My "Be A Better Mom" New Year’s Resolution: Go Easier On Myself

Why this year I'm going to be a happy mom by asking for help and giving myself a break

When I first thought about writing mom-specific New Year’s resolutions, I thought about the plethora of things that I wanted to do or change. I was excited (partially because I had all the makings for an awesome listicle) but also because I would have a list of actionable things to get working on in the New Year.

The first thing on my list was to “give myself a break”—how’s that for irony? In any case, I got halfway through my list and realized that there was one reoccurring theme that needed the most work.

It was something that both my therapist and a trusted friend kept explaining to me all year—I have to ask for what I need

For some reason, when my baby was born, I decided that his needs came before mine and that neglecting myself was okay. Sure, there’s merit in that; once you have a child, everything does revolve around nurturing him/her and there are days when you won’t be able to get something done for you. However, if you are lucky, you have a partner or family or really great friends who are around and willing to help you with anything they can.

I have all of those things and yet I chose to drive myself into a dark and depressing place because I refused to speak up and let them know when I needed them the most. 

My traumatic labour and delivery left me with a longer than normal recovery time, which made it exceptionally difficult to adjust to life with a new baby. My mom stayed with us for a couple weeks after I was discharged from the hospital but for some reason it was tough for me to sit back and let her help me.

I could hardly walk, hardly sleep and could only get my baby to sleep if he was being held in my arms.

One night the emotions caught up to me and I broke down. My mom rushed to my side and offered me a hug and asked me why I wouldn’t just let her help me with the baby. I was stunned—I didn’t really know why. After all, we had planned that she would stay with us to do just that.

As the days turned into months, I became more and more overwhelmed. I wondered why no one was doing the things I read about; where were the friends bringing me coffee and takeout? Where were the family members showing up so I could take an afternoon to get my nails done? I felt isolated and neglected.

I was out with a friend one evening and she asked me how I was feeling. I broke down (a recurring theme of 2015) and told her that no one loved me and that no one was helping me… the woe is me story. She nonchalantly asked me if I had told or asked anyone for any of these things that I so desperately wanted. Same story here—I hadn’t. 

What I’ve learned is that I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself when people don’t jump up and ask me for things. Instead, I should feel confident that as friends and family, they are happy to help however they can. No one can read your mind and not speaking up doesn’t help.

While I have arrived at one written resolution, I hope that it will help me in all paths of life and not just motherhood!

Happy New Year, and may you go easy on yourself this year.

Crystal prefers denim to wool, flats over heels, topknots over blowouts and glasses over contacts (if you catch her sans glasses, she cannot see a thing). She references Lisa Birnbach’s The Official Preppy Handbook to guide her through the complexities of life and is still searching for a best friend called Muffy. Oh, she’s also a new mom—is there a definitive reference book for that? You can find her on Twitter

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