Dear New Mama,
Congratulations! You just had a baby. Now fasten your seatbelt. That tiny little bundle of lungs and poop is about to rock your world.
I don’t know everything there is to know about mothering, and just as soon as I eliminate some options and figure out the correct answer to whatever seems to be the problem of the moment, the answers change.
Parenting is the world’s most complicated multiple choice test.
But I’ve picked up a thing or two since Joshua was born and since they might be helpful to someone, somewhere, here goes.
Let people help you.
No matter how your baby entered this world, your body has just done what seems impossible. It grew a small human and then delivered it into the world. Your job for now, for the next however long, is to take care of yourself and your baby. And that’s it.
If someone is coming over and you need milk and bread from the store, ask them to swing by on their way. If someone calls up to see about stopping by and you need the laundry flipped from washer to dryer, ask them to do it. Now is not the time to worry about whether or not they’ll see your knickers.
Or, if you need to feel more like you, let them hold the baby while you flip the laundry. Or take a shower. Or a nap.
But don’t let the tendency that many of us have to feel compelled to do everything lest the world fall in around us swallow you up. It’s okay to delegate. It’s okay to let some things go.
You don’t have to love every minute of motherhood.
It’s okay to hate the days where it feels like all you’ve done is feed or change or burp or bounce or walk or rock this baby while your hair (and probably body) have gone unwashed since you can’t even remember and you smell faintly of spit-up but you can’t exactly find out the origin point of the smell.
No one loves that. It’s okay not to love that.
You will second-guess yourself.
Don’t second guess yourself.
Listen to your Mama Heart. Trust it. Trust yourself.
You can do this.
Be kind to yourself.
The road to figuring one another out isn’t always an easy one, but remember that it’s a journey you’re on together. There will be bad days. For both of you.
As Emerson said, “Tomorrow is a new day. Begin it well and serenely.” Let go of whatever you perceive to have been mistakes and start over. Find your reset button and don’t be afraid to push it.
Change is inevitable.
Babies change. Quickly. While you are staring at them even. One minute they are just looking at you and then you blink and when you open your eyes, they’re smiling. Then laughing. Then they’re running and soon after that having real conversations with you about clouds or trees or Angry Birds.
Your heart will ache for time to slow down while it simultaneously bursts with excitement over all that is new. Get ready for your heart to feel a million things at once for the rest of your life.
There will be less.
Less sleep. Less time. And maybe a little less sanity.
Sleep when you can. If that means you’re up all night because your baby is up all night and then you’re sleeping all day because your baby is sleeping all day, well, in the early days that’s just what you do.
If it means snuggling into a comfy place and sleeping with a baby on your chest, do it. You can fix “bad” habits later. And remember that if it works for you, it’s not a bad habit, no matter what your mother, or neighbor, or random grocery checkout person says.
Right now you need rest. Get it however and whenever you can.
You might never be on time again. That’s just kind of a thing that babies do to us even when they’re too small to DO much of anything.
Not sleeping or being on time will not last forever. I think.
There will be more.
The amount of laundry created by something so small is truly amazing. Prepare to do more laundry. There will be more trash. More dishes. More more more.
But there will also be more love.
Already there is probably more love in your heart than you ever dreamed possible. (But if it’s not there yet, that’s okay. It will come.)
You will experience more joy and wonder than you could ever imagine as you watch this tiny human learn and grow.
You’ve done it, Mama. Now go snuggle that baby and enjoy it.
Congratulations Jackie and Daniel on the birth of baby Charlie.
He’s more beautiful than words and so lucky to have the two of you as his parents.
All my love to your little family of three. And Poco and Howell, too.