having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.
Oftentimes I catch myself getting excited about working again. I will think about running a new boxing program, and how I will find a way to make it work while having a newborn. Other times I talk myself into taking part in one of my favourite hobbies like painting, or photography. Just as quickly as the excitement comes, I shut it down with thoughts like,
You don’t have time for that.
You have a new baby at home to look after.
You can’t do that for atleast another year.
My therapist says it’s completely normal to have ambivalent thoughts as a “new Mom”. She calls me a new Mom because it has been so many years since I’ve had a little baby at home. She has also asked me to stop judging myself, and to recognize feelings of “guilt”, or “shame”.
As soon as the thoughts come up, I should name them.
“Oh this is me feeling guilty again.”
After naming the thoughts, I then have to find ways to soothe.
“Oh this is me feeling guilty again. It is okay to feel guilty. It is a normal feeling that Moms have.”
Ladies. I struggle a lot. I struggle with Mom shame, and I struggle with feeling guilty for wanting to do things for myself. My son is only three months old, and it is perfectly normal to want to spend all of my time with him.
What I need to work on is how I often judge myself for taking an hour here and there to go do something for myself. A lot of times I stop myself from going somewhere without my baby with thoughts like:
Well, he needs me. If I’m not there, he might cry, and what if Daddy can’t fix it?
I have to do all the night time feedings because I am the only one who can get him back to sleep.
I refuse to sleep in the bed with my partner because I have been sleeping in Thai’s nursery since he was born. I have my own double bed in there just for me. As soon as Thai wakes up, I’m right there.
I’ve thought about sleeping with my partner, and the thought is quickly shut down by, “NO! I need to be in there. What if I don’t hear him? What if I can’t sleep in that bed? I’d rather just sleep beside him so I’m there when he wakes up.”
I love being in therapy. As proud as I am of myself for being such a good Mom, I also know there are “controlling” aspects of my parenting that aren’t allowing me to ease up and let others take control. I think a lot of us Moms are guilty for this. It’s our motherly instinct to do everything we can for our babies. We have it in our heads that things have to be done a certain way.
My therapist will ask me harsh questions that help me understand that my behaviours can become harmful to my relationship, or to my future self.
My therapist discussed that she has had clients in the past who are just like me, only their baby is older, and guess what? Mom has no time for herself because the baby only wants Mommy. Although that may not seem like the worst thing in the world, it will certainly mean Mom has no time for herself. It’s hard for other people to help when you constantly turn down help.
Why do we turn down help?
A lot of Moms have a “I can do it all myself” attitude. Society has made us believe that we are capable of doing things on our own. We fear being judged by others if we ask for help. We fear that if someone helps, things won’t get done properly. Fear is what holds us back from creating productive partners.
If I don’t let my partner watch my son while I go have some “me time”, I am creating an underproductive partner. ME! I am the one creating that because I am taking it all on myself.
How is he supposed to know he’s being underproductive? I am allowing it. He will become accustomed to me doing everything. Then, when I’m having a hard day, I’m going to sit there thinking “I do everything myself.” That’s how resentment builds.
I know that so many mothers struggle with control when it comes to our little ones. That’s why I want to share this knowledge. Knowledge is power.
When I become excited about taking on a new hobby, or an old hobby, I am going to allow myself to feel excited. If the only thing holding me back from doing it is guilt, then I need to learn how to recognize “Oh hey! There’s guilty again. Hi guilty! I know why you’re there, but I’m going to ignore you because I know it’s okay for me to do something I love outside of being a Mom to my baby!”
Moms! It is okay to want to do something here and there. I’m not saying pack your bags and go away for the weekend when you have a new baby at home. But if you want to take an hour to go for a walk alone, or paint a picture, then do it. Ask for help for an hour, and GO DO IT!
Like my therapist says, “Whats the worst thing that’s going to happen if your baby is with his Dad for an hour?” My answer was “he will cry, and his Dad won’t know how to fix it.” She laughs and says “Well. How is he ever going to learn if you don’t let him?”
Point well taken!
I have ambivalent thoughts everyday. I go back and forth battling with my thoughts. If it wasn’t for therapy, I wouldn’t know how to work through them. I am learning to “name” the feeling, and “soothe” the feeling. It is normal to have ambivalent thoughts. It’s important to know when your actions are driven by feelings like guilt or shame.
We need to learn to drive our actions with excitement, and confidence. Part of that is doing the hard work. Change can only happen when you make the decision to want to change. We choose what drives us. What drives you?