With Zhuo Yuezi 坐月子, most new mothers hire a confinement nanny to look after the baby and mother for the first month. Support during the first month is rather critical to ensure that new mothers do not feel overwhelmed and settle into an established routine.
For others, live-in maids and grandparents help to manage the household chores and new addition. For these new mothers, such support seems to work well and they get a break while recovering from giving birth.
For others who are by themselves, and facing motherhood for the first time, this transition can be tricky, lonely, and overwhelming in many ways. With no immediate family to rely on, these new mothers can often find many, initial processes stressful.
I remember those earlier years when I was looking after my son all by myself (here in California), and I could not hop by my parents’ place for ready-cooked meals – it seems like there was no break from the feeding and cleaning routines.
As years go by, new mothers (like me) learn to develop Mummy Mantras to help themselves cope with their new challenges – they are essential as they help to change focus, develop organizational skills, encourage personal growth and set priorities.
Mantra #1: My priority is to raise healthy and happy children
Raising healthy and happy children should always be your main priority. Any side activities and issues, your decisions should start from this main goal. In times when you feel lost as to what is ‘best’ for your child, this mantra will help you evaluate what is truly important, amidst all the other distractions.
Mantra #2: I don’t need to compete
Competition is everywhere. As soon as connections are established, parents will start to compare how their kids and others are doing. From clothes, strollers, furniture, toys to food, some are eager to outdo others and seek the ‘best’ brands for their newborns. However, this constant desire to outshine others can lead to unnecessary stress, strained friendships, and financial burden.
Mantra #3: I don’t need to be perfect
Every life phase has its own challenge and parenthood is no exception. Stress can ensue for those who strive for perfection. Being a parent can be chaotic and uncertain.
New mothers and fathers may find themselves loaded with heavier responsibilities. Frustration can set in if parents do not acknowledge their limits and reorganise themselves. The key is to be accommodating and allow room for mistakes, and to allow others to help you. This can be tough for many as it requires letting go of control.
Mantra #4: I need to connect with other new parents
Connect with other like-minded mums and dads. You will find such connections to be beneficial. Such a support system will be helpful in times of need. You can also use such platforms to voice your concerns.
As you share with others, you will also discover that your own concerns and not just yours alone. Such interaction provides the possibilities for you to improve as a parent – as a person – and forge friendships.
Online support groups you can join:
Mantra #5: I can be humble to accept help
Don’t let your pride or ego get in the way of asking for help. You can learn from those who have been there; who have valuable experiences and are open and willing to help you.
Mantra #6: I am deserving of breaks
A caretaker’s role is not easy. If you are the sole caretaker of your family, look out for tell-tale signs if you are going to suffer from a burnout. To avoid burnouts, think of things that you enjoy and make you relaxed, and make time for them on a regular basis. It could a facial session, attending a one day retreat, going for a yoga class, shopping, or simply reading a novel.
Renewed strength is critical to help you deal with those unending, daily issues. As a carer, it is important to care for yourself, as the person being cared for can feel your vibes. When you take good care of yourself, you indirectly take care of others too.
Mantra #7: There is only so much I can do
Do not feel obligated to over-work yourself. Know when to stop and acknowledge that we all have limits to what we can do within a day. Learning to say no is the first step to affirm your boundaries and prevent yourself from over-committing.
By Caroline Yeung
Caroline has over 18 years of communication experience and she has worked with technology and consumer companies. Her recent interest in Early Childhood Education has led her to work towards a certificate from The UCLA Extension in California. Caroline’s previous teaching experience also came from working with junior college and polytechnic students in Singapore.
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