Just what you want, more advice huh? Everyone from your mother to the old woman in the grocery store will be dishing out advice from the moment you have a little bump showing. There’s no way to stop the comments from coming, so smile and nod, then decide what you want to take in. In general I’m going to be honest and say that adjusting to life as a mom really wasn’t that hard. Of course there are sleepless nights, and of times you will just start crying (holy hormones), but this is all to be expected. For me, the maternal instinct kicked in and I have felt pretty natural with everything.
Going through my pregnancy I felt people try to scare you with comments like “You’re life is over” or “You’ll never sleep again.” You know? Seems there’s often a lot of negativity in the air. Oh, and the horror stories of deliveries everyone will tell you about. Did you read about mine? It was one of the most amazing and wonderful experiences I have ever been through. Yep, that’s right, it was awesome!
I think I had a couple things that I really tried to stand by to help me with our adjustment. The first a tip my dad gave me was to have Carter adjust to my life, not the other way around. So following his words we went for brunch and mimosas the day after we came home from the hospital. My husband thought I was crazy and I’m sure his great grandma thought he would get the SARS virus by being out of the house, but guess what? It was great, he slept and this momma was a happy camper with a little bit of bubbly. The second piece was learning to not be in control the whole time. As someone who has OCD and struggles with letting go, this was a little harder for me. It was ok that I went to get my nails done or I went to yoga the first week he was born. I love every moment with him, but I needed my time too, not to mention time alone with my husband. This also comes in handy when you are planning on doing something and it just doesn’t happen for whatever reason. These two things were my life savers to sanity of being a new mom, but I thought I would share a few more tips.
Remember, this is what worked for ME, and you might not agree. That’s totally fine!!!
- Trust your mom intuition- This is a crazy thing that really does kick in once you have a child. You get this feeling that you can’t explain, but you just know that you’re right. Fellow mamas, you know what I mean? You quickly figure out that works for your friend’s kid may not work for yours, or what your mom did with you 20 plus years ago just doesn’t cut it. Trust the feeling.
- Your child can sleep on their stomach- Everyone and their mother is going to tell you no to this. My child from day one did, and guess what? He’s alive. Should I tell you we did bumpers too while I am at it? Trust what you know works for you and do it.
- Swaddling isn’t for everyone- Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle. It’s all you hear about for 10 months of pregnancy. It’s the first thing you learn after changing a diaper in recovery. Some kids love it. Mine? Not so much. It’s fine, don’t force yourself to do what “the book” says.
- Get out and exercise- Consult your doctor first, but mine was all for getting out. We went on walks right away and I was back to yoga with Carter a week later. Cannot tell you the wonders this did for my body to get out and move, plus helped me start to feel like me again.
- You don’t have to sleep when they sleep- Yep, I said it. I rarely napped when Carter did. Why? Because I had work, laundry and a life to maintain. Ya I was tired and had a little less sleep, but I survived.
- Memory- If you don’t have a lot of storage on your phone and computer, buy it now. You might scare yourself with how many pictures you take. Don’t have a full storage that moment you want to video your child rolling over for the first time.
- Don’t compare to other kids- Every child is different. You will go insane if you start comparing right away. Even now, there’s things Carter isn’t doing compared to friends and things he’s excelling at. It will be like this for life. Don’t get trapped in the crazy.
- Set a date night within the first two weeks- My husband’s aunt showed up to the door one night about a week after Carter was born and said go out. We couldn’t come home for 2 hours because she wanted to do bath time. It was amazing and I am forever grateful to her for kicking us out, literally. You need that time to connect because a strong relationship makes the journey so much easier.
- You don’t have to breastfeed- There are crazy boob people out there. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it. No one tells you it’s the most un-nautural natural thing we do as women. It’s hard. It’s time consuming. It’s painful. It’s a bitch, let’s be real. So do what works for you. There are millions of formula-only babies and they’re just fine. Don’t live your life by the boob.
- Make new mom friends- I joined a mommy and me and have some amazing new life-long friends from it. We went through it together and can understand each other’s struggles. They’re the people you text at 2am for a feeding or to say you got spit up on while in a freshly dry-cleaned silk blouse. They were and are my lifeline to feeling normal.
- Document- I was given a great journal to help me write down one memory a day and it’s the best thing I was given. It goes fast, all the people that told you that are right, and you’ll be glad you wrote down memories. There are also great apps for a photo or one second video a day.
- Nothing lasts forever- Another dadism I have grown up with. It’s true. It may be hard to think of it in the moment but try because what may seem like eternity will be over soon. That includes crying….
- Learn to say “no”- Now is not the time to be the people pleaser. It’s the time to take care of you and your family.
- Get rid of the cape- Take the Superwoman cape off and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s ok. We’ve all been there and you will be there for a future friend or family member. No need to explain. Just do it.
- Share milestones- However small and silly it is, share however much you want to the world all the exciting things happening. You will say “cutest thing ever”, “it’s the best when…”, etc about 15 times a day and that’s ok. Babies take such joy in the little things, shouldn’t we?
- It’s gross- Being a mom is gross. Your boobs will be leaking in the middle of the grocery store, you’ll have spit up on you and you might have not washed your hair in a few days. Smile and hold your head high because anyone who’s a parent knows what you’re going through.
- Get in pictures- So what if you’re in your preggo jeans until they’re 2? Or you have big bags under your eyes? Take pictures of your little one with you in the picture. You may not love the concept now, but years later you’ll wish you had them.
- Mascara- When all else fails and your even staying at home put on a dabble of mascara and spritz of perfume. Getting dressed helped me with my confidence even if I was staying home. Find little things to make you feel like yourself.
- Get out- Goal to leave the house once a day. Whether a walk, going to the store or having lunch with a friend, take the baby and go. They’ll adjust and my little man is so great being on the go now.
- Laugh- When all else fails remember to laugh, whether it’s when your son pees on you or you put on two different shoes because your tired. The moments pass by so quickly and there’s times I wish I learned sooner to just relish in the moment rather than stress about what was happening. I’ve learned it now and it makes life so much easier to laugh (ex: when your child has a massive breakdown at Costco and is rolling on the floor).
Whew, take it all in? I’m sure I could ramble off so many more things but I think this is good for the first year. Who knows what else I am going to learn as I head into year two.