Power Tips for New Moms | Owning Your Unique Motherhood
You're Going to Be Great!
“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck." - Jodi Picoult
Worth a Thousand Words
Being a New Mom
Being a new mom is one of the greatest joys in life, yet it is also one of the most challenging things you will ever experience. From the cusp of exhaustion-induced frenzy, you will rise to become the center of your baby’s world; with them needing and wanting, only you, for the next several years. You may at the same time, feel like the most powerful superhero of the home and the weakest member of the world at large. This is why it is absolutely critical that you take care of yourself and that you learn how to do it your way. You, as mom, know what is best for you and your baby, and wielding this special power is a badge you must protect vehemently. Here are some tips to help you along the way, garnered with fondness from a few of the most fabulous, and powerful, moms I’ve ever known.
New Mom Pep Talk (to be repeated aloud):
You can do this, girl! You eat being a new mom for breakfast! YOU are capable and strong!
Power Tip for New Moms #1: Stay Calm
The night my husband brought me and our first child home from the hospital, he sat up all night holding the baby watching re-runs of the same hockey game. The baby screamed if we even so much as lowered him toward his sheets (duh, that’s what most babies do – but we didn’t know it at the time). We were terrified our life would never return to “normal.” Even my mother slept sitting up in a chair helpless to figure out this new visitor and what he needed or wanted. Everyone is a fool for a new baby. I wept all night into my sheets, trying to get a solid hour of sleep. But guess what? We laughed again and sure footing wasn’t so far away. Know that this new way of life is a change for sure, but you will look back on these days with teary-eyed fondness and the memories will be your best. Rest assured, things will get better – or at the very least, acceptance of this new version of you will kick in - in the not too distant future. In the meantime, stay calm… and let things roll.
Organization Tips for New Moms
Power Tip for New Moms #2: Lower the Bar
Alright. For all you perfectionists out there, it is due time (no pun intended) to lower the bar. Trust me; the sooner you take this tip, the better. I want you to expect things to go a little wrong from now on. If they go well, then great! Being a new mom will try your patience to the limit. Embrace this journey with a little humor if you can; laugh and shake it off. Do not go for perfection. Babies will absolutely not follow a plan. If you get out of the house with mismatched socks on the baby, great. You got out of the house. Give yourself a pat on the back! If you make it to a restaurant and the baby cries the whole time…. kudos. You went out and made it through the evening! My biggest piece of advice: learn to cancel if you need to. Learn to disappoint friends and maybe even be a bit socially unreliable. It is all part of the badge of motherhood that you are earning. As suggested in the video, Organization Tips for New Moms to the upper right, it will make you a better mom, with thicker skin for the future. You will need these important accoutrements. You will be even more awesome for having developed these toughening-up skills.
There Is So Much To Come....
Empowering Tasks for New Moms to Master
- Take regular showers
- Learn to set boundaries
- Get out of the house
- Focus on being healthy
- Take naps when your baby naps
- Surround yourself with a good support network
Power Tip for New Moms #3: Use Your Resources
Every smart mom knows she must use all her resources. Call the pediatrician 50 times and ask as many “silly” questions as you want. We have all been there and it is your right to be inquisitive – this is your baby and his/her wellness! Garner tips from more parentally experienced family and friends. Knowledge is power, as underlined in the very helpful video, Common Questions To Ask Your Pediatrician below. Just know what advice to follow and what to discard, should it not apply to your particular situation or should you wish to go with your gut.
Best Sarcastic Parenting Quote
“Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them.” — P. J. O'Rourke
Power Tip for New Moms #4: Trust Your Instincts
If you are having trouble breast feeding, give yourself time. If you decide to keep up with it - great. If you decide to let it go; that is your choice to make and you can’t let anyone discourage you your choices. This is your show. If you want to put the baby in your bed because that is where he/she sleeps, do it. Do what is best for you. Don’t listen to the general think out there. Everyone loves to give advice. And you need it, in some cases! But take everything with your own grain of salt because you and only you, are uniquely qualified to read your baby and his/her needs (as supported even by experts as highly regarded as Dr. Spock!). If you think something is wrong, go to the doctor and push the envelope. You are the advocate for your child. The buck stops with you!
Fun and Doable Outings for New Moms and Baby
- Take a walk
- Hit a coffee shop
- Window shop on Mainstreet
- Visit a friend
- Go for a long drive
- Join a story group
Power Tip for New Moms #5: Ask for Help
Asking for help is important. While you want to know that you can do this baby-thing on your own and still function, there is no shame in accepting a little assistance when you need it. Whether it be leaning on your own mom for a while, or trusting a good friend to help you with the baby, accepting the offers of your nearest and dearest can really go far in getting you back on your feet after your baby arrives. If you can afford that cleaning lady, go for it. If take out menus become a frequent tool, use ‘em! Bonding with your new protégé truly is priority 1 during these first few months and taking care of yourself, will make this goal ever more achievable.
Find Products That Work for You and Your Baby
New Moms' Favorite Things
- Baseball hats
- Tinted moisturizer
- Ponytail holders
- Skim mocha lattes from the drive-thru
- Bumbo Floor Seat
- Go Pod
- Baby Einstein dvd’s
- Your stroller
- Martha Stewart Baby Sleepytime cd
Power Tip for New Moms #6: Make Yourself a Priority
As suggested in the above tip, taking care of yourself is probably one of the greatest things you can do to ease your transition into motherhood and create a smooth road for your most-likely sleep-deprived self. Try your best to get as much rest as possible, eat healthy as detailed in the video below, Mood Boosting Foods for New Moms, and gently consider when the right time to start losing your baby weight might be so you can begin feeling like yourself again. Make sure that you do make an effort to take the occasional shower and get dressed every day so that you can feel proud of yourself for finessing little achievements. Hit the gym not necessarily to lose weight, but to blow off some steam, if you feel that is something you might enjoy. Find your inner beauty, and foster pride for what you have both accomplished and gotten through, with your new baby, safe in your care. When I had my babies, my little reward was a frequent Starbuck’s Mocha Frappuccino and walks through the mall, soaking up all the compliments on my beautiful baby. What is your Mocha Frappuccino? Indulge.
Mood Boosting Foods for New Moms
There Will Be Many Firsts....
Power Tip for New Moms #7: Give It Time
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Remember that parenting takes time and you don’t have to know all the answers all at once. Expect to grow with your child. Allow yourself the luxury of having as many bad days as occur. If you are having difficulty in a particular area with your baby, know that likely in three months, this challenge will resolve and be replaced with a new one. Let things unfold – and don’t be afraid to set as many limits as you want. If you are not ready for a million visitors or to host a Christening in the early months of your baby’s life, simply say no. Power moms don’t have time for guilt. Remember also, that feeling a little sad is normal for a lot of women. If you think that you might be suffering from a little bout of the baby blues, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor about this very important issue as well as consult the resources in the sidebar below for a little help toward better days. Again, in time, you will likely feel better. However, taking steps toward feeling healthy is part of the process and shouldn’t be neglected.
Power Tip for New Moms #8: Get Out of the House
Be mobile, new mom, be mobile. Pack up your baby and get out of the house. You need to engage in the outside world as soon as possible and you will be glad you did. Soon you will be a pro at packing up your diaper bag and getting out the stroller – you just need some experience under your belt, so dig in. As well, knowing you can do things – whatever things you want – is very empowering. A change of scenery and a little activity can help raise your spirits and taking your baby for a window-shop in the mall or around the block is great exercise. Going to a restaurant with your husband and your baby is never easier than when your infant still sleeps in his car seat, amidst the noise of a crowded destination. Get out there!
You Know What Is Best For You - and Your Baby!
Figure It Out Together
Power Tip for New Moms #9: Take a Break
Taking little breaks often will make you a better mom. If you need that nap, take it. If you feel like you need to get out for a quick outing without your baby, make it happen. Go on date nights with your spouse, making each other the focus of your worlds again for just a little while. Honor the person you used to be as well as who you are becoming by gaining a little perspective when you need it most. Your wellness is so very important in being the best person you can for your child. It will make you a better mommy. And nothing is as sweet as returning home to find your little one after having been out and about, recharging that battery.
"There really are places in the heart you don't even know exist until you love a child."
- Anne Lamont.
Life's Great Milestones
Power Tip for New Moms #10: Enjoy Your Baby
I used to walk through the grocery store with my babies; they would be chatting up a storm, baby-talking about everything loudly and gleefully. I would be mesmerized by their beauty and their individual personalities that don’t really change. Other moms, older than I would walk by with a sad, endearing, longing kind of look; they were remembering younger days with their children, each so precious. I knew I would be them someday. With this I say, enjoy your baby. Enjoy your baby! Babies do not keep. They truly don’t. With each stage comes new delights as a parent, new tribulations. But being a parent, you don’t want to miss any of it and it does, it does just go by so fast. This is your life and your privilege to witness with such intense love. It is a transforming thing to be a parent of a growing child – we all grow together. Try not to overschedule yourself. Babies are just small for just the shortest time. In the inspiring article, “Top Inspiring Lovely Quotes About Parenthood,” author Linda Sharp at cafemom.com refers to the quote, “there really are places in the heart you don't even know exist until you love a child” by Anne Lamont. It is so very true.
Closing Advice for New Moms
I hope the above tips will go far in helping even a few new moms as they strive to find their way and their individual brand of motherhood. In closing, I’d like to offer one more pearl of earned wisdom and that is to quickly develop a sense of humor and join in the vast and lovely sisterhood of moms. We laugh together, we cry together, we get through it all by supporting each other. Being a mom and being a wife is hysterical and it is somewhat a universal joke at times. Learn to find the humor in everyday life and the insane expectations that you put upon yourself and that others project onto you. We comply simply, for love of our beautiful families and in so doing, our reward is a rich and full life, shared in degrees by all the women past and present who are or were mothers to some beautiful and lucky child. It is a true and rare gift that will be written indelibly on your history and in your heart. Welcome to the sorority!
... And Don't Forget To Make Time For Your Spouse!
Common Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician
If You Think You Have the "Baby Blues".....
Further New Mom Resources:
For further support in successfully embracing motherhood, consider becoming involved in the following online parenting communities to keep abreast of interesting information for new moms.
- The Bump
Parents Poll: What Do You Think?
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Accept and Embrace Your New Motherhood
....Back at The Nest
- How To Care For Your New Baby - Take Care of Yoursel...
It's time to bring the new baby home. You've waited nine long months. You never thought the day would arrive. But it has, and with that little bundle of joy, comes a major change in your life.
Please Share Your Funny/Fond New Parent Stories and Tips
I invite you to please share a new parent tip or one of your fond or funny stories from when you were a new parent in the comments section below. We'd love to hear them, to show new moms, that they are not alone!