22 Insights to Help You Enjoy Parenthood

Being a Mum is so rewarding, but can be incredibly challenging at times too! Little Archer & Co. spoke with Beth Berghan, Internationally Awarded Life and Business Success Coach, who as a mother and coach, has shared some tips to help make the journey a little easier. 

The transition to motherhood

I am proud of many things I have achieved in my life but nothing, absolutely nothing, beats being a mother.

I have two sons, who are now adults, who I raised single handed from the time the eldest was 5 years old, while working a demanding full -time job. I remember clearly how smoothly things seems to be going around week 30 of my pregnancies – adjusted to my changing shape, learned new techniques for rolling over in bed, become the master of super quick trips to the nearest loo and enjoying the compact package babies come in during pregnancy. Aside from being a little slower and needing to use long handled BBQ tongs to pick up things off the floor – because I couldn’t bend down that far – I was good to go.

What a surprise then when this compact package turns into a noisy, demanding body who wriggles around, fusses about feeding, poos way toooo often and who seems to have an internal antenna that wakes them screaming when the nearest adult finally gets some sleep. I could go on, sharing with you examples of what all parents face through each of the various changes and challenges at every stage and every age. However, I want to focus on you and the emotional changes attached with becoming a parent.

Yes, our body changes because for 9 months we have been nurturing another human being. Yes, the hormones are running rampant. Yes, you leak in places you have never leaked in before and Yes, new priorities have been forced upon you as you adjust to meeting the needs of your child. I understand that for a period of time you may feel like a milk bar open on-demand at all hours of the day and night. You may feel as though you have lost contact with you……that person you were before children (BC) and be struggling to retain your identity.

Common things that contribute to a parent’s loss of identity

Let’s look at some of the common things many new parents feel they experience which contribute to a sense of lost identity:

  • Loss of their career and value as an employee
  • Limited or no financial earning capacity
  • Loss of freedom and time for social activities, hobbies and self-care
  • Time with family, friends and intimate partner
  • Lower self-confidence – in themselves as parents
  • Changes to their pre-birth fitness and body shape
  • Interest in sex and personal sex appeal is non existent
  • The baby becomes the focus of attention which contributes to feeling unloved or unimportant

Other common emotions are fear about whether you are doing the right thing or not, worry that you don’t love your baby enough and overwhelm because you appear to have lost total control of the life you had BC.

It is confronting to realise that it is not all about you anymore and that you are going to have to make some adjustments to your life however, I firmly believe that parenting is only as hard as you make it. Yep!! Read that again.

22 insights to make parenting enjoyable & develop your new identity

I want to share with you 22 of my insights into being a parent – insights that have allowed me, despite whatever was going on around me, to enjoy and learn from every moment of the journey.

  • Most every other new mother is feeling something very similar – find a tribe of new mums and be real and raw and vulnerable so that you can support each other.
  • If other mums are not your jam, find an older woman who you trust and who you can use as a supportive sounding board – no judgement needed thanks.
  • Breathe, breathe, and breathe again. You will never have a better opportunity to learn about, put into practice and master patience, selflessness and understanding. Embrace it when your child is a baby because these skills will be helpful as they grow.
  • Ask for help. This doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent. It simply means you are asking for help. You are new at this and will need time out.
  • Leave the house. With baby. Without baby. It is important that you stay connected with friends, family, your local community. No, you don’t need to take a huge bag of baby stuff with you every time. Put together one smaller bag with contains only the essentials because you can always come home. Leave the house. Often.
  • Remember that you have a life too and honour that. Spend time with your partner. Spend time with yourself. Sleep. Exercise. Sleep some more. Shop. Cook. Whatever you need right now – do that.
  • Slow down. Stop this rushing around nonsense showing up at every single activity because you think that you need to keep up with all the other parents. Slow down and spend time being with your child. Being fully present rather than doing, doing, doing all the time. Be with them.
  • Put your phone away. Turn all the screens off. Model this behaviour yourselves as parents so that when you ask them to step away from their screens, you are showing how easy it is to live and enjoy life without checking yours all the time. Find other things to do so that screens do not become your alternative babysitter. Handy sometimes however it is too easy to build a reliance which quickly becomes a habit for your kids which is very difficult to manage as they reach pre-teens.
  • The most expensive, biggest toy is rarely the one your child will enjoy the most. The simplest things often have the greatest impact. A bright red, hand shaped $2 fly swat started a whole new trend amongst one son’s friendship group when he was at childcare. Money spent on “things” will never make up for time together sharing experiences and creating memories.
  • Save some energy for yourself and your partner so that you can reconnect with vulnerable conversations and support each other through this transition into parenthood. Take the time to reconnect sexually as well, exploring your new body with sensual curiosity. Celebrate with date nights which you are deliberate about sticking to.
  • Lower your expectations of yourself, your partner and your children. The bad news is that none of you are picture perfect and neither is your life. The good news is that you are all in this together and you can work together to establish a rhythm that suits you and your lifestyle. Be kind to each other and especially be kind to yourself. You have got this and are doing the best you can. Don’t make parenting harder than it needs to be.
  • Other people are more than capable of looking after your child. Yes…..I know, that no one in the whole wide world can meet their needs as well as you can. However, you cannot be on call 24 hours a day simply because it is not good for your health and not good for their social development. See comments about asking for help and going on date nights. Your child will survive without you.
  • Resist the temptation to fill up your house and especially their rooms with all sorts of “trendy” pieces of essential equipment for your baby. These things are often very expensive and unnecessary. Instead, do your research and find convenient, easy to travel with, easy to clean quality pieces that make life easier for you. Any new mums that I have purchased a Little Archer & Co Nest for, love it because of its adaptability at home and when out visiting others.
  • Encourage [and allow] your children to help from a young age by giving them responsibilities. Things like folding up clothes, carrying plates from the table to the kitchen. Make it age appropriate and build their confidence by supporting them to get it right. Will they do it right every time? Hell No. Will that matter in the scheme of things? Hell No. Great chance to practice your patience.
  • Stay curious about what is going on in the community, the country and the world around you. Spend time talking with people about non-baby related stuff. Keep your brain active. Retain your work friendships. Key thing here is non-baby related stuff.
  • Stop comparing your life to the “picture perfect” lives of others portrayed on social media. Not too many people are going to be doing an Insta Reel at 3am featuring a screaming baby are they? Focus on the authenticity of your own life, riding and embracing the wave of emotions you are experiencing.
  • Stop reading and researching about how to parent. STOP IT. Instead, learn to trust and follow your own instincts. Do what feels right for you OR go ask a human being for advice rather than Dr Google.
  • Showers, which include baby, are so much quicker than that whole bath thing. Tag Team between parents so you both get some alone in the shower time.
  • Hair done, mascara and lip gloss – minimum each and every day. Showing up for yourself makes it easier to show up for others.
  • Manage your language including the words you use when talking with others and your self-talk. When you say you have to do something…….[have to look after the baby] you are disempowering yourself. Instead learn to say that you are choosing to spend time with your baby or children. Your Choice!! This puts you into a more positive mind set.
  • Laugh often. Laugh loud. Laugh with your children. Laugh with your partner. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Laugh at the glorious human beings you have created and the joy you are having along the way. Laugh.
  • Love hard. Love long. Love despite. Love unconditionally. Love without judgement. Love yourself. Love the situation. Love the challenges. Love your new body. Love.

I am proud of many things I have achieved in my life but nothing, absolutely nothing, beats being a mother.

If you'd like to get in touch with Beth, feel free to email her at coach@bethberghan.com