The baby is here. You will now be bombarded with a million variations of, “How is the baby?” Let me ask you though, how are you? Sometimes, it’s easy to put your health and well being on the back burner to attend to the constant needs of your new arrival, but it can backfire in the long run.
Make sure that you take care of yourself as well – physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you’re feeling unwell, please seek medical help. Postpartum depression is real and it is sneaky and it is heavy. Make your health a priority. It takes a happy, healthy parent to raise a happy, healthy child.
You’re having a horrible day. You’re crying, the baby is crying, the dog needs to go out, the house is a mess… you feel like an absolute failure. Now what? Take a deep breath and remember – we all have bad days. Every single one of us has hidden in the bathroom and had a good breakdown. No one is perfect. We are all trying to find our way through the maze of parenthood.
If you’re unsure you’re doing a good job and constantly questioning yourself, that means you’re an amazing parent. Offer yourself some grace, patience, and a whole heaping plate of forgiveness. Everything is OK. You’ve got this. You are enough. Tomorrow is another day.
New baby, new stuff! Amiright?! I can tell you I, as well as tens of thousands of other first time parents, fell into this trap of a money pit, too. There are so many things your baby will need in her first year of life that you are never going to use again unless you have other children. Some of these items include – but are not limited to – clothes, toys, furniture, bouncers, high chairs, pack-n-plays… see where I’m going with this?
You’ll eventually realize much of the stuff you have accumulated will sit in a corner, collecting dust, unused. You can find almost all of the baby gear you need second hand through generous friends, online baby swaps, and consignment stores. Save the difference for a fun vacation, date nights (see number 8 on this list), or some much needed mommy/daddy fun money. You can thank me later.
Being a first time parent can be overwhelming. Figuring out the needs of a tiny human who can only communicate through crying is challenging enough. What about what you need from others? Sometimes you don’t even know, but it is crucial to speak up. If you need a timeout, take one. If I or my husband need a breather, all we have to say is, “We need milk.” It’s a no-questions-asked code for “I need some alone time out of the house.”
If you need visitors to leave so you and the baby can rest, tell them. If you don’t want any visitors at all, say that, too! If you have certain expectations of your spouse so that you can focus more on the baby, let them know. It is important to keep the lines of communication open so that everyone involved can understand your needs and expectations while you’re trying to navigate these uncharted waters of parenthood.
You just overheard Johnny’s mother brag that Little Johnny has learned to roll over! “He’s so precocious!” Silently, you panic because your little bundle is the same age and hasn’t even thought of rolling over. Stop yourself. Every single child develops at a different pace. Comparing milestones will only cause you stress and anxiety. Instead of blaming yourself for what your child isn’t doing, rejoice in what they are doing and what makes them unique.
If you’re concerned that your child is having delays in specific areas, it’s always a good idea to speak to their pediatrician. But remember, milestones are a guideline for your child’s development. They are not absolute.