I know that you can’t wait for your little angel to be sweetly tucked in your arms. Because it’s your first you’re journaling about every twitch and plastering pics of your baby bump all over Facebook. But mothering a newborn isn’t all goo-goos and bonding, with unicorns gliding over the crib. It’s a huge life adjustment.
You shouldn’t feel guilty for not glowing about your baby when you’ve had roughly 45 minutes of sleep in the last week. Nor should you feel bad about wanting to escape the house that is now home to the world’s worst roommate. You’re not alone and there’s light at the end of the newborn tunnel. Here’s what my life with a newborn was like, with a few tips to help you through your own motherhood rite of passage.
1. I didn’t instantly fall in love with my baby.
I’m not the type to fall head over heels at first glance. It took time for us to get to know each other and now I think she’s the most wonderful thing ever. But don’t feel bad if you don’t fall in love from day one.
2. The first six weeks are anything but wonderful.
No sleep, bleeding and cracked nipples, constant state of anxiety, and a blur of wondering why it is that taking a shower and getting ready can take the entire day to accomplish. People who say this is “the best time” are complete liars or morons. That’s like saying high school is the best time of your life. Yeah right! If that were true, there wouldn’t be much to look forward to.
3. I didn’t feel like a mom until eight weeks into it…
…when I knew exactly what to do to calm Sophia when no one else could figure it out. And, when she started preferring me to others. And giving me lots of smiles. And, when I could laugh when she was crying rather than wanting to cry myself.
4. Poopsplosions happen.
Frequently. So does crying.
5. Napping, oh sweet napping.
There will come a day when regular, lengthy naps will happen. You’ll shout “hallelujah!” and actually get laundry folded and put away.
6. Let others cuddle your baby.
My children have been surrounded by a big Italian family from day one and have no problem being held by others. Thank goodness! We were actually able to go on a date night when my first was eight weeks old while her grandparents watched her.
7. Exert your authority as mother of your child.
You know your baby best and that may mean going against the advice and/or desires of your extended family. Using the doctor excuse is best – as in “Thanks for that advice. I’ll check that out with my doctor,” or “The doctor said we need to be doing this, that and the other.” Well-intentioned, backseat parents don’t argue with “the doctor.”
8. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Just when you think that your baby is starting to get into a routine, they pull a fast one on you. For a planner like me, being flexible and going with the flow has been a tough transition.
9. Don’t let your baby know your plans.
If you do plan something for which you need your child to cooperate (e.g. taking a nap so you can get something done, quietly playing by himself, etc.), whatever you do don’t let your baby overhear your plans. They will spoil it by pulling rank and reminding you who always comes first.
10. Prepare for life with baby.
Here’s a prep list that will make your life easier once baby arrives.