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a guest post by Shannon W.
Your new beautiful bundle of blessing is here! It’s been a wonderful stay at the hospital where you had the staff on constant call for your needs. I always had my husband or another family member there too. It’s time to go home? Do I really have to take this baby home to take care of him by myself? I remember it like yesterday….excited, nervous, and scared all at the same time. My husband drove like a grandpa all the way home as if he had a dozen eggs on the roof that he didn’t want to break. Our son was so little and fragile and we didn’t want to break him. Little did we know that he would soon become our child that didn’t sleep through the night till he was almost one and a half!!
Later on he became a super strong-willed toddler, but that story is for another day.
what I wish I’d known…
Everyone has been fussing over the baby. Hey, what about me? I just went through twelve hours of labor to bring him into this world. I still need some attention too, and didn’t like feeling as if I needed help….but I did!! Looking back, here are the things that I didn’t know I would need as a new mom.
My husband and I are both oldest children who are self-sufficient, and had careers already established when we got married. We thought we could do it on our own. Ummm….NO!!
Do not be afraid to ask someone for help. We were blessed to live within an hour of both sets of parents, so they were close if we needed them. I also had a list of friends and church family that I knew I could count on.
My village of supporters helped meet some of the needs I am going to talk about next. Also, with the birth of our daughter, our parents took turns taking care of our busy 3 year old son.
I had a C-section with her, so once again I had recovery time, and couldn’t pick him up for a few weeks. They enjoyed their time with him and it gave him some individual attention, since siblings can sometimes feel left out when the new baby arrives.
ASSISTANCE WITH DAILY CHORES
Grocery shopping with a baby was a whole new ballgame. Of course there is a diaper blowout when you have a cart full of cold and frozen items. You take your baby out of the car seat and he or she proceeds to spit up all over you.
I had always enjoyed shopping, but it became my nemesis.
As a result, we decided to make it a family night out. That was our “date night”: dinner out and a trip to the grocery store. Boring? Nope! It was absolutely wonderful to get out of the house.
My husband also earned major atta boy points when he did the dishes, put in a load of laundry, or dusted and vacuumed. That meant more to me than any gift he could have given me!
It’s always nice to have someone give you a compliment, but when you are a new mom it can be a lifeline. You look in the mirror and are discouraged that you still have the baby weight.
Is my stomach ever going to look the same? (Mine doesn’t, but I haven’t worked hard at it either). These black circles under my eyes must be so attractive and the pleasant aroma of baby spit-up is my new perfume. I know I had issues feeling “pretty” again, but my husband knew what I needed.
He would just give me little words of affirmation and it made all the difference. He told me that being a mom was my number one priority, and that he found it attractive when he observed me doing it. That meant the world to me!
self care is a must!
A hot shower
This might sound trivial, but if you have kids, you understand. Your focus for the day is surviving. Is the baby fed, changed, and safe? If the answer is yes, then you try to spend some time on yourself.
There were many days where I didn’t get a shower in at all, until my husband came home. That was the beginning of the “frumpy mom” days as I call them. Dirty hair tossed in a ponytail, pajamas all day, and not remembering if I even brushed my teeth!
My son loved to be held when he was awake, and liked to be entertained. Sometimes to get a shower I would put him in the bouncy seat or exersaucer in the bathroom. I would play peek-a-boo out the shower door, but sometimes he just cried most of the time. That’s not exactly relaxing spa time.
time for myself
It is so important to take care of yourself so that you can be at your best for your baby.
Taking a long bath, going for a walk, reading a book, crafting, and anything you enjoy doing gives you time to reenergize.
One of the favorite gifts I received was a gift card for a massage and a pedicure. Go shopping and buy yourself a new outfit or get a new hairstyle.
Call one of your friends and have a girls’ night out. Date night with your husband becomes priceless time together.
When you are home alone all day with a baby, you find yourself talking to the baby or yourself.
That’s a one way discussion, except for any smiles or coos you might get back. When my husband got home from work he knew that he needed to have his listening ears on because I was ready to let it out. Sometimes there was crying involved, but he was a real trooper.
The only local friends I had were the teachers I worked with, and they were all working still. My friends were 1-2 hours away, and cell phones and texting weren’t a common convenience then.
As a new mom in a city I was still fairly unfamiliar with, I didn’t look around for mom support groups. It did help when I joined Parents As Teachers and I always enjoyed the visits with our parent educator. I thrived on the weekends when we visited our family and friends, and my husband was very patient while waiting of me to leave.
For related reading see: 10 THINGS NOBODY TOLD ME ABOUT PREGNANCY
The article continues below…
The last thing you want to do as a new mom is drag your tired self into the kitchen and attempt to make a decent meal. I had complications with my son’s birth and it was a few weeks before I could even sit down comfortably without a pillow.
Being on my feet just aggravated my issues, so being in the kitchen was sometimes a challenge. It was then that I learned about this lovely thing called FREEZER MEALS!!
My mom friends at church organized a food donation for us. They showed up with a cooler full of pre-cooked and frozen food! It was yummy stuff too – meatballs, lasagna, chicken and noodles, and the like.
They even sent simple side dishes that I could whip together – salad, instant potatoes, canned veggies, and such. And since they knew I had a huge sweet tooth, they also sent desserts. It was a big comfort to have dinner ready with minimal effort.
I have always been a night owl and sometimes only got 6 hours a night…..which I saw as not enough before becoming a mom.
Six hours of sleep? When will that happen again? I feel as if I spent the first few months as a zombie mom.
My son was a frequent night-waker and constantly hungry. Due to health issues I was unable to breastfeed, so it did help that my husband could take a feeding in the middle of the night if he hadn’t been called into work. I had been a kindergarten teacher and now I am staying home full-time.
There were days I was so tired I just cried for no reason. Although I am sure hormones played a huge role in that! Within the first month, each of our moms came to stay for a night.
They took the pack and play into the spare bedroom with them and took care of our sweet boy all night long. Those were two of the best nights of sleep we have ever had. Some of the best advice I received was sleep when the baby is sleeping!!!
Becoming a mom…
…is the greatest blessing I have received. It brings me joy on a daily basis, but even now that they are older, I still need some of the things on this list. Over time you learn to balance being a wife, a mom, and a woman. Enjoy your time with your baby, as they grow up too quickly, but make sure to take care of yourself along the way.
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Tell us in the comments sections below…what was the biggest thing you needed as a new mom?