A couple friends of mine are now pregnant, and we’ve been corresponding about what the first year is like, and what to expect. I’ve shared my thoughts with them, some of it practical ‘mommyhacker’ type advice, but a lot of it more personal. I thought this blog would be a good venue to compile my list! Here are my 9 pieces of advice for mommies-to-be.
1. Don’t go crazy with designing a nursery. Because honestly you don’t need much. A warm place for your baby to sleep, a place to change diapers, a place for storage. Elaborate nursery designs are fun, but totally optional.
2. Don’t prioritize buying baby clothes. Because your family and friends will do it for you! Before Noah even arrived he had a full 0 to 6 month wardrobe, thanks to my in-laws and friends. We didn’t actually have to start buying clothes for him till he was about 8 months old.
3. Sleep deprivation and extreme tiredness are normal, especially if you are breastfeeding. It’s unpleasant, but we all go through it. It’s just the way it is. Your baby will need you every two to four hours for the first few months of his or her life. Soldier through, it will get better!
4. Things will become normal again. When your baby first arrives, he or she will throw everything off balance and you won’t be able to imagine what a ‘normal’ life is. But humans are incredibly adaptable, and you will develop a ‘new normal’ eventually.
5. Accept help from your elders. Assuming you have positive and healthy relationships with them, your parents and in-laws will be an invaluable resource throughout this journey. You will not agree with them on everything, but consider that they’ve seen a lot and have decades of parenting experience under their belts. Make use of that knowledge and counsel! Even if it’s just to hear them say, “Don’t worry. Your baby will be fine.”
6. Be present with your child. I once asked my mother-in-law, “What am I supposed to do with Noah until he’s old enough for Pre-K?”
“Enjoy him!”, she responded. It can be difficult to be present with your child when you’re thinking about work, the to-do list or the bills, but it is important for them — and for you! It’s an opportunity for you to learn who they are and see the world through their eyes.
7. Expect and demand support from your partner. Don’t allow everything to fall on you. Don’t tolerate being taken for granted. If your partner lives with you, make clear to him that he has to pull his weight, whether it’s doctor’s appointments, preparing meals or waking up with the baby at night. The first year is a tough one and you need ALL hands on deck! Don’t buy into the idea that it’s okay for you to feel constantly burnt out and overworked, especially if your partner has the time to spare!
8. Don’t compare your child to other children, or your experience to other mothers’ experiences. The internet can be an awesome thing for moms, but it can become ugly if you start comparing yourself to your virtual peers. Protect your mind, protect your heart and protect your child at all costs! Celebrate who your child is, and be actively grateful for the life you have with him or her. Unplug from the internet once in a while, and immerse yourself in your unique parenting experience.
Ladies, what advice would you add for a mommy to be?