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It has been over nine years since I was a brand new mom. Most days, it feels like a lifetime ago. But this summer, as I have been watching my sister go through the transition to being a new mom, it has brought me back to those first days. It was amazing to become a mom, but it also came with surprising challenges…things that did not always show up in the “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” book.
Just like going back to high school, I would never want to go back to being a newbie mom again, but if I did…these are a few things that I would tell my “new mom” self…
- Throw out any and all expectations of yourself, your baby, your parenting, and the cleanliness of your house. You do not have enough energy to waste on feeling inadequate because you fed your child baby food out of a jar.
- You will not realize how sleep deprived you really are until your baby starts sleeping normally. This could last five years, so when you back up out of the garage and smash your rearview window or inexplicably fall asleep in the middle of a conversation, you have a legitimate reason.
- It can be terribly lonely caring for a newborn who just cries, eats and poops. Say it out loud and reference #1.
- It is okay to want time away from your baby, and it is also perfectly normal if you can’t wait to get back and breathe in that “top of a baby’s head smell” again. You know…that delectable combination of baby shampoo and spit-up…
- It is okay to start rocking an invisible baby back and forth in the middle of Target when you actually get away by yourself. Reference #2.
- Buy yourself a new postpartum outfit before you lose all of your baby weight. It is worth the self-esteem boost to get out of your maternity clothes and out of the probably outdated clothes from a year ago.
- Hire a babysitter and go out on dates..often. It sounds cliche, but the ability to have a normal conversation with your spouse is priceless.
- You will think your baby is disturbing everyone else wherever you go. No one cares other than exceptionally grumpy people, and well…phooey on them.
- Your hormones (and sleep deprivation) will send you over the edge…over and over. It is perfectly acceptable to stare blankly at the wall (or at HGTV) and cry for no reason. Reference #1.
- Don’t lose your friends in the swirling fog of new motherhood. Hang onto them for dear life, and grab some new ones that understand what you are going through. Have playdates for your two-month-old so that YOU have someone to hang out with that talks back to you.
My list is obviously unique to my experience…no C-section or preemie or adoptive birth…so I would love to hear what bits of wisdom you would send back to your “new mom self”!