I’m a New Mom – Now What Do I Do? Surviving the First Year with a Little One
My daughter is a busy little 7 year old and she is awesome. I know all Moms say that but, I mean it. She was an angel from day one and although we’ve experienced the odd tantrum, she has made being a Mom pretty easy so far.
But then I think back to that first year – she did not like napping and she NEVER took to formula or a bottle (not even pumped!) so life as a new mom was actually more challenging than I care to admit. I don’t remember it being so much of a daily struggle but more the daily question I would ask myself – “what the heck am I doing?!” Perhaps I used a more colorful word than heck, but….you get my point.
I do remember one thing – I didn’t take enough time for myself. Out of sheer necessity – to keep my own sanity – I should have found more ways to re-focus, re-energize and re-fresh. I just felt like I would have been a ‘bad mother’ had I accepted help and taken some much-needed ‘Me Time’. Wrong.
Sleep When They Sleep.
Everyone always said this to me and I didn’t believe it. Little did I know those moments to sleep would be so far and few. Take advantage of a sleeping baby and catch some well-deserved ZZZs yourself. The house WILL get clean. Dinner WILL get cooked. Take the time for yourself. Whether it’s a quick cat nap or a two-hour slumber, you’ll benefit from it.
Accept the Help.
Seriously, if a friend offers to tackle your mountain of laundry – let them. If family members want to fill your freezer with ready-to-go meals – let them. Your newborn child won’t think any less of you if you aren’t doing it all on your own. They say it takes a Village to raise a child. And even 7 years into my daughter’s life, I am beyond grateful every day for my Village. Use them!
Take a Time Out.
An appointment at your local nail salon for a manicure and pedicure can feel like a week-long getaway to an exotic spa when you are a new mom. Book your significant other, a grandparent or close friend to stay with the little one while you sneak away for an hour or two. Not the ‘spa type’? A coffee and a good book at your neighborhood café feels just as good.
Many moms-to-be experience the ‘nesting’ stage when they’re expecting. Take advantage of it. My daughter’s room was ready by the end of my second trimester – a little eager but I was sure glad I was ready! It is a great time to get the nursery in order and ensure you have everything you will need for those first few weeks after their arrival – diapers, sleepers, bottles, blankets, baby monitors, crib….the list goes on. Get everything in order before your feet swell up so much you can’t put on a pair of shoes which means you can’t get to the store.
Be Nice to YOU.
Coffee and a stick of gum does not make a healthy diet. Be sure to fuel your body with quick and healthy options. Especially if you are nursing. Don’t forget to take care of you while taking care of a new baby.
Most importantly though, enjoy every moment. Despite the challenges you may face, there is nothing more incredible than being a new mom. Those moments only happen once in your child’s life. Before you know it, they are walking and talking or off to the first day of Kindergarten and then leaving for University. Time really does fly when you’re a mom. Blink and it’s gone. Stop and enjoy all that it brings.
Contributor: Marnie, Mom to Georgia