The New Motherhood Information Loop
That first year of motherhood is a non-stop, steep learning curve. And when you have so much to learn in a short period of time, we look to learn as much as quickly as we can. With google and Facebook and eBooks and podcasts at our fingertips, research has never been easier.
New moms consume books, articles, and blog posts about whatever challenge your little one is facing that particular week. Not sleeping? You seek out expert articles on what you could be doing wrong and all the sleep crutches you are using. Breastfeeding struggles? You hit the Facebook group to see if you can troubleshoot the issue with other moms. Feeling like your marriage is hanging on for dear life since bringing baby home? You check out the top-rated marriage books from the library, or better yet, download them instantly to your kindle.
There is so much information out there that it is so incredibly easy to get consumed by all things baby, parenting and motherhood. No wonder so many new moms feel like they are a mom and nothing else. When our lives are about reading, researching and consuming information about motherhood, that tends to be the only thing we think about and therefore the only way in which we identify ourselves. And it bleeds into every aspect of our lives...
When we have the opportunity to chat with a friend, the only interesting things that we have to share are those related to motherhood. When we finally sit down with our partner at the end of a long day, we default to sharing what's on our mind. And what is on our mind is babies, parenting and motherhood.
This information loop is one of the most vicious cycles of new motherhood and one that is so hard to break free from. After all, we want to learn, we want to be good mothers, we want to do what's best for our babies and researching is the most effective way that we know to do that. But if we ever want to get to a point of feeling like we are our own person in addition to being an awesome mom, we have to consume other information.
If you were a reader before baby, grab a novel or personal development book instead of a baby book.
If you subscribe to blogs or listen to podcasts, make a point to seek out topics that have nothing to do with being a mother.
When you're catching up with friends or talking with your spouse, share what you're learning or reading that doesn't relate to parenting.
And if you're not sure what that is right now, that's ok. Ask questions instead! You might just be energized or inspired by what others are doing or reading or interested in. And people love to talk about what they're up to.
It's when we lead into the conversation with struggles, challenges and updates that relate only to motherhood that we struggle to break free from this I-am-a-mom-and-nothing-else mentality.
Certainly don't stop researching things that concern you. I do not want to stop you from learning all that you can about babies and parenting. It's a tough job and everyone needs to learn in their own way. But I encourage you to try to incorporate other topics into the information that you consume. It's important for our kids to see that we have our own interests and knowledge about topics that have nothing to do with them.
So what does this look like for me? Right now it looks like listening to podcasts about personal development. It is alternating between a parenting book and a novel so that I continue to have a reading outlet that is just for fun. It is making sure that I'm not only reading parenting blogs, but also blogs about entrepreneurship, my local community, minimalism and whatever else piques my interest. What are you consuming these days?