Welcome to Monday Musings by Caitlin Domanico!
New Baby Survival : Nine Suggestions for Letting Go While Savoring Every Second
Being a parent is not for the faint of heart. It is the best of times and it is the worst of times. It makes you feel like the greatest person on Earth and then ten minutes later the mommy guilt can be smothering.
If you are a new mom, read on. If you have survived the newborn days, read on, and maybe forward to a friend who needs to read these words.
Maybe you’re like me- maybe you had one kid, survived that and a few years later decided to have another one, feeling totally confident only to be rocked when surprisingly your second is nothing like your first!
1. You are never ever alone. Even if you’re the first of your friends to have a baby or you don’t have your mom around, you are now a member of a club that dates back to the beginning of time. I repeat, even when you feel utterly alone and unsure, you are not alone. Call a friend, go on-line, join a parenting group in your community.
2. You are supposed to be tired. But that doesn’t make it easy! Most of us have never experienced a tired like this before- one where you are on 24-hours-per-day, for days, weeks, months on end. Even when your little one is sleeping, you are never fully “off-duty”. It gets better!! Try to take things minute-by-minute when you’re exhausted.
3. The house, dinner, laundry, it will all get done eventually. Crock-pots are life-savers, and if you didn’t get to that and don’t have anything to throw together (or time, or energy), call for take out or make PBJ sandwiches! Nobody ever died from eating pizza instead of a home-cooked meal. 🙂 Don’t worry about cleaning the whole house- wipe down the toilets/sinks when you’re in there, wipe down the kitchen when you are waiting for your coffee. If you don’t get to it for a few days, who cares- you’ll get to it (or even better, ask for help). Which brings me to my next point-
4. Ask for help. I am the type that hates asking for help. I am just not comfortable with it. But sometimes, for the sake of sanity, it is imperative to set our pride aside to ask for help. Ask when you feel overwhelmed, ask before you feel overwhelmed. Ask again, the worst that can happen is someone says no.
5. Breastfeeding is hard. Maybe it will come naturally for you, I hope it does. But if it doesn’t, that is okay, too. You can read all the books, surround yourself with friends who breastfeed, and use lactation consultants for help. Maybe you won’t need help, but if you do, it’s out there. Breastfeeding is rewarding and wonderful and peaceful, but at times it can be painful, exhausting, stressful, and seemingly never-ending. In those times, it helps to remember that nothing lasts forever- the pain will be gone soon, feedings will stretch out, and these sleepless nights will be a distant memory. Hang in there, it gets so much better- maybe not by week two, but definitely by month two!
6. You are allowed to be obsessed with your baby. You grew that child, birthed that child, and now you are in charge of that child’s physical and emotional well-being—say what? You are pouring your heart-and-soul into that child so dang it, if you want to post a few too many pictures to facebook, and you go girl! You are allowed!
7. People love to give advice. Whether you ask for it or not, people love to give advice. Some of it will be what you want to hear, some of it will make you crazy, and some of it will make you second-guess yourself. Remember that most people mean well. Digest the information and file it away in case you need it. You will figure out what works best for your family.
8. Be kind to yourself, and remember to be kind to your partner. You’re exhausted. You’re hormones are raging. You’re body is trying to recover from something amazing and taxing. Be kind to yourself. Do not even think about your old jeans. Be kind to your husband/boyfriend/partner, too, they are learning and adjusting with you. They are probably exhausted, too. One day soon you will be adjusted to your new normal together, but until then, laugh and be loving whenever you can. It helps to have someone on your team…bonus if you can share a cup of coffee (de-caf, half-caf, full-caf…a cup won’t hurt and having that warm mug in your hand will be so delightful!) or a beer together.
9. Babies don’t keep. This my friends is all-too-true. This sobering fact can feel heart-wrenching at times. Nuzzle your baby. Drink in their sweet smell. Hold her tiny hand. Kiss his tiny feet. Rub that bald head as much as you can. Take tons of pictures. Write down their milestones. Enjoy the ride because it does go quickly and before you know it you have a four-year-old in front of you who is learning to read and truly seems more like your best friend than a preschooler some days! Every stage is better than the last, but you will always long for the days where your sweet baby would snuggle into your neck, heave a tiny sigh, and fall asleep safe and warm in your arms without a care in the world. Save the snuggles, you have earned it!!!!!
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