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Rise and Shine

101 Days of Inspiration for New Mothers



By Mikaela Robertson

License Notes



First published 2017 by Mikaela Robertson

Coffs Harbour, NSW

www.ModernDayMamas.com



Copyright © Mikaela Robertson 2017



Cover photo credit: Dakota Corbin from Unsplash.com



No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.



This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.



Disclaimer: The author has taken reasonable precautions in the preparation of this book and believes the quotes and facts presented in the book are accurate as of the date it was written. The author assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. The author disclaims from any liability resulting from the use or application of the information contained in this book, and the information is not intended to serve as professional advice related to individual situations.



All rights reserved.

Contents

i. Introduction

1. Do Less, Not More

2. Take the Time to Pause

3. You’ve Made It This Far

4. Relax, Mama

5. Tell the Truth

6. Slow Is Peaceful

7. Just Be Together

8. The Sun Will Rise

9. Sailing the Sea of Parenting

10. Don’t Be So Serious

11. Mess Is Okay

12. Sow Seeds Every Day

13. Day by Day

14. What Really Matters

15. You Always Have Control of Your Attitude

16. Wow, You’re Gorgeous!

17. Stay Away from Stressors

18. There Is More to You Now Than There Ever Was Before

19. It’s All About the Journey

20. Practice Makes Easy

21. Get Outside

22. Count Your Blessings

23. I Am

24. Find Your Restart Button

25. If You Can’t Change It, Embrace It

26. Be a Kid Again

27. Life Is Won in the One Per Cent

28. Gossip Brings You Down

29. Listen to Music

30. Comfort Zones Are Expandable

31. Ask and You Shall Receive

32. No One Gets Through Life Alone

33. Know Your Why

34. Channel out the Negatives

35. So Loved

36. Happiness Is a By-Product of Selflessness

37. Give Yourself Confidence

38. Wear Nice Underwear

39. Think Lovely Thoughts

40. Judge-Free Zone

41. Your Future Is Real

42. It’s Going to Be an Amazing Life

43. Define Your Success

44. Dreams or Wishes

45. Without Love, There’s Nothing

46. Look Up

47. Have a Break

48. Finish Things

49. Ten Seconds More

50. My Health Matters

51. Healthy Is Easy

52. Always Growing

53. Say ‘Thank You’ 50 Times a Day

54. What You Do Matters

55. If You Think Something Nice, Say It

56. Put the Phone Away

57. Prioritise Your To-Do List

58. Be Responsible with the Small Things

59. Let It Go

60. Progress Is Enough

61. Declutter Regularly

62. Tension Holds No Value

63. Calm in the Storm

64. All Seasons Come and Go

65. Just for You

66. No Blame Here

67. Own It

68. Encourage One Another

69. Make Yourself Proud

70. Don’t Go to Sleep Angry

71. Last Words Are Remembered

72. Generosity Multiplies

73. I’m Allowed to Be Happy

74. Just Walk

75. Be Longsighted

76. Grow Habits

77. Worries Are Wastes

78. Add a Little Whimsy

79. Listeners Are Rare

80. Deliberately Make Space

81. Say Yes

82. Say No

83. Love Yourself

84. Other People Are Wonderful

85. Accepting Accidents Happen

86. Hard Times Are Not Bad Times

87. Rest

88. The Best Is Yet to Come

89. It’s Okay to Be Different

90. Burn Bright

91. Be Proud

92. Love Today, Today

93. Look for the Good

94. Call Out the Good

95. Coffee, Cheese and Champagne

96. Cry It Out

97. I Am Capable

98. Never Stop Learning

99. Show Him Love

100. Be Brave

101. Significant Insignificance

102. Conclusion

103. References

104. About the Author

105. About Modern Day Mamas

Introduction



It’s difficult for anyone to understand how much a baby changes your life until you have one yourself. Everything seems to change, and more so than we ever imagined possible. Without doubt, this is most true in the first year of becoming a parent. We may look pretty much the same to the outside world, but on the inside, it’s a very different story.



My own story was one many other women experienced after having a baby. Before the baby came on the scene, I was a high-achiever. I ran my own online business. I was addicted to always growing as a person, and was always in the disciplined and determined pursuit of a goal or two. I loved my alone time and was proud of my independence. I was also an optimistic, positive, go-getter sort of person.



Having a baby did not fit well with some parts of my personality at all. I struggled, as all mamas do, through the emotional ups and downs, the utter exhaustion and the immense lifestyle changes of having a new baby. When I realised I had developed postnatal depression, I was determined to beat it. I tried to keep positive and began reading and listening to inspirational and self-help books and podcasts. I did whatever I could to keep a grasp on who I was inside, and to keep perspective through the toughest times.



I love the feeling of learning more about myself, becoming a better person, growing wiser and smarter and more thoughtful. I love being mindful and grateful. I love being present, and at the same time, being continually inspired and challenged to grow and do more with my life. So I naturally am quite addicted to self-help books. However, the sort of books I read through this time tended to conflict with how I was also trying to be the best mother I could be. For some reason, other self-help books never seemed to understand that while I wanted to achieve my dreams, I was still a mother, and that was just as important to me. I wanted to grow as a mama as well. I wanted a book which understood the daily challenges I had and why I couldn’t just start a new course or go travel or start a side business on a whim. I wanted to pursue the best, most amazing life possible, but for me that included being a mama, not just doing things in spite of being a mama.



I didn’t find any books like this, and often the messages I read were inspiring for me as an individual, but left me resenting the limitations having a baby put on my life. They encouraged me to go and do all these things which simply weren’t practical for a new parent. I needed to read something specifically for inspiring, motivating and empowering new mums, but I couldn’t find anything. I had to adapt the messages from the books I was reading. Eventually, I decided to write my own.



Each day, I sat down and wrote out a focus for the day, to help me with whatever it was I was struggling with at the time. Some days I’d be inspired and write a few chapters, other times I needed to just sit with one message and focus on that until I was through the challenge. Sometimes the message wasn’t a challenge I was facing, but was something I was learning, and writing it down helped me to understand it better.



Now, I reread this book regularly, taking each topic slowly, letting it sink in, letting it guide me, challenge me, and inspire me, day by day. This book is for mums who want to be mindful and make the most of this time in our lives. It’s for mums who want to grow and learn and become better versions of ourselves, every day. It’s for those mums who want to be the best women, wives and mamas we can be.



If that’s you, then I’m so glad to have found a kindred soul. Mama, we are in this together, and this book is just for you. Perhaps your story is a bit like mine, but even if it isn’t, as a parent we all face challenges, however unique they may be to us and our own situations.



And just a note on that - wow. You should be proud. It takes a special sort of person to want to read a book that will help them grow as a person, and it takes a special sort of mama to make it a priority and actually do it. I’m so glad you’re here. You’re exactly the sort of mama this book is for.



With all that said, please read this book as slowly as you need. It’s not designed to be read as a novel. In fact, you will get the most value out of it if you read it slowly - ideally one topic per day. The slower you take this, the more you will be able to really focus and let each day’s message sink in. And I know, life with a baby is hectic and both painfully slow and endlessly busy - so if you only get to this book once a week, or even once every couple of weeks, when you notice the book on your bedside table and realise it’s been a while - that’s exactly the right pace for you, and it’s exactly how this book is designed.



Now you’re here. Let’s get into it.







*Please note: there are times in this book where I refer to husbands and dads. I understand many families look different to the traditional husband/wife scenario, however it’s not practical to mention this on every page. I hope you’ll forgive me and believe I mean no offense. I trust you’ll be able to apply the book’s principles in your life regardless of your family situation.

1
Do Less, Not More



It seems almost impossible sometimes to get through a whole day without being told we need to do more. Do more housework, cook more freezable baby food, write a bigger to-do list, go back to work, earn income from home, have ‘me time’, go to the gym, keep your hair and nails in top condition, and of course, make sure you’re still trying to achieve your dreams.



As if being a mother isn’t enough. As if being a mother isn’t a dream.



Well here’s your permission to slow down.



If all you do today is be the best mum you can be, then you have already achieved enough.



Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”

- John Trainer, M.D.



You do not need to do more. Anything else is extra.



Right now, you are taking care of a baby. That is your role. That doesn’t mean you have to lose all sense of your independent identity, it just means part of your identity is now ‘mother’.



We live in a busy, noisy, twenty-four-seven, instant, convenient society. The Western, modern world is all about ‘do more, have more, be more’, but it’s time to challenge that ideal. Maybe being a mother is what life is about right now. Maybe doing more or having more would take away from what really matters. Maybe being more of other things means being less of a mum.



If you are a to-do list sort of person, try putting ‘be a good mum’ or ‘be a present mum’ on your list. That way, you won’t feel guilty when that’s your focus for the day. You can tick it off and accomplish the most important role in your life right now.



When all the messages you’re hearing demand you need more alone time, hobbies, income, dreams or things, don’t forget there is a more timeless, more meaningful way. We don’t need more, we don’t need to do more, and being a good mum is a dream worth pursuing - perhaps the most significant and meaningful dream you could have.



Dreams, hobbies, jobs, work, and that to-do list will always be there. But this baby won’t be. This time is precious. This part of your life is unique and special and you’ll never have it again. Don’t let it pass you by in the rush to do other things. You’re a mum now, and there is no higher calling or purpose than what you are doing today, with your little one.

2
Take the Time to Pause



My life is perfect even when it’s not.”

- Ellen DeGeneres



Your life has changed so much. Every day is filled looking after another little human being. In the midst of feeding - burping - changing nappies - tummy time - nappy-off time - rocking to sleep - settling a crying baby - and more, it can be easy to lose perspective of the bigger picture. Maybe you spend every chance you get trying to catch up on sleep, go to the toilet, brush your hair, brush your teeth, do the washing, make dinner, respond to texts and calls - or even just sit down for a moment on your own.



Life has changed, but look how your little one is growing. She is already so different from the day she was born. Look how far you have come since that first night home. Maybe it was a week ago, maybe it was two months - but you are already so much more adept at trying to understand your little one’s needs. Whether it feels like it or not, you really have come a long way.



Today, when you are feeding your baby or rocking her to sleep, take a moment to pause. Just watch your baby. Look at those eyes, those ears, that nose, the way she breathes, the things she is trying to do now.



In the midst of it all, take the time to pause. This moment is precious. There is lots to do, there are so many mixed emotions going around the home right now, but through it all, reach for a sense of satisfaction just with this moment.



Right now, you are a mum. Right now, you have your own baby.



Can you really believe it?



However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.”

- Valerie Harper



This moment is wonderful. This moment is precious. This moment is yours.

3
You’ve Made It This Far



Today is a new day. If you woke up thinking ‘not again’ or ‘all I want to do is stay asleep’, then you’re no doubt going through a challenging time. Maybe your baby is going through a growth spurt, teething, sick, or just out of sorts. Maybe there are other things in your life wearing you down. Or maybe it’s just the day-in-day-out exhaustion that results from this new life.



But you’ve had hard times before this, right? What are some of the hardest times you’ve had as a new mum so far? Remember them.



You got through those times. You overcame those things which seemed impossible at the time. You are here now.



Take heart: you’ve made it this far. Whether you get through happily or easily, or exhausted and battered down, you will get through. So don’t worry about that. You can’t stop time from passing, so no matter what life is like today, you are going to get through it.



You can do this. You have it within you to be the best mum out there. You have it within you to raise the most beautiful little person. You dreamed of having a baby, and you have been blessed with the miracle of this little life you get to call your own baby.



One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”

- Sigmund Freud



It is hard, there is no doubt. But it is also something you are going to get through and look back on with fondness. These days will be times you wish you could get back. These days will be some of the most significant times in your life - because the struggle and challenges make them all the more meaningful.



If you need to, get those thoughts out about how you feel. Write them down if it helps. Try answering these questions: How do you feel? What’s going on? What’s the hardest part of it all?



And if you need to, it’s okay to cry. Get those feelings out because that is the only way to overcome them. Once they’re out, you will be able to let go and find what you need to move on.



Wipe the tears away. Take a deep breath.



Have you made it this far?



Is your baby well?



Do you love that little boy or girl?



Then you’ve got this. You can do this. You’ve made it this far, and you can do it again today.

4
Relax, Mama



Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”

- Francesca Reigler



There might be lots to do today. You might be worried about a few things. What’s on your mind? Is anything stressing you out?



Raising a baby is challenging, there is no doubt about it. But being stressed and worrying about things does not make it any easier.



The more relaxed you can be in the midst of everything, the easier things will be. Your baby senses your mood. You are his whole world, of course he is going to notice when you’re stressed. He wants you to be happy and is worried when you aren’t. He’s tense when you’re tense and he’s relaxed when you’re relaxed. This means if you can stay calm and relaxed in the midst of everything, you’ll find things that much easier. Your baby will be less fussy, and you’ll have a better mindset to approach the day’s challenges.



No matter what the day ahead brings, you can choose to face things with a peaceful, relaxed attitude. You can approach those things that are stressing you out with a calm and confident attitude, knowing eventually things will work out. Nothing is as significant as it seems. The more relaxed you can be, the easier things will be for you today.



Take a deep breath. Take five. Let out your fears and worries and concerns as you breathe out. Breathe in peace and stillness and refreshment. Breath out the negative feelings. Breathe in the reassurance that things will be okay.



There now. This day is yours. This life is yours. Things are going to be okay.

5
Tell the Truth



When a woman tells the truth, she creates the possibility for more truth around her.”

Adrienne Rich



It can be tough being honest sometimes. As a new mum, saying anything seemingly less than perfect invites a bucketload of ‘helpful’ advice from everyone, from the barista at your favourite coffee spot and the old lady in the shops, to the more experienced mother passing you on the street and even your own childless friends.



It is tempting to put the masks on and the walls up. Especially when things are really, really hard.



The last thing we need is judgement.



But the biggest thing we need is help and support.



No one can help if you don’t ever let people know you need help. And there is not one new parent out there who doesn’t need support in one way or another.



One of the most courageous things you can do is tell the truth. Of course, be wise with your heart - don’t give it to strangers and don’t let others squash your confidence like a fly. Be wary of how much you tell people, when you don’t know how they will respond. But don’t let that stop you being honest - we can be truthful without telling everything.



You never know when the old lady in the shops might sincerely say something to make your day.



You never know when the more experienced mother might give you a hug and tell you we all get through it, and you will too.



You never know when someone has the words you need to hear, unless you give them the opportunity to say them.



People love you. Your family loves you. Your friends love you. And there are people - you know them - who really, honestly care about you. Trust them. Embrace their support - one day you may be able to return it. This is what community and family are for.



When someone asks how they can help, tell the truth.



When someone asks how you’re going, tell the truth.



One day, I was waiting down town with my baby in the carrier while my husband waited inside our local cafe for two takeaway lattes. An old lady was walking down the street, and I tried not to look too friendly - I didn’t want people coming up to my baby and touching her. Undeterred, the lady stopped when she reached me and asked the typical ‘how old is your baby’ and ‘does she sleep well’ sort of questions. I gave generic answers and didn’t tell her how much I was struggling with sleep deprivation nor how much I was really desperate for the caffeine that hadn’t reached my hands just yet. I wasn’t about to tell a stranger I felt lonely and scared about what was happening to my life. But I didn’t want to lie either.



The lady nodded politely and cooed over my baby. Then she looked me straight in the eyes.



“And how are you doing?” she asked.



I fumbled for an answer.



“Um, uh, well, you know,” I shrugged.



She nodded and then reached out and touched my shoulder.



“You’re doing a great job.”



“Thanks,” I mumbled.




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