How I Survived the First Year of Motherhood…
Let me begin by saying I’m one of those people who plans everything. I always make lists, then make list that refer back to those lists and so on… I have a place for everything and everything in its place. I planned, prepped and nested for nine months, but nothing can truly prepare you for the first year of motherhood.
It’s hard, I’m not going to lie or sugarcoat it for you. And I must say whoever thought up the saying “Sleeping like a baby” obviously didn’t have kids… My daughter was born 10 days early, of course I had everything prepared, and I had my birth plan in hand and ready to get this kid out of me. But no list prepares you for the emotional toll parenthood takes on your mind and body. Below are my five key tips to surviving the first year of motherhood.
- Take it one day at a time. This might sound simple, but for a person like me who is use to planning things weeks and even months in advanced it was hard to not have a set out plan, not only for baby, but for myself. It can be overwhelming being a new mom so take things in baby steps. ( no pun intended) Don’t bog yourself down with worry about the doctor’s appointment you have in a month or the party you have to attend in a week. Just get through today, tomorrow will take care of itself. You have to also realize that your baby is going to run the show for the first year, (sometimes even longer!) It’s all about baby and when they need to eat or when they need to sleep.
- Cherish your time with baby. Cherish and make memories with your little one. Before you know it your child will be one then two and pretty soon asking you for the car keys and heading off to college. Life goes by too fast. This year will be over before you know it, your little one will not want to be held in your arms anymore, take pleasure in their innocence natures and the sweet the little baby “first” they have that will only happen once in their beautiful lives.
- Don’t Sweat the small stuff. If the dishes don’t get done, the laundry is piling up and dust bunnies have started a small colony under your bed I advise you not to worry about it. This year is about you finding your motherhood groove. The dishes will get done eventually. (I must admit that I use paper plates on very hectic days…) If the house isn’t as clean as it used to be, just relax. Your priorities are keeping you and baby happy. Try not to get worked up about the small things in life. Concentrate on enjoying motherhood and let’s face it, it is hard finding time to shower, let alone wash the dishes, unless you take them into the shower with you.
- Don’t compare yourself. Be it to your own mother, your mother-in-law or other mothers you know. You are unique and different and you are going to handle situations differently then others would. If you try to compare yourself to others it will only drive you crazy and stress you out. Also, don’t let your own mom, or MIL boss you around or tell you how to raise your own child. Listen to their advice, take it in and make your own decisions. You and your spouse are your child’s first advocates to what is best for them, and are the main decision makers in how your child’s reared. Just remember that every mother is different, unique and will raise their children differently, there is no line in the sand, no book on perfect motherhood, and everyone will do it differently.
- Take time out for yourself and also time out with your spouse. Your first year of motherhood is going to be quite busy, but you need to take time for yourself every once in awhile. Maybe it’s a girl’s night out while hubby watches baby, maybe it’s a spa day where you get to feel pampered. No matter what you choose as ME time enjoy it thoroughly and do not feel guilty. You need to recharge your batteries too, and in doing so it will make you a better mother. Also remember to take time to re-connect with your spouse. Being on 24/7 mommy duty take a lot out on you, but it also can put a strain or your relationship. Remember your partner is not only your main support system, but they are your co-parent in this baby’s life. Make time to be alone with your spouse, be it a date night or a quiet evening watching TV while baby sleeps. Also re-introducing sex into your relationship might be the last thing on a new mom’s mind amid all the dirty diapers and feeding but, in time, rediscovering intimacies with your partner and figuring out intimate time for just the two is a key to resuscitating your sex life, and romantic partnership.
Remember, motherhood, and parenting in general, is definitely the hardest job you will ever undertake. Take it from me; it has no time off, no pay raises, no sick days, no excuses. I have survived the first 365 days, now I only have a lifetime left to go.