To myself, the new mother.

I recently found this post that I wrote a year ago and forgot to ever publish because it was right around the time that we were moving and my brain was goo. As I am about to once again be walking that path of new motherhood, I decided that there was no time like now to publish an old post with dated pictures and timeless truths. These are the things I wish someone had told me when I was a new mother, the things that I repeat to myself still because you never really totally figure it out. Spring2019-122Spring2019-125

  1. Use the night nursery. When you get those two glorious nights in the hospital following birth- pass off your sweet baby to the friendly nurses and have them sleep in the nursery. Yes, you may be gasping and shocked because how could you possibly want that sweet baby taken so soon after birth. Here’s the deal: when you go home- YOU are the night nurse. Enjoy two nights of thinking everything is easy and go home rested. They won’t traumatize your baby or force bottles and will still bring them back to nurse, but that gentle ease into nights with a newborn is so wonderful.
  2. Take everything. If it is not bolted to the hospital walls- take it. Grab the diapers, the wipes, the ice pack panties and freezey spray. Take it all.
  3. Hold them while they sleep. Your baby will sleep independently at some point. If you are sleep training, that point is actually going to be very soon. But at first, in those first bleary-eyed months- just hold them. They are squishy and perfect and you will regret trying to make a schedule happen earlier than it needed to.
  4. Watch more TV. Your infant is not being scarred by endless TV while you nurse. And frankly, you can only do those TV-nursing sessions endlessly the first time around, because then you have other kids climbing all over you. So settle in, snuggle down, and watch TV.Spring2019-87Spring2019-90Spring2019-91
  5. They don’t remember anything. My life was littered with post-it notes in Henry’s first months, records of schedules that worked, only to have them be obsolete the next day. Because those first months, they remember so little. Every day is a wonderfully clean slate. Hear me: you can mess up daily and it is ok. 
  6. Sometimes babies just cry. It’s not because you ate dairy or nightshades, or because they are teething, or because they are undertired/overtired/going through a “leap, “etc. Sometimes they just cry. That’s all they have to communicate for a very long time. So if there’s a solution, great. But if not – don’t lose your mind trying to find one. And stop trying to eliminate everything from your diet. You will go insane.
  7. There are no bad babies, but there are hard ones. And if you have a hard one, that’s ok. You can still love them, but it’s also ok to enjoy them a little less. Remember- they don’t remember it. Your baby isn’t being bad when they don’t sleep, won’t nurse, scream forever- but they are being hard. It’s ok to not enjoy it all.
  8. You are basically an emotional mess now. And you should probably take meds. Because you are a chaotic blend of hormones and if you feel really miserable, you should get help. Medication is fantastic and can help you mother the way you need to. Don’t wait so long to ask your doctor for it, and know that once you do, so many other mothers are doing it too. Spring2019-96Spring2019-101Spring2019-105Spring2019-104
  9. By the time you potty train, you will have dealt with so many bodily functions of another person that you won’t even be phased.
  10. PBJ’s are so good. And stop trying to put them on wheat bread to make them healthier. Slap them on white bread, cut off those crusts, and pass them out. They are so delicious. It really isn’t a bad idea to make a tupperware full of a couple in the morning every day so that you can hurl lunch at your toddlers whenever they get hangry.
  11. You aren’t going to lose the weight. Some moms will, but you won’t. And it will be deeply frustrating and discouraging, but just know that each time you get pregnant again, you will look back at pictures of when you were desperately trying and failing to lose weight and realize that you looked fine.
  12. No one cares what you are doing. They really don’t. That doesn’t mean people won’t make snide comments, just that you probably will think they are more snide than they actually are. Everyone is muddling through this parenthood thing and wants to talk about it, which can look like judgement. Toughen up. No one actually cares what you are doing, so stop worrying about if they do or not. Spring2019-106Spring2019-114Spring2019-119
  13. An Ikea crib occupied by a 100th percentile in height almost three year old somehow has room for an almost 6 foot tall adult and is surprisingly comfortable. It is always worth it to climb in and snuggle.
  14. Taking steamed broccoli to the park instead of goldfish doesn’t make you a better mother. Neither does having your baby sleep through night earlier or poop on the potty earlier. Not liking every minute doesn’t make you a worse mother, neither does letting your kid eat ice cream before they turn 1 or forgetting to brush their teeth as much as you should or letting your kids play barefoot in gross puddles in back alleys. What makes you a good mother is acting on that desperate love that bubbles up inside you and letting it overflow. What makes you the best mother is being the one that your kids need- not the phantom kids of the mother on the internet or in books.
  15. You won’t regret it. You will have regrets, failings that you replay, moments where you emphatically are not having fun. But you won’t regret the decision to make your life harder by having kids. It will be fuller, and sometimes that makes it hard to breathe or think or process or sleep. But it is also so full of so much light and joy and goodness.Spring2019-124
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3 Responses to To myself, the new mother.

  1. Annie Weldon says:

    You are 100% correct on all accounts. Make sure the dads see this, too. (from a 73 year old mother of four, geandmother of 6).

    • glee5432gmailcom says:

      You have expressed very wise insights and thoughtful advise that every young Mom and Dad should read several times. Your genuine transparency is so refreshing.

  2. Rachel Timms says:

    Thank you for this dynamite post (again)! I may need to frame and hang most of these in the nursery so I don’t forget to give myself grace.

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