Back this week with a guest post from my longtime friend Sarah J. Sarah and I went to elementary school and were neighbors growing up, we were a few years apart in school and had fun making the teachers believe we were sisters. We pulled it off pretty well until the fifth grade or so.
Today Sarah lives in NYC with her husband and seven month old son Sol. Soon after she became a madre I told Sarah that whenever she was ready I would love to have her share her experiences on the blog. I left the brief open and am so happy to report that the post she pulled together is all about the five things she wants new moms to know. What she isn't telling you though, is that this could also easily be 'five things that got me through the last six months of my MBA and the first six months of being a madre'. Sarah has just graduated, in May, with an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business. TOTAL MOM GOALS.
- Everyone will learn and grow – quickly! My son was born seven months ago and his physical, emotional and intellectual growth has been amazing to watch. But he’s not the only one: my husband and I have also grown a tremendous amount. I’ve watched with such amazement as my husband steps into his role as a father, from the hesitant parent in the hospital to a self-confident master of the bedtime routine. He learned to work smarter in the office, so that he can make it home for dinner. And he developed an uncanny ability to anticipate my needs when I’m trapped by a nursing or napping baby. His thoughtfulness provides me with great comfort. I’ve also grown. I’ve become a more compassionate and understanding person, recognizing that you never know the struggles people are enduring at home.
- I have amazing friends. This has always been true, but when you need the resources of a village, the support of your friends becomes monumentally more important. From making us dinner, to rerouting vacations through New York to meet the little one, to sitting with me while I pump, the support I've received is extraordinary. My friends have taught me a tremendous amount about how to care for others and demonstrate love.
- I can still do most things – but I certainly can’t do it all. Three weeks after giving birth I sat with a friend, sobbing as I recounted my sleepless nights, stress about finishing homework and struggles with breast feeding. She calmly said " Sarah, you can exclusively breast feed, or be a full time graduate student, or be a full time care giver, but you can't do all those things, what do you want to give up?" The next week we hired a part-time nanny. Now, I love the two days that I spend at school, focused exclusively on academics and spending time with friends. The intellectual and personal stimulation during these two days makes the other three days I spend as a stay-at-home mom even better. Plus, our nanny is a fantastic addition to the house, and another source of love and joy for our son.
- Some people just don't get it. And that's alright, they have taught me how to set boundaries. All new mothers will have guests who visit for too long, strangers on the street who try and touch your newborn, or coworkers who insist on meetings at the most inopportune hour. During each of these challenging situations I have tried to remind myself that my baby is healthy and happy because I prioritize doing what is best for him and me. It’s not my prerogative to teach these people to be more appropriate or polite, instead, it’s my job to make decisions and assert myself in a way that maintains our sanity as a family. Honestly, my son gave me the extra push I’ve needed to be accountable for my own needs.
- Joy comes in many forms. The smile I get from my son when I return home is perhaps one of the best moments of my day, sometimes my week, often times my entire month. It is heartwarming and overwhelming to watch as he explores the world and finds splendor in the smallest things. In his first few months of life, I often felt that he provided all the happiness I could ever want. And then I slowly began to reengage with the life I had before becoming a mother. Now, when I have the opportunity to take a spin class I get a totally different sense of happiness and joy. Going to dinner with my husband offers yet another source of enjoyment and delight. While my son provides me with incredible joy, his presence has also helped me better appreciate everything else that brings me happiness.
Thank you so much for sharing Sarah. You are an inspiration. Looking forward to sharing more guest posts soon, and please hit me up if you personally would like to share.