Welcome to Moms’ Month on Dr. Stephanie! This month I will be featuring guest posts from some awesome moms around the country. They will be sharing tips, tricks, and funny stories about motherhood. This will be a fun celebration – thanks for joining us! Today’s author is Karyn Dundorf. Welcome, Karyn!
Hi! I’m Karyn, stay at home mom of
(almost) 3. (I once had a career as an engineer, and hope to have a career in the future, but for now find joy – most of the time – being home with the kiddos).
I am writing this commentary on motherhood from the perspective of a mother with young children. Right now I have a 4 year old, an almost 2 year old, and an
almost here baby (Editor’s note: Karyn had a healthy baby girl a couple of weeks ago – congrats Karyn and family!). I’m sure one day I will look back and shake my head at some of the theories and assumptions about parenting I made at this time in my life, but this is where I am now and my “advice” goes out to all others with small ones.
First of all, be gentle with yourself. It’s so easy as a woman, but especially as a mother, to put all sorts of expectations on yourself. You talk to one mother and you worry that your child is not signed up for gymnastics or Chinese, the next interaction you feel guilty for whatever food you have just fed your child, and the third playdate reminds you that your house is a hazard and somehow you still haven’t lost the baby weight. Each mother is different and each child is different (mine for sure are different!). I found myself constantly beating myself up over what I was doing wrong. Here’s the deal: we’ll all make mistakes. We will ALL do stuff wrong. But as long as you LOVE your children and you let them know they are loved, then you have done your best.
Secondly, be flexible and learn to laugh. All the things I planned for, proved not to be an issue. All the things I didn’t plan for, did happen. You can read all the books, do all the research, but nothing will prepare you for your actual child. Heck, even my first child did not prepare me for my second child and I expect the third will throw me all sorts of new curve balls. I love sleep, yet I didn’t get 3 hours of sleep in a row for somewhere around a year with my firstborn. My first born responds to logic, my second thinks logic is, well, silly and something to be ignored. My first had sensory issues and feeding was an issue. The second has no sensory issues and yesterday I found him playing with feces. There are times that the challenges make you want to cry. Sometimes crying is good, but it worries toddlers when Mommy cries, so it’s often best to just laugh.
Thirdly: There is a lot of judgement out there. The term “mommy wars” gets used a lot. The judgement gets old. It helps no one. Do your best to ignore judgement and not to pass any on. We’re all doing our best!
Lastly, motherhood is hard work. It’s wonderful work, but it’s hard. If you’re an introvert, you’re around a non-stop chatterbox and never get a moment to think. If you’re an extrovert, you have that same chatterbox, but you never get a real conversation in. It can take years (literally) to have a full night sleep. It’s not about you. It’s never about you. A lot of your identity will be wrecked during your child’s infancy. Your body is wrecked, you are sleep deprived, and complete sentences are hard to form. (I’m hoping that after the initial year you can get some of it back… or at least I hope to one day have at least one uninterrupted and coherent thought). There are days that you want to pull every. single. hair out of your head. And then, your child smiles at you, or tells you they love you, or just giggles at a cat walking past the window and everything is better and every single sacrifice worth it.