1.Ponytails are hot.
Granted, there may be days ahead that you want a more stylish updo or hair style, but quick and easy ponytails can be attractive too. You can add extra detail to an otherwise plain ponytail with a small front section braided and pulled into the tail or you can wrap the band with your own hair and secure with bobby pins. In the end, nothing trumps having your hair pulled back and out of your way as your hands are busy with your new baby, chores or life in general. And yes, a simple ponytail is a hairstyle.
2. Body shape isn’t everything.
Some may say that your body will never be the same and they are more than likely right. Your hips may never be as small as they were before childbirth and your chest size may never be as it was before either. Some ladies struggle with a little extra weight in the middle, complete with stretchmarks. Is your body ruined? Absolutely not. You have just completed the most amazing and miraculous journey. You were given a gift and blessed with the capability to nurture and birth a healthy, beautiful little one into this world. So will your body shape never be exactly the same—in spite of diet and exercise? Possibly not. However, as you catch that first glimpse of your new babe, you will realize without a doubt that body shape isn’t everything and that, sure, a size 4 is definitely a thing of the past. Your body may never be the same and you are okay with this fact. Because you will never be the same. You’re a mom.
3. Nursing is the norm now.
When I had my first baby nearly eleven years ago, nursing was just beginning to really be encouraged again to expectant moms. Since then, I have seen an even stronger push to help mothers realize the countless benefits for both mother and baby. I, for one, am very grateful for the support and information that is available today. With my last two babies, I struggled with low milk supply (and had to offer formula supplement to one of them). Thankfully my birthing center is very, VERY helpful (they have a 100% success rate) and I was able to exclusively nurse my last one. My advice to you would be this: read up on how be proactive with building your milk supply before delivery, seek help from a lactation consultant after birth if needed (they are awesome), and don’t give up too early.
*While I’m rather passionate about nursing, I do know that some struggle and for reasons unknown are unable to nurse. I was somewhat in your boat with my fourth and cried many tears over not being “enough” for him. In the end, nourishing your baby (however that may be) is your ultimate goal.
4. Nights don’t last forever.
There may be days ahead when you will think back and call me a liar. I assure, I am not. And just as certainly, nights don’t really last forever. Whether you are ready for it or not, morning will come. The sun will rise and other people will begin stirring. Trust me on this. What should you do to bypass or shorten this phase? Encouraging a good schedule from day one is important in avoiding a season of nocturnal parenting. Hang in there.
5. Rock the mini-van.
I have to be honest here. I could not wait to be a mini-van mom. Seriously. I thought that they were adorable and such a sweet a reminder of this new journey that Hubs and I were embarking on, parenting. We have had a number of mini-vans over the years due to different issues. I was completely smitten with our Ford Windstar with one sliding door on the passenger side. What ease. Then we upgraded to a newer Ford Windstar with two sliding doors. Wow, now I felt spoiled. Then last year, our van was utterly demolished from a deer deciding to jump the entire road (both lanes) and falling short. On our hood. At that point, we embraced a whole new breed, a Honda Oddessey eight-seater, with automatic sliding doors. I am on cloud nine with just a push of a button. So spread the word: mini-vans are the cool cars.
6. Everyone forgets diapers occasionally.
Don’t hyperventilate. We’ve all been there. When your frantic search in the nursery or in your diaper bag still comes up empty, do what you have to. I’ve squeezed my babies in diapers a couple sizes too small or wrapped them snugly in ones too large. Whatever helps you get by until someone can get to the store or the cloth ones can fully dry, roll with it. If you can, ask to borrow one from a friend if you are out and about. Just don’t sweat it. Life goes on.
7. Paper plates are cool.
Every new mom needs to have a helping hand. For me, a “mother’s helper” takes on a whole new light. After a decade of being in the ministry, most of which has been away from either side of our family, I have learned to cope without a support system in tact. I’ve learned to cut corners. Anything that I can do to simplify the adjustment period of a new addition to the family, I will do it. One area in which I try to prepare is to stockpile paper plates. They will be your new BFF. Your husband will sing your praises and you will be able to slumber sweetly knowing that your kitchen is not overflowing with dirty dishes. Paper plates are the bomb. Get some.
8. Master the art of multi-tasking.
A baby is a time hog, especially during those early weeks. However, you can accomplish more than you think possible if you learn to multi-task. Try to get the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer going at the same time. You will feel like a million bucks. Sheesh. This is the twenty-first century. Go ahead and whip out the vacuum cleaner, crockpot and breadmachine. You can have the dishes washed, laundry done, floors cleaned and dinner with fresh bread accomplished all from a few moments of work between feedings. Caroline Ingalls never had it so good, huh?
9. Nap like a pro.
This is one area that I have to work at constantly. Unlike some women, I struggle to fall asleep during the day. I’m always listening for the baby’s breathing, checking the blankets and basically fussing like a mother hen. So I am preaching to myself here. Rest is important. Your milk supply, your healing, your hormonal and emotional state all hinge on your physical well being. Don’t try to be supermom. Rest when you can, accept help when it is offered and take good care of yourself. Those early days of infancy and motherhood are fleeting and precious days…ones that you’d like to be able to recall in the years to come. Sleep, mama. You need it.
10. Kiss your man.
Two has become three before you could even blink. While your world may have transformed into a fog land of feedings, spit up and constant diapers, don’t forget your husband. Remember the days when the image of him warmed your thoughts constantly and his arrival home was the highlight of your day. Make an effort to lay the baby down in the evenings and have time together. You need it just as much as he does. Having a baby changes things, but your love should not. Don’t forget your love for him in the midst of motherhood. The very presence of that tiny wiggling new person represents your love for one another, a love that should merely deepen as you become parents. You see, love doesn’t diminish when you become parents—it multiplies.
Now go lay one on him.
Enjoy this season, new mama. It is truly precious.