About a month ago, I became a mom to the most beautiful, sweet, and cuddly little girl. She is our answer to so many prayers, and our wish come true.
Before I became a mom, there are so many things I had heard about, and yet not experienced. Today on the blog I would love to take some time to address some of these small, yet meaningful things I’ve learned.
1. Let It Go
I am a self-proclaimed control freak. I like order, schedules, and knowing what to expect. Over the past month, to some extent, some of that has flown out the window. While a schedule is still really important, this controller is learning to slowly let go of some things. For example, our daughter took almost 24 hours to get here (not how we thought the delivery would go). She was also jaundiced. This meant our plans of being home the first week went away because we had to go to the Pediatrician’s office 5 times in a week. We dress her in cute outfits, she has blow-outs. Everything is very much on her schedule now. We are slowly learning to let go of our plans and expect the unexpected.
2. Mommy Shame is Real, Y’all!
Let me start with this disclaimer: I had heard of mommy shaming. I had never experienced it (obviously). But the moment my daughter got here, the shame began. How we fed her, what we dressed her in, was she warm/cool enough? Why are you working? Why are you not working? Don’t hold her too much or you’ll spoil her. Don’t put her down because she needs to bond with you. The list goes on and on. As someone who has now been shamed, I have so much empathy for other moms. There is more than one way to raise a child, people. Please be kind to new moms. We are truly doing the best we can!
3. Everything Changes
There is literally nothing in our lives that hasn’t changed over the past month. Everything is about our daughter and what she needs/wants. We plan everything around her feeding schedule. We have a bedtime routine. Now we go to bed at 10 pm every night because we know in less than 3 hours we will be up again. It’s amazing how something so small can impact every little aspect of your life.
4. Mom Brain is Also Real!
I had heard of “mom brain”, but again had never experienced it. Let me tell you, I have a bad case of it, and my husband will also agree that he has “dad brain”. To give you some background, we are both Type A planners who keep a joint calendar and we are very organized. In the past month between the two of us, we have completely missed an appointment, put the car keys in the refrigerator, forgot to feed the dog (she’s fine!), forgot words in the middle of sentences, lost the TV remote, and couldn’t remember our daughter’s date of birth at a Doctor’s appointment.
The lack of sleep is so incredibly impactful, and there are so many things to remember on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis when it comes to our daughter. While we are slowly learning to function on less, it definitely has impacted both of us.
5. Babies Impact Your Marriage
Babies require so much, especially at the beginning, that you struggle to even think about your marriage. I remember my husband and I crashing into bed, looking at each other, and realizing we had not had a moment to ourselves the whole day. While we are starting to carve out more time now, I am realizing that we have been in survival mode for a month while adjusting to the baby. I know this is normal, but it is HARD!
Make sure that you are making your marriage a priority, no matter how exhausted you are. Plan a date night, and spend time just the two of you. Try to remember who you were prior to the baby coming. Reconnect, laugh, and enjoy one another’s company.
6. It’s Okay to Ask for Help
When we first got home with our daughter, she screamed for 3 nights in a row. I called my mom crying, so desperate for a sense of normalcy and some sleep. My mom offered some suggestions, then came over, cooked us dinner, and took the baby for 2 hours so my husband and I could take a nap. Something I’ve learned recently is that it’s okay to ask for help in this season of life. I realize I am a better mom when I do get a break sometimes, and I have more patience and energy to give my child later. And that nap was glorious!
7. Give Grace
You’re going to mess up as a parent. I’ve already made mistakes, and I know I will continue. The important thing is to give yourself grace and compassion. You cannot keep all of the same balls in the air that you did before you had a child. Babies make your priorities shift completely (in the most wonderful way possible)!
Also, extend grace to your partner. Last week, my husband and I spent 30 minutes looking for the remote to the TV and tore our entire downstairs apart. Only to eventually realize it was in his pants pocket the whole time. Normally I probably would’ve lost my cool, but I realized he was struggling just as much as I was. I decided to just laugh about it and move on. Best decision I could’ve made at that moment!
8. Self-Care is Even More Important
While it’s hard to carve out the time, you need to make self-care a priority. One night, my husband took the baby and I went to TJ Maxx for an hour. Later that week, I stayed home and he went to see a movie. These little moments are important to remind yourself that you are still you and that you need some time to just take care of yourself. Sometimes that means just going upstairs and taking a bath, or meeting friends for dinner. You need a break from being mom or dad, and not feeling responsible for someone else!
9. Find Yourself a Village
My village means so much more to me now than I ever could’ve imagined. We have been surrounded with so much love and support since my daughter was born. From family and friends bringing meals, to gifts for the baby, to wine for us, we have felt so much gratitude to those who have shown up. The kindness we’ve been showered with is indescribable. It makes me realize how important your village is, and that nurturing those relationships is essential. It also makes me realize how important my role can be in others’ lives when they find themselves in a life transition or a difficult time.
10. You Will Experience Love Like You’ve Never Experienced
We have felt so much love from others during this time of change in our family. My parents and my sister both took a night shift with the baby over the past month to allow us to sleep. Sometimes just giving your time to others shows them how much you love them. I can definitively say that we feel extraordinarily loved by our friends and family.
We also feel a love for our daughter that we never could’ve imagined. It’s amazing how someone so demanding and fussy can make you feel so incredibly blessed and lucky.
If you are a parent, what’s something you have learned that you would add to this list?
*Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling. Christy enjoys doing marriage/couples counseling, individual counseling, premarital counseling. She also provides family counseling, teen and adolescent counseling.
Journey to Joy Counseling serves the Indianapolis area, including Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.