I found this blog in my drafts. I had written it back in December 2013 when Jordan was only 7 months old. I don’t know why I never published it. I still think these tips are great ones. Enjoy the little throwback!!
My son came into the world a month early and surprised us all. At only 3 pounds 2 ounces, he was a little spitfire. Lucky for us, he was completely healthy. Just small. He spent 20 days in the NICU. That, can I just say, ended up being an amazing experience. The nurses were fantastic and taught me so much. I was lost, but they patiently showed me what to do and how to do it. I had never been around children much. The first time I changed a diaper ever in my life, it was through two arm holes in an incubator. So when I give you these tips and trick, please don’t think I am some sort of expert.
Here are just a few tips and tricks that I have learned along my short journey as a mom. I’m sure those of you reading this who have been parenting more than half of your life may have things to add. This is my advice to other first-time, new moms on how to stay sane.
1. When you hear the baby start to fuss, get up immediately.
We have been blessed with a baby who sleeps amazingly. When we first brought him home, we had to wake him up every 3 hours to feed him because he was so small still. He didn’t wake us up. We had to wake him up. We finally got the ok to let him sleep when he was around 4 months. From that point on, he would sleep from about 9:00pm until about 7:00am and only wake up once through the night. He started sleeping through the night around 6 months old. The last month has been glorious.
As soon as I hear him start to rustle in the morning, I get out of bed. Now, he is a baby who will fuss a little and then fall back to sleep again and again and again. The waking up process for him is usually around 30 minutes. On lucky days it’s longer. If you are a brand spanking new mom, you may have not figured out the difference between your baby’s cries. Don’t worry. You will soon. I know if he needs something and will go in to his room right away. But for the most part, I get up, drink my coffee, make some breakfast for myself, watch my soap opera (don’t judge!) or write a blog. Or all of them, like I did this morning. He is in there “talking” to himself right now. It’s actually kind of cute to hear. It makes me smile. I might even get my contacts in and brush my teeth if it is a good day. Take that little bit of time for yourself. Sometimes, you will need that little extra sleep. I get that. Just be sure to take a few minutes to yourself to breathe every morning. You’ll be a better mom for it.
2. Keep the house quiet when the baby is napping.
You may think I have it good because he sleeps so well at night. That is not the case during the day. This child barely naps. I am not kidding when I say there are days that he will only take one 30 minute nap ALL DAY LONG. Even when he naps more, they are rarely longer than 30 minutes. That is probably why he sleeps so well at night. Poor kid is exhausted. And there is absolutely no schedule to it at all. That makes it really hard to get things done throughout the day. He isn’t quite independent yet. Since he rarely sleeps during the day, I take full advantage of the times when he does. It is my quiet time. I may do some work, get in my workout, shower (as you know, showering is a privilege with a new baby), or on a slow day, nap.
Everyone says “You should sleep when the baby is sleeping.” True. You should. Let’s just be honest – sometimes you have other things you need to do during that time. When I say you should keep the house quiet, I mean, quiet for you. You have probably already learned that your quiet time doesn’t necessarily mean that it is literally quiet. It is alone time. Time for you to get the things done that you used to get done without interruption. I know it is really tempting, but do not sit there and watch your baby sleep. I will admit there are times when I will just sit and hold him while he sleeps. Believe me, I regret that I didn’t get more done during that time when I can’t spend time with him while he is awake. Sometimes that is just the type of quiet you need though, so I get it. Baby cuddles are the best. So are hugs, kisses, giggles and smiles. Those all happen when he is awake, so take advantage of when he is sleeping.
3. Everything you do should be for the baby.
From the moment you bring your bundle of joy into the world, you life is completely changed. You now have a little person depending on you. You should think of your child when making every single decision. There are decisions like when to start saving for college and whether or not you should buy that leather jacket. One easy decision should be to take care of yourself. Now is the time to start eating right and exercising. If for no other reason, you should want to do this for your child. Can you imagine abandoning your child? Of course not! Eating right and frequent exercise is going to extend your life. You want to be around to annoy and embarrass your child as long as humanly possible. I’m not asking for perfection here. You don’t have to be a fitness model. You just have to be consistent. Plus, your actions will rub off on your child as he is growing up. If you eat healthy, he will learn those habits and eat healthy too. If you exercise, he is going to want to exercise with you. They mimic our every move as they grow up. Start teaching him healthy habits while he is young and he can annoy and embarrass his children for a long, long time too. Ultimately, what you do for you now will be for him later.
4. Always smile.
You are lead to believe that being a mom makes you constantly happy and cheerful. It is a lie. You have so many hormones still running through your body, it is almost impossible to be happy all of the time. Your child is the best thing in your life, without a doubt. Please don’t mistake what I am saying. My son is absolutely the best thing I ever did. He is the love of my life. Still, there were most certainly times when I would just sit and cry for no apparent reason. When asked what was wrong, I had no clue. I just needed to cry.
Being a new mom brings on so many emotions – happiness, fear, sadness, excitement, frustration. You are happy with your new baby, but scared you will do something wrong. There are times when I mourn my pre-mom life. You will relish the all of the “firsts” and share a million pictures on Facebook and Instagram. There will also be more frustrating times that you care to admit. When he cries even after he’s just taken a nap, been fed, burped and changed, you feel like a failure. There are times when he is throwing a fit and won’t stop screaming that I just scream back. He laughs. He thinks it’s funny. Or those times when he poops up his back. I am not kidding when I say it almost came out the neck of his onesie once. There was nothing I could do but laugh. The point is that you shouldn’t be afraid to cry, scream or just laugh at the situation. It will probably help you deal just a little better. And you will most certainly laugh when commiserating with other parents later. Remember, unless there is blood or bone showing, it’s not that big of a deal.