Having a baby does not mean that women automatically know about motherhood. Most women worry about how to be a good mother and whether the mistakes they make will damage their children later in life. Many women wonder where they can learn about motherhood and what resources are available.
- Start with your own mother. Think about the things she did that you liked and the things you didn't like. If the two of you have a good relationship, talk to her about motherhood. Ask her what she would do over again, and what she would do differently. Ask about the things she's proud of. Finally, let things go that you're still angry or upset about. Get professional help or counseling if you have to.
- Talk to your friends who are mothers. These are the women who will teach you a great deal about motherhood. They're the ones who know how hard motherhood is--a fact that many spouses, partners, and friends without children just don't seem to understand. Share a parenting story, a parenting mistake or a fear about motherhood with them. Chances are they will share a story with you, and together, you can learn what works and what doesn't work in motherhood.
- Go to your bookstore. There are many books about motherhood and becoming a mother. Many of these books are about the stresses of motherhood, trying to be the 'perfect mother' and/or the guilt of motherhood in our society. Books that address these issues include Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety by Judith Warner, The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women by Susan Douglas, Meredith Michaels and The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars: Who Decides What Makes a Good Mother? by Miriam Peskowitz. These books are a great way to learn about the trials, decisions, joys and heartaches of motherhood.
- Find a mothering message board, bulletin board or chat group. There are many message boards geared to all kinds of moms, from natural-minded, to workaholics to stay-at-home moms. Women on these chat groups will talk about everything related to motherhood including potty training, television watching habits, formula versus breastfeeding, circumcision pros and cons, childhood sicknesses, discipline tactics and how to go for many days on little to no sleep. Join a bunch of them to learn a variety of views about motherhood.
- Consider joining a mommy's group. There are groups of all kinds in each community--your hospital may offer such a group or your pediatrician, childbirth educator, or friends may have recommendations. If you're breastfeeding, consider going to a La Leche League meeting to meet other mothers. You can also start a mommy's group of your own if you can't find one you like.
- Trust your instincts. The best place to learn about motherhood is in you. Admit that you're going to make mistakes, learn from them and move on. Listen to your own inner voice when it comes to making decisions about your children--you are their mother and you probably do know best.