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What smart mothers know

"The tricky part of new parenthood is convincing a new mother that she is capable. Day after day, we see well-educated, talented, and successful women who feel afraid to trust their mothering instincts," Explain, Wendy Haldeman, RN, MN, IBCLC and Corky Harvey RN, MS, IBCLC, Co-Founders of The Pump Station & Nurtury™. 

Corky and Wendy believe that the conflicting information (often unsolicited) that bombards moms daily make them feel confused and worried that they'll do the wrong thing. The information overload comes from relatives, friends, baby nurses/doulas, health-care providers, strangers, books, magazines, websites, blogs—and now even Twitter. Adding to the bewilderment is that today’s woman didn’t grow up in an environment that allowed her to develop her own body of knowledge and thought about the way she’d like to parent. She is no longer able to learn the old-fashioned way: by watching others around her parent, and by being supported and mentored by her families and her “village.” 

In my new book, What Smart Mothers Know, I lead the new mom into a world where there is no judgement -- just a place to be calm and self-reflecting.  Some of the things I do I know will help others who have young kids. It's hard to balance the mind, body and intellect when you have kids running around. Nonetheless, we have to care of ourselves Here are some tips:

•    Make a concerted effort to engage in “Mommy Cherishing” activities -- How many times this month did you do something just for yourself?  Did you take a nice long bubble bath, read a great book, or get your toe-nails painted fire engine red?  Moms are happier and more mentally balanced when they can plan activities that fuel their passion for life.

•    Stop Competing With Other Women -- A perfect mom is hard for anyone to bond with.  We feel we can never live up to that type of mother so we shy away with intimidation from the so called, ‘perfect mom.’  However, a mother who is confident and a tad self-deprecating is alluring.  She shows us her strengths as well as her weaknesses, which allows others to bond with her in a non-competitive way.  The more women continue the cycle of female or mommy competition the less chances we have to build a universal female support system.

•    Ask for help when ever possible -- It’s not easy asking for help.  You may think just because you wanted to be a parent you have to rise to the occasion all the time.  That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help.  Many people are willing to help.  The key is to actually ask.

•    Simplify your life by doing less -- Doing nothing, or being alone is really doing something. Never underestimate the power of mommy-decompression time.  Just like sleeping serves as a restoration for the human body, doing nothing can do the same for moms.  It’s okay to have nothing on your plate.  The most common advice I give mommies is to cut out what is not necessary.  Simplify, simplify, simplify.  Less is more.

•    When you run an errand, tack on an extra half hour to do something fun – It’s okay to do Mommy-Cherishing activities when you have time off -- So many errands are done out of necessity and tend to use up all the time we have off. I know moms don’t have time to grab a vanilla iced blended or flip through the pages of a cool magazine at the bookstore, but why not?  We rightfully deserve it.  It’s okay to add some fun to your day before you run your errands! The next time you have time off, tack on an extra forty-five minutes to do mommy-cherishing activities.

•    Complaining without action gets you nowhere. It’s your choice to either restore or accept your post-baby body -- Women gain weight as they age; however it’s a mommy’s responsibility to maintain optimal health and good self-esteem.  You can sit silently and envy the fit mommies or get moving and get some cardio and Pilates action going!  You can take the path of least physical resistance and accept that life changes many things, which includes your figure.

•    Learn to take “Mommy Time Outs” when you’re angry or cranky -- I’m better off yelling, “Mommy Needs A Time Out!” then taking it out on the family.  However, that’s what happens to moms who don’t take a break.  I don’t mean take a break and sit down for minute.  I’m talking about taking several hours off of mommyhood or work to do something that brings back your vitality.

•    Quiet yourself at least once a day

Taking time for your self is essential for good mothering.   Taking time off from chores, work and family can be very mommy enhancing.  A happy woman makes a happy mom.

Need a ‘pick-me-up?’ Read Kimberley Clayton Blaine’s, "What Smart Mothers Know." Kimberley is a national parenting expert and a licensed Family and Child Therapist who specializes in working with children ages newborn to six years old. Kimberley is the founder and executive producer of a grassroots webshow, called www.TheGoToMom.TV. Kimberley is a national speaker and teaches Early Childhood Brain Development and Positive Discipline Strategies at UCLA Extension Education Department.

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