12 honest tips for the first year
- Don't be surprised if it feels like you're now living with a stranger. Yes you carried this little nugget for quite some time, but now that they are on the outside it can feel a little strange. For the first few days, it felt surreal calling this unknown human Georgia, a name that I had chosen, so I referred to her as 'the baby'. It takes time to get to know each other, and that's ok.
- If you want them to take a soother and/or a bottle, give them the soother and/or bottle stat. Don’t wait. I waited 6 weeks. Why? I’m not exactly sure, but we spent the next 6 months trying to get her to take either, and she never did. Queue the tears (my tears).
- Do what’s best for you and your baby, period. Visits can wait. If you and the baby had a shitty night, postpone that visit until you’re up for it. Especially in the beginning, people can be pushy. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t want to hang out when your nipples are sore and you just want to sit around topless. Or you’re so tired that actual tumble weeds are rolling through your head and you just want to sit on your couch and watch Below Deck. The beauty of having a baby is that you can now blame everything on them.
- In the first few months aim for one of these goals each day: eat one healthy thing, shower and get out of the house. If you succeed in achieving two of these goals in a day, well hell, you deserve a glass of wine!
- Accept help from your mother-in-law. There seems to be this recurring theme experienced by almost all of my friends-this reluctance to except help from their MIL. The reasons why are slightly varied or a combination of a few reasons. Take them up on their offer to help, to bring you food, to take care of baby, to do your dishes. We seem to be more than happy to do this with our own moms.
- Zippered sleepers. Put those bad boys on your registry, and make sure those are all you buy. Unless you enjoy snapping buttons for a living. My husband suggested we throw out all buttoned sleepers. I shut that down, but it also made me put down any non-zip sleepers in the store.
- Never do something during their nap you can do when they are awake. This time is liquid gold. Savor it. Do a little workout. Nap. Maybe sit there and do nothing. Scroll mindlessly through Instagram. Just don’t be swiffering. Or putting away their toys. That shit can wait. Unless you’re holding a glass of wine while swiffering.
- That snotsucker device is a form of torture. The first few times she had a runny nose, I obsessively sucked the snot out. All it did was terrify her-she’s just fine with a leaky faucet nose.
- Schedule in weekly you time. And no, getting groceries or walking your dog doesn’t count. Have your partner or a family member agree to be with the baby, and get the f%#k out of dodge. Go get a pedicure (that’s what I am currently doing!), go have a drink with a friend, go to a yoga class, do something that is 100% about you. We put our needs last most of the time, and its time you prioritize yourself.
- Splurge on that one thing that makes you feel good about yourself. Being a mom is so taxing on you. I don’t know about you gals, but I look in the mirror sometimes and I swear I’ve aged about 40 years in the last year. So get those false lashes if they make you feel good. Get that pricey haircut from the one stylist you trust. Buy that necklace you’ve been eyeing. Get that incredible facial. Splurge on another pair of black leggings. Sell a few things on the Facebook marketplace, and your partner doesn’t even need to know! When you live in leggings, haven’t showered in a few days and your bags have bags, indulge in that one thing that brings you a little joy and don’t feel bad about it.
- Don’t let your baby’s sleep or lack of sleep become an obsession. Yes, you want to track their naps and sleep-roughly. This will help you understand their patterns, which change constantly and why they seem so fussy, even though they are fed, changed and getting your full attention. Oh right, they’re tired. But if you find yourself getting your post partum panties in a twist because their nap was 30 minutes and not 50 minutes, you need to let that shit go. They are not robots; try to see it as fun game of Russian roulette. Who the f*ck knows, will they be up the second I sit down, or are they going to shock me with a 3 hour siesta?
- Lower your damn expectations of yourself. A clean house doesn’t matter. The crumbs on the carpet will be there tomorrow, so they can wait. What matters is that you feed and love your baby. What matters is that you take care of your mental health and well being. That’s it. This year will go by in a blur of exhaustion, frustration and joy beyond what you knew was possible for any human to endure, so know you’ll get by just fine.
Please keep in mind that this is the shared input of small group of mamas-take what you want and leave the rest if it doesn’t suit you.