The new mom paces and pats and shusshes and sways. She’s convinced that she and her bundle of screaming raw nerve endings are the only two people in town wide awake.
She walks laps around the living room, makes up silly songs. She hasn’t showered in three days, hasn’t left the little house in four. While everyone tells her to Cherish every second! You’ll blink and they’re grown!, time, for her, stands still.
She’s trapped and tired and it’s supposed to be the happiest time of her life. It isn’t.
It’s a lonely existence, that of the new mom.
During that time in my life I was given advice by the boatload: Sleep when he sleeps. Nurse on demand. Don’t forget to take time for yourself.
I ate it all up, eager and enthusiastic,with the zeal of a convert. I’d joined a new religion, one of 2 a.m. wakings and unidentified rashes, of colic and mastitis and proper car seat installation. Each night I prayed to the gods of the parenting books, dog-earring chapters and highlighting words.
But in all of the advice I was absorbing through osmosis, a singular source helped me the most: the mommy blog.
One night when sleep wouldn’t come but worry flowed like water I couldn’t pick up the phone. I couldn’t call the moms from daycare or the sweet older women from church. The baby books told me everything I wanted to know about establishing a sleep schedule and when to start solids, but it couldn’t tell me this: Am I normal? Am I doing a good job?
But I could turn to the mommy blogs. I could read the experience of women who weren’t afraid to share their fears. Their failures. The way they, too, woke worried in the night.
As a seasoned mother of three, the youngest of whom is in the potty training trenches, it’s easy for me to forget the new mom stage. It’s tempting to live in the future, when parenting is more mental than physical. No matter what motherhood stage you find yourself in, reflecting on the past is a useful exercise.
Today I’m sharing some of my current favorite blogger moms and the lessons I learned from the blogosphere. Share it with every new mom you know- it may just help her as well.
Trust Your Instincts 1 of 8Those parenting books are great, but instincts are there for a reason. Many parenting decisions are made quickly and often there's not time to consult the so-called experts. Learning to trust my own instincts and listen to my internal voice was an important lesson I learned from the blogs.
Photo Credit: Angela of Tread Softly
Ask Questions 2 of 8When I read about mothers' experiences with their infants and toddlers, one piece of advice seemed to stand out: don't be afraid to ask questions. This is especially true when it comes to making medical decisions for our kids. I learned from the bloggers that as moms, we're our children's best advocates.
Photo Credit: Galit of These Little Waves
You’re Not Alone 3 of 8After both of my pregnancies I experienced significant anxiety. Just seeing that others had had the same thoughts and fears was such a comfort.
Photo: Here I am with Robin of Farewell, Stranger
It’s a Process 4 of 8For most, becoming a confident parent is a process. I learned from mommy bloggers that there's a good deal of trial and error involved in parenting.
Photo Credit: Amber of The Daily Doty
Lean on Your Partner 5 of 8I loved reading about how parenting affected bloggers' relationships with their partners. Through them I learned to communicate with my husband and tell him when I needed some extra TLC. They're not mind-readers, after all!
Photo Credit: Dwija of House Unseen, Life Unscripted
Call Your Mom 6 of 8Nearly every mother has that moment when they realize, often to their horror, that their mom was correct about an awful lot!
Photo Credit: January of The Dawning of January
You Already Know What You’re Doing 7 of 8Sometimes I needed reassurance that I already had the skills to parent. I turned to the blogs for that support.
Photo Credit: Ado of The Momalog
It Gets Better 8 of 8Watching online babies grow and thrive taught me that even though the newborn stage can be difficult, there's light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you to the long list of mommy bloggers who taught me this and so much more. I'm happy to be among you now!
Photo Credit: Nichole of In These Small Moments
Top Photo Credit: BabaSteve/Flickr
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.