Tips for New Moms: Three Steps for Sanity

In This Article:

Cultivate a Secret Life
To consistently perform to your ability, however, you must take care of yourself. And that's where most moms falter, because InStyle magazine does not interview a movie-star's nanny nor tell us about the manicure appointments the celeb goes to instead of taking "baby and me" classes at Gymboree.

The same way doctors cover up for celebrity patients, I had to learn to cover up for myself. Based on what society expected of me in what it deemed my most important role in life, I persuaded myself it was shameful to resent motherhood, shameful to want more from life than my beautiful husband and children. In my rush to provide for others the past five years, I denied myself personal pleasures: trips to the library in which I got to choose a book; massages and leisurely museum strolls; walks alone, and window-shopping; writing in my journal in a café, or sitting on a beach by myself.

Yet, I could not imagine embracing a life that openly allowed me these treats, when my kids spent half their weekdays with a caretaker. So I created my "secret life" – tunnels and hideaways into which my soul could duck and cover for a furtive half-hour, three hours, or an entire weekend. I didn't ask permission to spend money or take the time. I didn't tell anyone where I'd been or what I'd done. I just went somewhere my heart desired, took in something that I would appreciate more than anyone, and stashed the pleasure away like a ring from a boyfriend who comes from the wrong side of the tracks. In secret I can feel the weight and giggly expanse of it, the fullest measure of pleasure, without worrying what anyone else will think.

It's really sad that moms feel they must go underground to care for themselves. It's unconscionable that our society should expect us to march our progeny into good citizenship, without regard for our own health and sustenance. But most moms I know don't have the wherewithal to defend their needs at the same time they're working full-time, getting kids to school, supporting their husbands' careers, caring for aging parents, providing snacks for sports and extracurricular activities, volunteering, and fund-raising for their children's schools or organizations.

So we have to have top-quality chocolate stashed somewhere only we know about. A book of sonnets in the bathroom. A massage therapist or make-up counter on speed dial. Or, a list of "favorite places I never get to go" folded and pressed into the glove compartment.

Believe me, you never want to go to the well and hear the bucket scraping rock on the bottom. You never want to feel, as I did once, that you and your family are hanging by this rope, coming up plaited with despair and dry as a bone. You have to find a way to keep your spirit moist and alive, both for yourself and for the sake of your family.

Next: Page 4 >>

excerpted from:

From What No One Tells the Mom by Marg Stark. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book, visit Amazon or click on the book cover.

Pregnancy Day by Day

Tell us your due date to receive our daily newsletter and find out what is happening in this day of your pregnancy!

Already a member? Log-in here

Name of the Day

Quick Polls

Q: Did you give up caffeine during pregnancy?






I cut back.

2414 Total votes cast.


Create Your Baby Registry with Target
Do you have everything you need to care for your new bundle of joy? Create your Target baby registry today!

Zika Virus Q&A: 4 Facts for Pregnant Women & Families
Zika virus is pretty scary, especially if you're pregnant or trying to conceive. Learn what steps to take to protect yourself from Zika virus, including travel restrictions and mosquito bite prevention.

Where Should Newborns Sleep? Comparing Bassinets, Cradles & More
Where will your bundle of joy sleep when she comes home? Get shopping and safety tips for choosing a bassinet, play yard, or other crib alternative that will fit in your bedroom, per AAP guidelines.

Top 100 Baby Names of 2016
Want to see which baby girl names and boy names are hot in the U.S. right now? Check out these lists from the S.S.A., and click on the names to see their meanings!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

© 2000-2016  Sandbox Networks, Inc. All Rights Reserved.