After nine long months of excited anticipation, the big moment has finally arrived for you to meet your little bundle of joy. Fortunately, you could not be more prepared. You have read every book from the New York Times Bestsellers List on pregnancy and parenting. You have talked with friends, family members and the cashier from the grocery store; collecting every piece of information that you could possibly need. Pinterest has become your BFF; you have stockpiled hundreds of pins from the early stages of pregnancy through the first months at home with a newborn.
You are READY. What more could you possibly need to know that you haven’t already spent hundreds of hours committing to memory? Baby is arriving and you are an expert!
First off, let me start by congratulating you and welcome you to the mommy club! There is no day more memorable than when you first meet your child, and no job more rewarding. You’ve done your homework and you are primed for parenthood!
Friends, I was you. I read every book I could get my hands on. I pinned any article within a hundred foot radius of the parenting category. I am a planner. I am organized. But there is something I need to share with all of you. Something I was completely unprepared for. One small piece of advice I had overlooked. Me.
I had not taken into account how bringing a new person into the world would affect me. Sure, I had read about the physical things your body goes through. I had read about the numerous ways daily life would change. I was prepared for the sleep deprivation. I had read of hormones, but scoffed at it. That would be the least of my concerns.
Or would it? I need to share with you, after childbirth hormones will hit you, and they will hit hard. This is NORMAL. You will feel all sorts of emotions; they will run the gamut from tears to laughter and back to tears again within five minutes, almost inexplicably. I repeat, THIS IS NORMAL. And it will happen, so please be prepared. You have been through A LOT; both physically and mentally. Your body has gone haywire, along with your brain.
I am by no means an expert in this department, but I have the one piece of advice I feel is invaluable. The one piece of advice I gave myself that really saved my sanity.
My #1 Piece of Advice For New Moms:
Find Something That Makes You Feel ‘Normal’
Normal. I realize this is a subjective word. I cannot tell you what specifically to do to make yourself feel ‘normal,’ but I can tell you that this simple piece of advice will absolutely save you in those early days of motherhood.
Find what is ‘normal’ for you
For me, I had two pieces of my former life that were invaluable to me in my ‘new’ life. Cleaning and putting myself together each day. I realize these two things aren’t for everyone, but for me it’s what defines a normal life. Pre-baby, I always kept an immaculate house. Pre-baby I was always dressed, hair done, and make up applied. Take these things away, life no longer feels ‘normal.’ And the more you can regulate normal life, the easier you will be able to adjust to the many changes coming your way.
Identify your normal. It’s ok if whatever your normal is doesn’t seem important in the big picture. It’s ok if it’s small and insignificant. It’s ok if it’s something just for you. The point is to find something that will keep you mentally on track.
Make time for your ‘normal’
Once you have identified your number one priority from your former life, you need to actually make the time to make it happen. Trust me, I know that the last thing you are going to want to do once you get a spare minute at home with your new baby is anything that requires moving from the couch. But even five minutes out of your day while your baby is napping put towards a normal activity can make a huge difference in your mental well being.
Within minutes of nervously arriving home with our son, I was already on edge. Bob, our dog, was going absolutely nuts. I was already anxious and unsure of myself. I didn’t even know where to begin. But the baby was sleeping and Bob was contained in our family room with my husband. I was alone with my thoughts. I was instantly overwhelmed.
What did I do? Instead of sitting down and crying for no good reason, I grabbed my Swiffer and got to work. I felt better almost instantly. Once everything was put in it’s place and the house felt ‘normal’ to me, I was able to sit and relax and actually enjoy my time watching my sweet boy sleep and reflect on life’s blessings. For whatever crazy reason, this silly, mundane activity calmed me.
Find the time. Make the time. Check out for five minutes. You deserve it!
Connect with your ‘normal’ people
Believe it or not, the day you have a baby, the world keeps spinning. It was such an odd feeling coming home from the hospital feeling totally different, yet the rest of the world remained unchanged. Somehow I expected everything to be different. Like mine wasn’t the only life that had been completely overhauled. And yet, pulling in the driveway, the neighbor was mowing his lawn. The kids down the road were playing their usual basketball game. People were taking their evening walks. Dogs were running and playing.
Your friends and family are no different. They are the same people you left just a couple of days ago before you headed into the hospital. Their lives are still continuing on. Work has probably remain unchanged. Facebook status’s read the same.
Connect with them! Whoever you normally speak with on a regular basis, reach out to them. Call and say hi to work. Gripe with your co-works, catch up on the gossip. Check in with your friends, see what’s new in their lives. Most of them will probably want to come visit, schedule that time too, to give yourself something to look forward to. Same goes for family who isn’t already around. By giving yourself a dose of your normal daily interactions, you are finding yet another way to make yourself feel ‘normal’ amidst the arrival of your new baby.
Blend ‘new’ with ‘old’
Once you have established what makes you feel normal and dedicated time to it, it’s time to incorporate that into your new life with baby. Since birth, I always kept my son with me when I am getting ready in the morning, and when I am cleaning the house. By incorporating the two, you are seamlessly blending them into your ‘new’ normal!
As a newborn, Preston and the Rock ‘n’ Play tagged along wherever I went. As he got older and more mobile, I would set some toys up and let him play around me. Now by age three, he actually likes to do whatever I am doing. He now has his own cleaning set and cleans alongside me. I have shifted my morning routine to be ready before he wakes up, since that is of no interest to him. And momma, it’s ok to have interests that don’t include your kids! More on that in a future article…
Welcome to Motherhood!!!
Friends, I truly hope that you have found this advice helpful. You have been through a lot, and have received the most rewarding prize in your child. Take this advice to heart. My goal is for you to enjoy every step of the motherhood journey. These are truly the best days of your life ahead of you.
Please please please, share this advice with any new or expectant moms that you may know. We are all in this journey together, let’s help each other to make the most of it! And if you have any other tips for new moms, please feel free to share!