The first 2 months of Leo’s life are almost behind us… and, with the lack of sleep and steep learning curve of parenthood, it’s been a bit of a blur – for sure. However, since my husband and I now have a better handle on things with our new addition, I thought it would be beneficial to share the things I have learned throughout these early days.
1. There is no such thing as being on time – for anything.
One of the biggest adjustments to motherhood was realizing that I can no longer simply leave the house when I want to. Getting ready now involves first making sure Leo has a diaper bag pre-packed with the essentials – (and, extras) – a full tummy, a clean diaper, has been burped or winded, and is settled into his car seat. All of the above can typically take 30 minutes to 1 hour on a really good day. So, please just expect for me to show up late to your lunch or party.
2. I no longer have two arms.
As with any other newborn, Leo loves (and, needs) to be held. …and, during a growth spurt or a fussy period, this makes getting basic things done around the house next to impossible. Thus, you must get acquainted with doing just about every simple task (and, then some) with one arm. I have put on jeans, warmed a bottle, done my makeup, and picked up items off of the floor all with one arm. On days when I absolutely need both arms, babywearing is my saving grace. This is the carrier that I’m in love with right now: https://www.amazon.com/Baby-Ktan-Original-Carrier-Black/dp/B000UYFULU
3. Make cold brew coffee your new best friend.
Newborns and sleep deprivation are a packaged deal – surprise! So, coffee or some sort of caffeinated beverage is a must. However, unless I wake up long before Leo or I become a psychic who can predict exactly when he will wake up and need me, gone are the days of sitting down to enjoy a hot cup of coffee. Therefore, save yourself the endless amount of re-heat time and get accustomed to a cup of cold brew. May I suggest this one? https://www.califiafarms.com/xx-espresso-cold-brew-coffee
4. Get an extension cord that runs from your couch to the nearest outlet.
…because, whether you are breastfeeding or infinitely rocking your child to sleep, you’re going to be spending a lot of time on the couch – and, it’s more bearable with a charged phone.
5. Google cannot raise a child.
During those early weeks, I made the mistake of doing too much research – How To Soothe A Fussy Baby, How To Properly Burp A Baby, How To Get A Baby To Sleep, etc. The truth is: babies do not come with manuals and there is no “textbook” way to be a parent. Once I ditched the research and started taking the time to get to know my son as an individual, the self-inflicted pressure of trying to do the “right” thing as a new mom completely disappeared.
6. Take time for yourself and your spouse.
When I first became a mom, I viewed wanting time to myself as a selfish act – until I realized that time to myself was crucial to maintaining my sanity. Sometimes, a bathroom break or a shower once my husband gets home from work is enough to help me regain my inner strength. Likewise, don’t forget about your spouse. Nurture your marriage first and you both will be in better positions to take care of your child.
7. Friendships may waver – it’s inevitable.
This is somewhat of a hard truth: friendships will change. It’s a lot more difficult to maintain communication with my pre-baby friends due to the simple fact that I just don’t have enough time or ability to call or text like I used to. Thus, this has – unfortunately – created some distance between a few friends. On a positive note, most are understanding to my duty of new parenthood… and, if the entire friendship falls off the track – there is always hope of re-connecting down the line when pre-baby friends become new mothers, too!
8. Secure your mom tribe.
To piggy-back off of Lesson #7, I realize the importance of securing a strong support system of moms who have already been through or are going through the newborn stage. On days when I’m so exhausted and headed straight for a meltdown, I reach out to those individuals for a vent or a word of encouragement. Sometimes, all it takes is a reassuring “it gets better” from a mom who has been through it to give me my second wind.
9. Take unsolicited advice with a grain of salt.
There isn’t much more to be said with this other than: people mean well when they offer their own parenting advice that you didn’t ask for. Smile, nod, keep it moving – and, do what works for you and your partner.
10. Being a mom is the best job I’ve ever had in my life.
Yes, there are some days where I don’t shower or I forget to eat. There are some moments when I cry along with my son or collapse into bed knowing I’ll only be asleep for an hour or two at a time. There are some days when my tired eyes look in the mirror and question if I’m even cut out for motherhood… but, being Leo’s mother is the best thing that has ever happened to me – aside from marrying my husband.
…and, I will do whatever it takes to continue to take care of my little family.