TMC co-founder Wen Ling Lim on the 4 important lessons of motherhood27 April 2018 - Mindful Practices
By Wen Ling Lim
Shortly after we started The Mindful Company in 2015, I hit another major milestone in my life–motherhood. I become a mother to a precious little girl. I was happy, excited and nervous, a mixed bag of emotions really. But I was ready to take on the challenge of balancing motherhood with other aspects of my life.
It’s been close to two and a half years since then. I’ve had another daughter, gone through my share of mistakes and wins, and learned some pretty invaluable lessons that have helped me on my journey of motherhood. Here are the four most valuable ones I’ve learned so far.
1. Don’t multi-task—no one wins.
It’s really difficult to give your best to two things at once. So focus on one thing and do it well.
After my first daughter was born, I found myself constantly multitasking. I often rushed the process of getting her to bed so that I could get back to my laptop. Rushing this process often resulted in her waking up after a short period of time. My frustration levels would rise with each little cry. To add to that, if my husband couldn’t attend to her, I found myself getting even more frustrated. I soon realised that multi-tasking wasn’t working. Not for me, not for my daughter.
Whenever I find myself getting frustrated now, I’ve learned to take three deep breaths, then ask myself where I’m currently needed most in that moment and find peace with that.
As a business owner, you tend to want to do things now. But it’s important to ask yourself how urgent something truly is and to manage your schedule accordingly. Focus on what your current task is and do one thing at a time.
2. It’s all about perspective.
With my firstborn, I found myself constantly on my mobile phone while nursing—answering emails, shopping for diapers, reading the news. Using my mobile phone was my way of burning time while attending to my daughter’s needs, which at the time seemed like a chore, a mother’s duty.
With my second daughter, I made a conscious decision to change my perspective when it came to night feeds. I decided to view night feeds not as a chore, but rather a privilege because my daughter needs me. Me. And I get to be there for her. I decided to stay away from the phone during all feeds and to use that time to bond with my daughter and reflect on my day.
With this new perspective and change in behaviour, I’m happy doing night feeds and surprisingly don’t feel as tired.
3. Self-reflection helps us focus on what’s important.
It’s important to take time to reflect not just on what has happened but also on how you’re feeling. Ask yourself what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way. Then think of the necessary steps you can take to deal with your situation in a healthy way, before it overwhelms you. When we don’t do this, we tend to let things build, blow things out of proportion or start to lose ourselves to trivial things. As mothers, I think we’ve all been there.
4. Prioritise and know it’s okay to get help.
Before I had kids, I wanted to do it all—grow the business, exercise every day, host dinner parties, cook and bake. I wanted to be both a great entrepreneur and a domestic goddess.
Since having kids, I’ve realised that being a domestic goddess just isn’t a priority anymore. I don’t have to bake cookies from scratch to be a good mum. I just need to be there when it counts. Prioritise what really makes a difference—things that your kids will remember.
If you’re overwhelmed with the amount of responsibilities you have, it’s perfectly normal and okay. Get help and get support. Help and support are two different things. If you need hands to share the load, get help. If you need understanding and encouragement, get support.
I can’t focus on my business, family and myself at the same time. So I prioritise what’s important and get help for everything else. It’s also invaluable to have a great support system behind you, whether that’s your husband, business partner or nanny. It’s okay to get help.
For me, having a second child has almost been like a second chance to attempt motherhood in a more balanced and considered way. We rarely perfect things on our first try—or even our second and third—so know that it’s okay because you’re doing your best.
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