Being A Twenty Something Mother, Thoughts, Advice And Experiences
My daughter was born when I was twenty and my son when i was twenty-one. This made for many exhausting days and sleepless nights, but it was one of the best times of my life!
My husband worked long hours, six days a week, and both my mother and his mother worked full time and didn't seem to be interested in helping - at all. So, I was pretty much on my own with the babies.
If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't worry so much about the appearance of my house! I spent way too much time trying to make it look like a home where there were not kids. I was constantly picking up toys and keeping all the 'baby stuff' out of the livingroom. Now i realize this is a very short period of time and having babies and toddlers should be fully enjoyed and celebrated. Way too soon they'll be in school and you'll miss the 'baby mess' and it will be gone forever.
This is just a personal opinion, but i never left the kids with anyone other than family (which wasn't easy). No matter how nice the people next door are or how mature that teen down the street is, you don't know them well enough to entrust them with your prescious child. It may be tough, but think about it before you choose a babysitter. A few times we did hire a young girl to watch the kids, but they were ages three and four and we didn't leave until bed time.
Save a lot of money by investing in a hand blender (I love Cuisinart) and make your own babyfood. Steam or bake veggies for you and simply blend them into a puree for your baby. Green beans, peas, carotts, potatoes, yams and squash are all excellent choices. Cook some chicken or turkey puree' that and mix it into the veg puree. Cooked apples and pears are excellent, or bananas. Oatmeal, brown rice and other grains and cereals are very easy to make and excellent healthy choices. I used to cook squash or carotts and freeze the puree in ice cube trays. This way I had a veg handy on those super busy days.
Find a play group or oganize one yourself so your kids will have playmates and you'll have some emotional support and someone who 'is there' to share your ideas and concerns with.
if you're a lucky, modern mom your husband or partner share in the care and feeding of your child. Let them do it their way. None of us changes, feeds or bathes a baby in excatly the same way and demanding that things be done 'your way' will cause stress between you and you may lose any help you have. As long as they're operating in a safe manner, don't sweat the small stuff! Just make sure they agree to clean up the strained beets after they play 'airplane' with them.
Try to keep life simple so you'll be less stressed. I know this sounds impossible, but make the baby your main focus for at least the first year or two. This is not a good time to remodel or redecorate your home or work on your master's thesis. You do need time for 'you', but make it small projects or hobbies that can easily be put down or put away quickly. Knitting, crocheting, embroidery, writing, sudoku, crosswords sound mundane, but the are relaxing and give you something do you that you enjoy.
Keep a journal. No need to write in it every day, but try to write a few sentences every couple of days. This is a good way to de-stress and also create memories of this very special time.
Keep a calendar. You won't always have time to find your journal or notebook when the baby takes his first steps, or says "Dada" (trust me, mama isn't always the first word). So keep a calendar on the wall (preferably kitchen where you will be much of the time). Choose one with large squares so you can write what happened on those important days so you'll have them all in one place when you finally get around to finishing their baby book (probably when they're in college).
A schedule is good, but don't become a slave to it. As long as the baby gets fed at relatively the same time and goes to bed within an hour of the same time each evening - you're good.
Plan outings. I was lucky (sort of) when our babies were small as we lived near a few stores and playgrounds. Try to work a walk in every day, this way if you miss a day or two, you're still getting plenty of walks in. Mid-mornings or mid-afternoons are good because this seems to be a 'fussy' time for babies and the fresh air and stimulation of a walk (and ride in the stroller) will help defuse that excess energy and a long nap will probably be in their immediate future, and maybe yours too!
Dim the lights and put on some soothng music about a half-hour before bedtime. Avoid giving them any sweet foods or juices, instead give them some yogurt or milk which is calming. This way they will wind-down naturally and be in 'bed-time' mode more easily. After you put them in bed, sit beside them and read a book. Make it a calm story as reinacting the sword fight from Peter Pan will not be helpful in getting them to sleep. I'm not saying this will work every time, but if it becomes a routine the pattern will eventually be set.
Make plans with your partner to schedule an afternoon off once a week. This way you each can look forward to some time to yourself to do something you enjoy.
Most of all, appreciate every moment as they speed by way too fast. Keep in mind that these first few years are fleeting and very special. And remember to breathe!