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advice for my new-mom self.

If I could go back in time and give First Time Mom Paige a few words of advice, they'd probably sound a little something like this...


Take a goldarn nap, ya idiot.

Babies sleep a ton.  Like, 
a ton.  Granted, it's all during the day, and it's usually in infinitesimally short stretches (or, you know, like four-hour-long ones.  Either/or.).  But count on a good 18-20 daily hours of baby-is-asleep time for the first six weeks.  You will think this offers you a great excuse to catch up on blogs.  But then night will come, and you will want to sleep, and New Baby will think it's time to drop some ecstasy and rave it out.  So instead of being an idiot, take a nap during the day.  You won't feel like it.  But do it anyway.  Otherwise, once you have more kids, you will bang your head against the wall, thinking about all those lost opportunities for newborn-mom-naptime.



Your baby is scamming you.

You will get your new baby home, and for the first two weeks, you will be all, "I think I got this!  Yeah, I'm tired; yeah, I'm sore.  But we have friends bringing meals by, and I have help from my husband/MIL/rando ladies at church.  The baby sleeps all day.  We'll pull through."  And then the Dastardly Two Weeks hits.  Suddenly, once they turn two weeks old, the baby will stop sleeping.  Your husband will be back at work.  The meals will have likely stopped.  You are on your own.

Know for a fact that this is temporary.  (I'll talk more about this later.)  Do not let yourself think for an instant that this is how it will always feel.  It will get better, and sooner than you think.  Usually by six or seven weeks, you'll have that "I am a conqueror" feeling back again.  It is a season.  Get through it one day at a time.


Ask for the good stuff now.

What I mean by that is "GET AN ERGO CARRIER."  (I've heard Tulas, Becos and Sollys are acceptable substitutes, but Ergo is the one I've fallen in love with by now.)  You will spend  ton of time flirting with, and spending money on, and then hating lesser-than carriers, but just save yourself the hassle and get the good one now.  They are NOT cheap, they are NOT cute, and honestly, you may not get tons of use out of it with your first baby.  But people love to get gifts for first-time moms.  Try having your fourth and then asking for a $150 carrier from a friend.  Just try it.  Wamp wamp, you just lost a friend.  (Or so I assume.  I have thankfully never actually had the guts to try this out.)

Also?  A gliding rocker.  A gliding rocker so luxurious you would offer it as prime seating to the Queen, if you should ever have the pleasure of entertaining her.

 (Tomorrow I'll give you a rundown of all the baby stuff you actually need, and all the stuff you only think you need but will only make your life more cluttery and therefore worse.)

You will never be more of a novice, or more of an expert, than you are right now 

You feel clueless because you are - and honestly, if I'm speaking directly to proud, First-Time-Mom Paige, I'd say to ask for advice.  Books are great, but they don't require you to humble yourself and find a mom you trust who's been there before and ask her about her parenting style, philosophy, methods.  Ask for ADVICE, not just anecdotes - ask, "What should I do?" and then do it.  I'd say to Young Paige, you don't know anything at all.  Listen to someone.  (And someone on the internet doesn't count.)

And on the flip side of that coin, I'd say, you know more than you think you do.  Trust your gut.  Leave that prone-to-sweatiness infant in a Tshirt during the day even if the lady at the nursing home you're visiting tells you it's too cold for that (and then tells you about a thousand more times, because she's already forgotten she said it in the first place).  And if babywearing isn't your thing, that's cool.  You can be a good mom without needing to develop scoliosis just because the sinister world of Internet Moms tells you kangaroo-joeying your baby for the next two years is a requirement if you don't want them to grow up to be some kind of co-dependent, alcoholic, Hep B-positive inmate.  Everyone has an opinion on every stupid little thing.  Don't listen to just anyone about just anything.  



It's totally normal to resent your baby.  

Maybe I'm alone in this, but again, if I'm just speaking to New Mom Paige, I'd say, you will fall out of love with your baby sometimes.  Namely, in the middle of the night when they JUST WON'T STOP CRYING AND GO TO SLEEP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.  You will cry.  You will scream.  You will wonder if you've made a huge mistake.  And then you will sleep for a (very tiny) little bit, and wake up next to a tiny sleeping baby whose tiny baby mouth is making tiny baby spit bubbles next to their tiny fingers and OHMYWORDLOOKATHOWCUTE and you will bawl your head off at how perfect your life is.  It's cool.  You're exhausted and hormonal and on a steep learning curve and recovering from the major physical exertion of labor, and only simultaneously expected to ensure the survival of a newborn human.  It's normal for it to feel heavy sometimes.



IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS GOOD AND HOLY, PUT PEOPLE TO WORK.  

If they come over to hold the baby, they better first do some dishes to earn that privilege or they're not welcome in your home.  Sounds extreme, but seriously - if someone offers to help, let them.  Ask.  Insist.  Make it a matter of personal principle.  I can't stress this enough - even if you don't feel like you need it, even if you don't feel like you want it, accept help.

Why?  Because this is a marathon, friend-o.  If someone offers you water at Mile One, you take it, even if don't feel thirsty yet.  You need to settle in for the literal long run.  Nap when you don't feel tired while someone else watches the baby, let someone cook for you even if you can do it yourself, don't feel guilty if the neighbor lady  comes over to do your dishes.  You'll have the opportunity to pay them all back later - but not right now.  Right now, you just need to park your butt on the couch with that baby and watch a bunch of Netflix and eat spaghetti that someone else cooked.  Also, you need to take a shower.  Because...


You will feel so gross.

All the time.  You will feel gross all the time.  The hormonal fluctuations will give you B.O. and night sweats.  You will leak breastmilk all over everything and everyone in the general vicinity.  That sweet baby of yours has one waking goal: To cover you in variably-digested stomach fluids in whatever way they can possibly manage to.  You will get to a point where you are fine with wiping baby poop on your yoga pants after you get it on your finger, without batting an eye.  Invest in some nice body wash now, and enlist someone to sit with the baby while you shower.  Because you will really need to shower.  I'm begging you: take a shower.

You will do things you swore you'd never do.  

You will co-sleep sometimes.  You will one day encapsulate your placenta in a desperate attempt to ward off yet another bout of PPD.  You will use the TV as a babysitter.  You will be a much worse parent in reality than you imagined you'd be before you had kids.  Welcome to the club. 


This is all so very temporary.
This is a double-edged sword.  Both sides are good.  On the one hand, there will be nights where you look out on the horizon of parenthood and think, 'I can't do this.  I can't do this anymore.'  The absolute most hopeless points of new motherhood (or really, motherhood in general) come when you believe the lie that things will always be the way they are now.  Do not allow yourself to assume you know what tomorrow will look like.  Do not assume that today will hold any of yesterday's successes.  Just tackle each moment as it comes, and know every single hard thing really is temporary.

Also know that this is very temporary.  The second you get used to one stage, they're on to the next, and you're left reeling and wondering if you got enough pictures because it went way too quickly.  But know that, for every stage you leave behind, the next one really is better.  New Mom Paige, you won't believe it, but Atticus at age 8 is as wonderful - more wonderful - than Atticus as a newborn.  Know that every single day that goes by will offer opportunities to love this baby more deeply, and know them more fully, than you did the day before.  Things are about to get so good.

7 comments :

todd said...

this is really good stuff. really. good. stuff.

The Jones Family said...

Paige - #1: You are freaking hilarious. and #2: You nailed it.

Jessica said...

Beautiful.

the jersk. said...

this is my favorite. you are my favorite. (babies are not my favorite but let's keep having them.)

ohcitycity said...

Thank you so much for this!!! And I would be psyched to see a post on what you actually need for baby because DANG if that crap isn't just overwhelming.

ohcitycity said...

Thank you so much for this!!! And I would be psyched to see a post on what you actually need for baby because DANG if that crap isn't just overwhelming.

MamaMae said...

Thank you for all of these reminders, Paige! �� Much needed!