Breathe. (5 Things I’d Tell "New Momma" Me)

I’m entering a new phase.  My babies aren’t babies.  At all.  Sure, they still like to snuggle and they aren’t independently making themselves breakfast quite yet, but the days of diapers and late night feedings are over.  It sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?  So do those baby days now that I look back on them.  If I had a magic wand these are the five things I would tell that very tired looking mama:

1.  New babies cry.   Don’t worry if you haven’t figured out which cry equals hungry or what one means tired.  Just take a deep breath and go down the list.  Sometimes they just cry.  It’s not you.  It’s them.  And they’re okay.

2. Mothering takes time.  A lot of time.  Diapering, rocking, snuggling, and just taking care of a new baby takes time.  Let’s not even talk about the amount of time you’ll spend sitting on a couch breastfeeding.  When your husband comes home and asks you what you did all day and you see the dishes and the mess and you smell your unshowered body, just shrug and answer that you mothered.  Don’t feel guilty.  Don’t get defensive.  You are doing a damn good job.

3. Accept help.  And ask for it.  Post baby will be one of the biggest adjustments of your life. You have people who want to be there for you.  Let them.

4. It ends. This period does end.  It doesn’t seem like it.  It seems like 3am wake ups will never become 3 year old tantrums – but they do.  The exhaustion, the frustration, the sacrifice of body, mind, sleep – all of that is just a season.  And a very short one.  Then they start crawling, and walking, and running.  And then one day you are watching them ride their bike down the block and you wish for just two seconds you could be back with their milk breath against your cheek as you rock them to sleep.  (And don’t stand there wishing for too long, because this present moment will pass too)

5. You aren’t perfect but you are good enough.  Being a perfectionist and a mother?  Not a recipe for happiness.  Don’t beat yourself up for the stitches at 22 months.  Crying it out won’t be your thing, but she’s not going to die just because you try it.  That time when they went out on the roof while playing flood as you did the dishes downstairs and oblivious? You won’t win mother of the year, but you’ll laugh about their independence and fearlessness later. Motherhood isn’t for the faint of heart. Accept your mistakes.

If you could go back and tell your new momma self something – what would it be?

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  • Kate,
    As a married without kids kind of a woman, I love this post! To say that I'm terrified to be a mother would be an understatement, but this advice is so encouraging. I can definitely see myself trying to be a perfectionist so this stuff is so good to know.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • This is good stuff! I like number 3. It's taken me a while to figure out that asking for help is okay. I used to think because I brought my children into the world I was responsible for their care 24/7, rain or shine… unless someone offered to help. But sometimes you actually need to ask, and trust that the people who love you really WANT to help you in your hour of need. Just kick pride in the tush! 🙂