"Shoulding" on Yourself
If I had a nickel for every time a new mom said, “I should be doing/being/feeling (breastfeeding, playing with the baby 24/7, feeling happy….” I would be a wealthy woman. But money isn’t everything.
I’d like to propose a crazy idea: can we just get rid of the word “should” when it comes to new motherhood? This word – “should” – is a function of unrealistic expectations that even Superwoman couldn’t live up to.
Remember that you have just gone through a major life transformation and putting enormous expectations on yourself is probably not great for your mental well being. For better or for worse, there is no manual for motherhood, so we are all just trying to do the best we can with the tools we’ve got. Sometimes we trust what’s deep inside our center, and sometimes we are very, very unsure. But comparing our choices to the choices of others just causes a lot of unnecessary angst.
Finding mentors that you can trust, who will be non-judgmental and will care for you unconditionally can be a helpful antidote to this “shouldering”. Find people who validate your choices and remind you of the fantastic job you are doing. If you don’t have someone in your current circle, widen it by going to an adjusting to motherhood group, a parenting class, or even therapy.