If I could give one piece of advice to a new mom, it would not be about breastfeeding, formula, sleep solutions, parenting styles, vaccines, etc. My advice, befriend as many mothers as you can. I am not saying grab a friend as arm candy, rather, invest in relationships with a diverse group of individuals who happen to be mothers. Do not be judgmental, fake, or pretentious, rather be open-minded, genuine, and welcome the relationship you might have otherwise passed up. Having a mother-lode of friends offers collectible resources, which you need in this journey of parenthood to keep you mentally sound.
New baby, new house, no family or friends in town, being more of an introvert than an extrovert, I felt doomed to be friendless. However, I grew as a mother and matured as an individual. With this growth came confidence. Sloooooooooowly and steadily I developed various relationships with fellow new mothers.
As the years passed some relationships faded, some grew, and some have gone no further than a smile in the preschool parking lot. I cherish the variety of relationships I have stumbled upon and continue to encounter as I grow into this motherhood gig.
When you have a variety of mothers in your life, you realize your life is “normal.” To hear a friend say, “I love my kid, but damn they are acting like a (insert your own explicit) and bring out the worst mothering in me,” creates a sense of relief. You take comfort in knowing you are not the only one battling a strong-willed five-year-old who is making you feel like the shittiest mother on earth. You hear friends talk about how their children will only eat foods that are the color orange, or a chicken nugget in the shape of a dinosaur, and you take a mental note not to give your kids hell about not eating the crust on a sandwich. I thank God I have great eaters. Talking with other mothers, you realize it is normal for a three-year-old to refuse to shit in the toilet. You just keep buying new underwear for your preschooler and take comfort in knowing he will be fully potty trained someday, right? You share epic tantrum stories of your toddler biting you in the arm or your preschooler hitting you in the face and laugh together, after the fact. Laughter is the best medicine, right? You hear struggles of childhood disability, school drama, and social concerns. You sympathize, support, and realize the blessings around us. During countless conversations you realize your husband is normal and not lazy. Apparently, most husbands put clothes next to the hamper instead of in it, are incapable of cleaning bathrooms or washing laundry, and require just as much positive attention as a child. Oh let’s not forget their ability to sleep through a crying baby, sick toddler, or child screaming from a nightmare. Can I be a dad?
The camaraderie between mothers will help you navigate through all the other issues you encounter in motherhood in a way like none other. After a hellish day, you can meet up with a group of mom friends and two hours later walk into your home feeling focused, mentally re-energized, ready to tackle tired boys, and a dirty kitchen waiting for you. As you walk in the kitchen a big smile appears on your face. The kitchen is “cleaned”. He loves me. The boys are asleep. He REALLY loves me. I say thank you, because I have learned from friends with happy marriages, husbands need affirmation. I will not bring it to his attention he loaded dirty dishes into a dishwasher with clean dishes 🙂
When I was attending a MNI (moms night in) on Saturday, butternut squash soup was cooking in my slow cooker. I was trying out a new recipe for my Thanksgiving dinner. I looked at recipes and decided I wanted to try a butternut squash soup recipe using coconut milk. Aside from curry chicken, I have never used coconut milk. I read it was a staple pantry item so of course I had two cans staring at me in my pantry. My butternut squash soup was a fail! I did not even like it. The only person in house who ate the soup was Baby. Way to take one for the team Baby!
I was successful in finding a great time saver in preparing butternut squash soup. I was not about to take the time and effort to peel and chop a butternut squash, I knew there hadto be an easier way out. Alas, there was. I put a whole butternut squash in the slow cooker with three tablespoons of water. Two hours into cooking I added, 3 more tablespoons of water, a Granny Smith apple (core removed) to the slow cooker. An hour later the apple had turned into applesauce and the butternut squashwas cooked perfectly. Bam, no peeling or chopping, just scoop and purée. I wish I would have known this tip when I making homemade baby food back in the day. I could have eaten up all of the butternut squash purée. The hint of sweetness from the apple made the purée taste like a dessert. I WILL make butternut squash soup again. I will not be defeated. I will not be using coconut milk, but will use a recipe with reputable reviews or a recipe from a friends Pinterest page 🙂