#1 Piece of Advice to New Moms & Moms-To-Be
This one is for all you brand-new moms and moms-to be.
I had the pleasure of going out for lunch with one of my dear friends who is expecting her first child in August. Seeing her excitement (mixed with a bit of apprehension) was so wonderful to see. I asked her how things are going and how she’s feeling. She said things were good but that the only thing she’s sort of worried about is not knowing what to do when it ends up just being her and her husband, home alone, with this little infant, and feeling so unprepared for it.
Her reply brought back so many memories. I can still vividly remember that feeling. I remember walking onto the elevator with my husband and our firstborn heading home. I remember my husband and I, both of us looking at each other, and him saying “they’re going to just let us leave with her?” And I remember thinking just how crazy that was! They were going to let two totally inexperienced people walk out of the hospital with this brand new little life! They were going to trust us to keep her alive! They were leaving us in charge of this little miracle thinking that we knew how to keep her safe & fed!
So, today I am sharing my most valuable piece of advice to all you first-time new moms and moms-to-be. Bringing home this little life is the coolest and most magical thing you will ever do —hands down. BUT, any and all ideas that you may have about what being a new mom is going to be like ARE WRONG.
What I mean is, if you were like me, I thought life would just go on. I had no reason to believe otherwise. I had no friends who had had kids, I hadn’t been around when my brother had his children, I hadn’t helped raise any nieces or nephews. I innocently believed MY life would just keep on going but with this sweet little being by my side. Uhmmm NOPE. Not at all. Not in the slightest. Not even a little bit.
So here it is, my most valuable piece of advice—remember that you have ONE JOB. That’s it. Your ONE JOB is to keep your precious little baby alive and to keep yourself alive (OK technically that’s two jobs).
Both of you alive, fed, clean, and mostly happy and tear free (that one is harder than it seems- actually at moments, they are ALL harder than you might have thought possible).
Say it again. Say it with me; you have ONE JOB. This DOESN’T include worrying about If there is too much dirty laundry piling up or too many dishes in the sink or too many of a million other things your brain will think of. None of those things matter. Your sole mission is to feed your new little baby, change her diaper and keep him clean and then love up on them and sleep any chance you get.
I know that everyone says that. “Sleep when baby sleeps.” The thing is, you should! Sleep as you have known it will never again be a thing. EVER. Sleep-deprivation is a reality and the fact that all us moms have managed to survive & raise kids at the same time, shows what badasses moms truly are.
This was a lesson I didn’t really learn until my 4th — don’t wait that long! I thought I was superwoman and I could do it all. But, finally, with my fourth I really did just stay in bed with her, feed her, change her and enjoy her. It made such a difference! I implore you to take that first couple of months and really own the job you have taken on. Feed that baby, cuddle that baby and love up on that baby remembering that nothing else matters. They really are only that tiny and helpless for such a short period of time.
And know, going into the first few weeks, that as good intentioned as your husband might be, he more likely than not will distance himself from you and baby. He will likely be overwhelmed himself watching this new and strong relationship he’s seeing bloom in front of his eyes. The bond between you and your baby is a love and a connection that he can’t even possibly begin to understand. As hard as it might be, try to involve him (this coming from a total control freak who wouldn’t let anyone else hold her baby for fear that they would break her). Know that your feelings are normal and not wanting to let him help (and then secretly cursing him for not helping) is something we all go through. But, if you have it in you, try to let him help. But be specific. If that means helping with the laundry, the dishes, the pets etc...tell him. Most men I know WANT to help but are misguided in what we, as new moms want that to look like. Remember, your husbands and partners aren’t mind readers. Clear communication is key.
So once again, my number one piece of advice said another way is this—give yourself some grace. Give yourself the time to just sit in this moment, in this season of your life for the next three months. Spend 20 of each 24 hours holding your new newborn. Hold them, cuddle them, keep them attached to you as much as possible. Build that bond, smell their smell, kiss those chubby cheeks, hold on to those teeny tiny fingers, nibble those teeny tiny toes and just bask in the awesomeness and miracle that is your new baby.
They truly are a miracle. A new life that you helped make and bring into this world. You are a warrior. A warrior who brought this baby to life and now has the awesome responsibility of loving it and raising it. You will never feel a love like you have for your child. Enjoy it. Cherish it. Take lots of selfies even though you haven’t showered or washed your hair in days. You will want to look back at these days and remember.
Happy Mother’s Day.