No matter how many books you read or new baby items you purchase, you can never be fully prepared for motherhood. Everyone will offer advice, warn you about mistakes they’ve made, or products they couldn’t live without. Being a first time mom has an adjustment period, once you leave the hospital you are in charge of this little person 24/7 as you navigated unchartered territory. Like most new things in life you figure it out, learning what works best for your family and what mistakes you’ll never make again. Here is my advice as a first time mom:
1) Everyone makes mistakes, learn from them, and move on. Both new and seasoned moms make mistakes from time to time, its human nature. No one is perfect and these mistakes make us better parents in the long run.
2) It’s okay to turn down friend requests to come see the baby in the hospital or immediately after you get home. One of the most important things is getting settled as a family, friends can visit later on, once you’ve established a routine.
3) Focus on visits from friends/family that are willing to help and be of assistance. Those that just want to hold the baby and see you postpartum, while they often have the best of intentions, can be more stressful than beneficial.
4) If people offer to help, let them. If they ask what they can do, tell them specifically. I found that friends who bought meals (turkey lasagna was by favorite) or offered to watch the baby for 30 minutes while I took an uninterrupted shower were the best.
5) Sleep, or at least rest, when the baby does. Everyone’s told you this and while it might sound cliché it’s true. The laundry will get folded eventually (or at least worn and dirtied again before its ever folded) but you don’t know what your babies sleep schedule will be later that day so take advantage of the downtime while you can.
6) This too shall pass. Infants quickly become babies then toddlers, problems that you experience now will soon be a thing of the past as new joys and issues come to light. Give it time and before long you will have moved on.
7) Join a playgroup, local parent’s network, or online mom’s group. It is comforting to have other mom’s with similar aged children to bounce ideas off of. They too are experiencing the same parenting struggles and can provide helpful ideas on how to best handle such concerns.
8) Take some time for yourself. Even if it’s only 15 minutes or half an hour this time alone can provide the chance to recharge. Whether it’s going for walk around the neighborhood, reading on the deck, or getting a drink from the local coffee shop this time allows you to decompress and makes you a better, more patient mother the rest of the day.
By Jessica S.