They take too much time, anyway. Notice that feeling of panic in your heart? Or maybe it's a creeping headache, or gripped shoulders up to your ears? Whatever the pain, overwhelm, panic or discomfort, take a minute to notice it. Right now. You don't have to do any thing more than acknowledge it. Each time you feel overwhelmed, do this.
Look at your chores and see if you can organize them better.
Group tasks and delegate them to others when you can.
Get rid of things that use up your time.
Put your earnings into savings, instead of shopping for more perfection.
This is a lifelong process, so go easy on yourself.
Think about doing this:
Rush right home after work, put some pizza on a paper plate, eat it, and breastfeed your baby. Look at your baby’s beauty and potential. Dream of all the things your baby might do in their life. Please, ignore the crumbs on your floor, the dishes in the sink, the groceries in bags. They will still be there when you are done snuggling your baby. But you will have done something for yourself and your baby, that no one else can do.