The One Thing You Should Never Say to a New Mom

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I hesitated to share these thoughts because I don’t want to be seen as negative, witchy, or ungrateful. But after thinking about it for a while, I’ve decided to impart this little piece of advice in support of all the new moms out there. Well, actually, the advice is for everyone else around them, because, let’s face it, new moms get way more advice than they will ever need.

So, here’s a small tip regarding the new mom in your life. Shower her with love; tell her you are proud of her; help ease some of that new mom guilt she’s feeling; offer her a hand; and never—I mean, NEVER—tell her to “hurry up.”

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As a new mom, I don’t think anything got under my skin more than being told I needed to hurry. I recall one time when I was headed out the door to get my first pedicure in three months, and my husband, while wrangling the kids in the background, screamed behind me not to “dilly-dally.” (That’s Southern-speak for “wasting time,” in case you didn’t know.) Well, guess what, honey? A pedicure takes as long as a pedicure takes, and that’s that. Although, now that you mention it, some dilly-dallying sounds kind of nice.

On another occasion, my mom quietly snuggled with the baby, and I took the opportunity to finally take a shower. (You know how it is when you’re closing in on Day-4-hair.) As I walked up the stairs, she called behind me, “Don’t make it your life’s work.” Hmmmm, you’re pretty much holding my life’s work right now; the shower is just a tiny slice of heaven that I’m going to try to squeeze into 6.3 minutes. Can I please just enjoy it?

Here’s the thing. Being a new mom is about putting everyone else before yourself … and, a lot of the time, you are doing so in a frantic manner. In fact, I think one of the most underrated characteristics of a good mom is a sense of hustle. If you don’t have a good bit of hustle in you, you’ll never get anything done.

Baby is asleep for 20 minutes? This is your opportunity to check email, empty the dishwasher, switch out the laundry, make formula for the rest of the day, clean the high chair, write a thank you note, and pay the bills. Like I said, hustle. We seem to do a lot of hurrying, don’t we?

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Parenthood, in general, is full of things we need to hurry up and do. There are a million schedules and times to remember—feeding schedules, naptimes, school calendars, homework deadlines, sports practices, doctors’ appointments—all of these things putting constant demands on our time. And as a person who is always perfectly punctual and not wanting to let having children rob me of that streak, I try my hardest to do everything early, leave for everywhere early, and prepare everything early. I am constantly hurrying, so I don’t have to … well, hurry.

So, when the stars align and a new mom is finally going to get to wash her hair for the first time in four days, just remember how much this little break means to her (and how grateful she is for your help). Tell her to enjoy her shower, tell her you’ve got things covered, tell her you’ll miss her while she’s gone … but, please, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t tell her to hurry up.

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Cara
Cara is a freelance journalist and strategic communications consultant living in Germantown. Born in Illinois, she moved to Memphis at a young age; and, having moved away a few times for college, graduate school, and other adventures, she likes to joke that she’s moved TO Memphis more times than anyone she knows. Mom to the cutest little boys, Everett (March 2017) and Gavin (October 2018), and wife to Rob, who works as a financial planner, Cara is adjusting to her new gig as a stay-at-home mom after almost 20 years as a magazine editor and corporate communications practitioner. When not “momming” or consulting, Cara spends her time volunteering with the Junior League of Memphis, where she served on the Board of Directors for several years. Admittedly, Cara has an unreal obsession with escape rooms, an unhealthy addiction to Frappuccinos, and an uncontrollable desire to correct every grammar and punctuation mistake she sees. Learn more about Cara at https://carasievers.weebly.com/.

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