How to Be an Empowered Mother
Motherhood is an exhilarating experience that brings many women peace and fulfillment. However, it can often be a time when your empowerment is in flux: the world criticizes mothers for how long they take to recover from birth, whether they breastfeed their child if they decide to work or stay home, and how they parent their children – along with all the typical policing of women’s bodies and minds.
With so many outside voices providing contradictory opinions and standards, it can feel impossible to make the right decision, especially when all you really want to do is love your child and provide them with the best possible life. In addition to the many great tips on how to be an empowered woman, we’d like to provide some specialized advice for empowered mothers whose unique needs deserve greater attention.
Remain True to Yourself
Many women feel as if they lose themselves after having a child, their needs taking a backseat to raise the next generation. However, your life doesn’t stop because you become a parent; it gets busier. You are still you, and your needs still matter just as much as they did before. Sure, finding time to indulge in your hobbies might be hard, but that doesn’t make it impossible.
Being an empowered mother who spends some time by yourself and caring for your own emotional needs makes you an even better parent, as it ensures that you bring your best self to the dinner table and your child’s soccer game.
Recognize That Opinions Are Just That: Opinions
Everyone has an opinion about nearly everything, even things they may not fully understand. Whether it’s your mother-in-law telling you that you should put rum on a baby’s gums when they’re teething or it’s a family member saying that you should let your infant cry it out, there’s a slurry of different thoughts and perspectives on everything to do with child-rearing.
However, part of remaining true to yourself means trusting your own informed opinion on matters, including those to do with the care of your child. Once you’ve researched a topic from reputable pediatric experts, such as learning about healthy communication and discipline from the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can take great power from gently acknowledging the opinions of others and informing them that you’ve got it taken care of.
Accept Your Imperfections
It’s easy to beat yourself up or imagine that you’re the only parent in the world who has ever made a mistake, but it’s not true: you are one of millions upon millions of mothers who have missed a feeding time, yelled at their child in a moment of anger, or shown up to a PTA meeting totally unprepared. No one is perfect, and that means no mother is either.
Reminding yourself that you’re not the worst parent in the world when something goes wrong can help you move past problems with grace – and it gives your children an example of resilience, which is honorable indeed.
Advocate Fiercely for Your Child
Mama bears get a bad rap. There’s nothing more beautiful than standing up for your child when it matters most, and there are certainly instances when you need to be your child’s champion. Those who fight for what they want make a better world for everyone, but especially for their little ones. In the spirit of celebrating these moments and milestones, giving a personalized baby gift basket can be a thoughtful way to honor a new mother’s journey and her fierce love. It’s a gesture that says you recognize and applaud the strength it takes to be that unwavering protector and nurturer.
For example, many American parents have been fighting for their children regarding a tragic disease befalling premature infants called necrotizing enterocolitis, caused by the negligence of baby formula manufacturers to warn parents of preemies about the risks associated with cow’s milk formula. These NEC baby formula lawsuits are holding the manufacturers of Similac and Enfamil, which can prevent this disease from harming more preemies in the future.
Even if your little one isn’t struggling with life-threatening illnesses, there are many times that you can and should speak up, such as when your child is being bullied at school. Doing so doesn’t just help your child, but also helps you feel empowered and confident in being a mother.
Remember That Motherhood Is a Marathon
When you’re a mother, you’re in it for the long haul. You’re raising a child that will eventually grow up to be a successful, healthy, and happy adult, which means that sometimes the little stuff really doesn’t matter.
Just like a marathoner needs to push themselves and remember why they came to love the sport, remind yourself of why you decided to become a mother on those days that it gets hard – and think about all that you’ve already achieved. This can help bolster you and remind you that you are a confident, powerful woman who is doing the most important job on earth: raising the next generation to be kind, compassionate, and well-rounded.
It can be difficult to feel empowered as a mother thanks to the many societal pressures that seek to keep women feeling helpless and trapped. However, recognize that you have incredible power as a mother: you are the guiding light of the future, and your work has an enormous impact on what our world will be like when your children grow up. When you think about it like that, you’ll see that you’re a true hero, even on the days when you don’t feel anywhere near so strong.
All Images via Unsplash