Thursday, February 26, 2009

What every new mother should know....

"What do you mean?" My pregnant best friend asked me last month.

"I mean that once you have *that* child *this* couch will have stains." I pointed out to her as I admired her tan suede sectional perfectly positioned in the corner of her spotless and swanky downtown condo in Chicago.

"Dried pieces of Play-doh in my LV???? What??? Is that what happens when you have children? I don't know about all this...." Leslie, a recently engaged and childless blogger, commented on Fifi's birthday post. If my childless readers only knew that my LV purse not only carried around play-doh but also goldfish crackers.

My married girlfriend on Facebook updated her status to ".... is so happy she splurged on nice bedsheets!!! OMG these rock!" I wanted to warn her about what she might find one day on her 1000 thread count sheets.

We were DINKS (double income no kids) for awhile with one lonely dachshund that slowly started loosing weight with each addition of a new child because our children started to eat off the floors and snack from his bowl.

The thing is that, having a baby changes everything. Gone are the days of clean couches, spotless floors, and organized purses. I had children well before any of my DINKy friends did and had no one to turn to or guide me. I had no idea what was in store. What to expect. I was a basket case of a new mother who fretted over the slightest abnormal burp. In the last six years of parenting I have learned so much from trial and error on my own. That is why I am so incredibly proud of my best friend today, on her first full day of being a mommy alone at home, when she said to me over the phone while nursing her crying infant "The baby has no idea what I am doing. How can anyone take this sweet cry seriously?"

How I wish I had her insight. I would have been far more relaxed as a new mother.

Tell me. What are some other things new mothers should know?

68classy comments:

Domestic Extraordinaire said...

Just because every book & magazine says you must have it, you probably don't. For the first few months you both might never make it out of your Pj's so save yourself the $$ on the fancy teenie baby outfits.

Valerie(momof3crazykids) said...

It's not all perfect like the books and magazines make it look. My SIL found out the hard way. And don't say my kid would never do/be like that, you WILL get one that does.

Elaine A. said...

To the new moms - That alone time you used ot have in the bathroom is NO.LONGER. Just expect to have a spectator, or two... Just lettin' you know! : )

Megryansmom said...

My son and his wife are expecting their first in April, I laugh at the items she has on her baby registry, much the same way, I assume as my MIL laughed at mine.

My advice to new moms, don't be fooled into thinking that NO ONE can care for your baby as well as you can. Take all the help that is offered and SLEEP! Because when you blink, they'll be TWO and you'll need a good pair of running shoes to keep up.

Indy said...

You need to know that you will never sleep through the night. Well, maybe when all of your kids are about 6 or 7. But then, only once in awhile. But, you will learn to live without sleep. Somehow.

Allison Says said...

I wasn't prepared for a complete and utter lack of *me* time. It's gone. Completely and utterly gone. No longer can I enjoy a quiet morning with a cup of tea, maybe a piece of toast, reading a magazine or watching some crappy TV. Now? I have to jump out of bed, feed a baby, probably do another load of laundry, entertain a baby, etc. etc. etc.

When I *do* get "alone" time, it's because I have something important to do (like study) and it's not *me* time.

::sigh::

Congrats to your newly mommy friend!

Ed (zoesdad) said...

Sleep is overrated! And you don't need nearly as much as you think you do.

Robyn said...

Nothing horrible will happen if you leave your baby crying (in a safe place) so you can take 5 minutes to take a shower. Seriously, you will feel SOOOO much better after a shower.

Smart A$$ Mom said...

I love spending time with my gf's who are so relaxed in their parenting that they can really enjoy every moment of it.

Jessica said...

I think that all new mother's should know that if you get a shower in BEFORE 5pm...that is a MAJOR accomplishment. And if you aren't able to get into the shower...just be satisfied with "I will try to squeeze that in tomorrow." :) Don't be surprised if the shower invovles you putting the baby in a bouncer, outside the shower door and opening it every 15 secs. to make sure they are still breathing...which you will only curse your nerosis later while you are cleaning up water from the bathroom floor.

MamaClaire said...

I am totally you 6 years ago...the first of my friends to have a baby and I'm just winging it! But wow, do I now sound like an expert around my baby-less friends!

I have to agree about the sleep thing. I don't know how it happens, but you just learn to live with way less sleep than you ever had before and somehow still be the happiest you've ever been.

amanda said...

find another mommy friend to hang out with. vent to each other. i have to agree, if you need the five minutes to let the baby cry to collect yourself...take it. and the time flies by. way faster than anyone can explain or tell you. snuggle and cuddle all you can because before you know it that time will be gone. and tummy time. give your baby tummy time. i worked at a daycare...it was so obvious which babies weren't given tummy time at home. lol. it may sound silly, but that was my biggest pet peeve...:0)

Stephanie said...

The greatest gifts you can give your child is humbleness and self-reflection as a parent. We're not perfect and when we're wrong we should say we're wrong.

That and bananas turn their poop black.

♥ spoiled mommy ♥ said...

Take a bazillion pictures AND videos...memories do fade somewhat and its so nice to look back and remember it all so vividly.
Time sure does fly by fast and before you know it they will be all grown! ;)

Tracey said...

Nothing is forever. Be it good times or bad, everything changes. So enjoy what you have, while it's in front of you.

Tracey said...

Oh, and no two babies are alike. Meaning, you may think you have this parenting gig figured out and want to have another baby right away. Just... wait a bit. Think first. An easy first baby doesn't equal an easy second baby....

Becca said...

Don't try and rush things. With Autumn I was ready for her to roll over, talk, crawl, walk, and so on. Now I wish she would just lay still in my arms quietly for a hour. She has grown up way to fast and I just wish I enjoyed her being a baby a little more while she still was a baby.

Krystyn said...

That your baby sitting in one place and not knowing how to move around really is fabulous.

That not eating solids for as long as possible is super convenient.

Dressing an newborn/infant in cute clothes is sooo overrated. Really, they can wear the same outfit for multiple days until they pee/poo or spit up on it.

I think that's enough to go on; I'm sure I could add a lot more.

Oh, and you won't leave the hospital in your pre-pregnancy clothes.

Brea in Texas said...

Everything will change. Most of it will be for the better, but just deal with it and learn to roll with whatever life hands you. My first son was pretty much a perfect baby; they write books about him. My first daughter ... well, they write books about her, too, but just not the same kind. My second son is nicknamed Danger Baby, for good reason. They're all different, and all awesome, and I think my biggest advice to new moms would be this: learn to be flexible!

And, of course, take lots and lots of pictures. :)

~Brea

Courtney said...

When the baby is crying & you are feeling overwhelmed, put them in their crib & walk away for a few minutes. Just breathe or take a shower, you'll feel better & you'll then be better equipped (from being calm) to deal with them.

Your friend is one smart cookie

krissy said...

That every child is born with the knowledge to push their parents to the absolute limits.

As seen through my 11yr old daughter today.

And that mom's start to lose their hair and sanity at a alarming rate.

Hahaha. But that motherhood is the best although hardest job Ever and the outcome is more rewarding then any college degree.

Blessings From Above said...

I think you touched on the best advice. Just relax and enjoy it, try not to stress in the long run over little things.

Legallyblondemel said...

This DINK has nothing useful whatsoever to offer here except a very grateful "thank you" for the honest advice. Off to read through these comments . . .

PS - This completely validates my belief that I should continue to buy quality handbags, but that I should just hang onto my increasingly scruffy couches until we're through the toddler years. Any justification for the LV (Epi for me) fund!

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

First of all: Relax.

And don't buy expensive lamps, bedsheets, blouses, or anything in any shade of white.

Your stuff won't be perfect anymore, but the kids will be! So let it go.

When we re-did our bedroom I found the perfect custom silk bedding in a soft blush color - duvet, luxurious dust ruffle (I can't even imagine how many yards of silk and trim and tassles to make this thing!), and the pillows! OMG. $3,000. Hubby and I touched it and put our drapery swatch against it and saw the perfection of the match, and we drooled on it a little.

And we went and bought bedding at Target. Which has since been barfed on, the dog has slept on it, and is regularly washed free of crumbs, sand, bits of mulch, sticky snacks, and juice stains.

~le sigh~

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I always tell expecting moms: Be prepared to learn things about yourself that you don't like. And it's okay; it helps you grow.

lov said...

i'm new here....
and I LOVE IT!!
i think i will just stick around!

:)

love this post!

MommyTime said...

Buy some of these if you're nursing. You will need them about day five or six. Don't be ashamed. Just use them for a week till you heal, and all will be well. (Seriously, click that link if you're a brand-new nursing mom.)

Tara R. said...

It's okay to take a bath with your babies. You get clean, they have a blast, everyone wins.

mpotter said...

you can imagine bringing home baby all you want to. when it happens, you'll realize you should've planned and wondered about bringing home DADDY.

babies change EVERY.THING.

and it ain't always for the best.

Deb said...

Set a goal to do something that is just for you every single day. Before my son was born, I vowed I would ALWAYS take a shower. Yep, every day. And for nearly three years, I have done just that. A few times, those showers have been at night before I went to bed, but I have always managed to get one, and it's the one bit of "me" time I guarantee myself every day. Every day. Allow me to repeat: give yourself something every day.

I also wish I hadn't gotten sucked up in all the sleep training b.s. Babies are either good sleepers or they're not, as my second one is proving. There isn't a whole lot you can do about it, beyond common sense precautions. But I'm not sure I'd believe that if I was a FTM, so I won't waste my energy typing it. Oh, wait... I did. ;)

Deb said...

P.S. Buy leather couches. Mine still look fabulous. Not as fabulous as the perfect white cotton ones I used to own, but still lovely.

Every Day Goddess said...

Enjoy every moment of the baby time. It will go by super fast and you will miss that time of just holding and rocking them.

They are like sponges and will absorb any and all attention and knowledge that you give to them.

Store the memories away for teen years so you can remind yourself how much you really do love them ;)

Ellyn said...

First off...whole heartedly agree with Tracy's second comment. No two babies are alike.

second to answer your question. Nap time is way too short to get everything done.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

The obvious one is that when people offer to help, TAKE THEM UP ON IT! When someone says, "just call me if you want someone to watch the baby so you can run out to the store," make a point of calling them and asking them for help. Calendar it if you have to.

If you don't make an effort to accept help, it won't happen. Don't give yourself the chance to be bitter. Take the help. Ask for it, even.

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

THE best advice I received from a dear friend, who has 2 grown children . . . when she observed how uncomfortable I was that my MIL was "attempting" to overtake my baby/life . . . "follow your instincts and have a voice for your child"

I pass this along to all new mommies!

LceeL said...

Memorize each and every moment - because once it's gone it ain't ever coming back - and kids grow up faster than you ever thought they would or could.

PunkyBean said...

Who knows! Two kids and I'm still a nervous first time mommy! :)

Ah, save money and buy second hand if you can! It all looks old and beat up as soon as the kid touches it anyway!

Dorsey said...

I LOVE your advice!! It is right on!We only recently (in the past 3 yrs) bought new furniture. And that is simply because my children are 11 and 13 yrs old.
Something of note, and I hope it isn't TMI, but if they are breastfeeding make sure they take a towel to bed with them with their having their "special alone time" with Daddy. THIS will most definitely spoil those 1000 count sheets.

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

My advice for a new parent (and I remind myself every day) is that you can't do it all. Its ok to neglect the laundry to roll on the floor with you 6 month old new crawler. Its fine to leave dishes in the sink after dinner because your toddler wants to cuddle. Say no to those things, put housework in front of those moments... and you're missing out on the best parts.

Kat said...

Sleep and cleanliness and alone time are highly overrated. You will easily and gladly give those up for these precious little creatures. Sure, at times you'll want to chuck them out the window, but you'll never regret the day you decided to have kids. Enjoy! :)

carrie said...

You see? This is why I was never a "DINK!" My expectations would have been shot!

Instead I went straight from low-expectations and crappy college furniture to married and pregnant. Totally different! :)

But yes, there are tons of things that were still a surprise, mainly having to do with boobs.

Kari said...

Don't sweat the small stuff. SOO what if there are dishes in the sink for days..and days. Sooo what if there are crumbs on the couch and syrup stains on the chair. Soo what if the entertainment center which is usually black..looks almost gray from the dust.

April said...

Loved this post. I don't think I'll have a problem cuz I'm not a typical DINK. (love that, by the way). We have three dogs and three cats (and one messy husband) who already destroys the house (ruined rugs, wood floors), furniture (ruined a mattress and a couch), purses, chews up Mac lipstick and Blue Tooths, etc. I think I will be able to CALMLY handle what this kid will throw out at me. LOL

April said...

Oh and I forgot to add I've ALREADY learned to function on less sleep due to dogs with diahrea (sp?) every hour on the hour who need to be taken out, and a puppy who cries to pee through out the night. LOL

Tiffany @ Lattes And Life said...

Oh my gosh, so true!!! EVERYthing changes. I think most new moms don't realize that there's no *right* way. Mothering is a journey, and you'll always be changing direction midstream. What works today won't work tomorrow. What you feel so strongly about one day won't matter the next. So relax and be adaptable. Because so much of what we worry about when they're little really doesn't matter as much as we think it does!!

Desiree Fawn said...

- showering & pooping become things you look forward to with great anticipation
- strange things will happen to your breasts & nipples
- everything you own will have some form of spit up on it
- you'll get excited about all of your baby's bodily functions
- you'll see everything in a new & amazing light
- nothing they do will ever be wrong and no matter how tired or insane you feel, you won't care :)
- LET PEOPLE HELP YOU
- seriously -- if someone offers to hold that baby so you can shower, do it :D

much love to all preggers, especially your friend :)

skiplovey said...

Oh I wish I had your friend's attitude when I was a new mom too, I was way to stressed and neurotic.

In retrospect, I wish we would have started sooner, before we had all the nice stuff that go puked on, drooled on and trashed. The hand me down futon would have been no loss at all, the marks on the new leather chairs, well don't they call that a "patina", right?

Jeni said...

All great advice about raising kids -whether it be the first-born or a few more down the line, the only thing I would add is when the child is beginning to get mobile, anytime a little one suddenly gets very, very quiet, hurry and go on a search and destroy mission to see if you are in time to gather whatever the little one has managed to get into and salvage any part of it prior to total annihilation comes about -from the child. Quiet in a small child (unless you are positive he/she is sound asleep) is an immediate danger signal to all parents! (Grandparents sometimes forget this warning too as we often get very wrapped up in how perfect each grandchild is. Yes, they are that, but....they can wreak a lot of havoc too!)
Bottom line though really is love 'em with all you've got! That doesn't necessarily mean buy them everything and anything they point at though. Sometimes, loving a child means denying them things they think they need or want.

A Crafty Mom said...

I think two things I wish I had known as a brand new mother would be a) it's more than ok and even recommended that you ask for help when you need it, and b) never grab their ankles and dawdle while changing a diaper and holding that cute butt up in the air - get that thing IN and OUT fast or you will indeed get a nasty shower (that goes for both boy and girl babies - totally happened to me with both genders!!!).

Indy said...

I thought of one more thing. You have to have more than one child to know that the challenges you face and the successes you have with your child have little to do with you. You will judge other parents less once you realize that sometimes you get a biter, a scaredy cat, a smarty pants and a silly child. It changes every few months and what you judge another parent this month may be you next month.

amy said...

I remember you when...New mommy and how we all were at new moms lunch bunch.Now look at us:-D

3 Peanuts said...

Just when you figure them out (the babies), they change!

Herb of Grace said...

Geez, I really wanted to come up with something profound, but all i could think of is my typical remark as soon as I find out a friend is pregnant.

No one but me will tell you this, but just remember... when the baby is about four months old, ALL YOUR HAIR WILL FALL OUT!!! But don't worry. It grows back.

Melissa said...

We are a DINK but there has been so much advise!!

The most I am taking from it is rela, love your baby, and never buy expensive stuff!!

Life at the White House said...

love this post.

our world is going to be turned upside down - in an awesome and crazy way!

and by that i don't mean in 9 months, just when the time comes. i heart you - you are hilarious.

Michele said...

Showers are a treat after you have a baby.

I agree with your first comment PJs will be on for at least the first month. Have plenty of clothes for you and the baby in case they spit up.

Don't be afraid to sleep with your little one for the first little while. I did with both of mine and they settled right into their cribs just fine. It was so much easier for me to sleep on the couch with Hannah. I would get more sleep and she was my great little cuddlier.

You must have a pac n play. It is so nice to change the diapers, have everything right there then lay them in it while you go to the bathroom or eat a bite or even go back to sleep.

Sleep the first few months is a rare thing so it is true sleep when your baby is sleeping. You will feel so much more refreshed.

I have so much more but I don't want to take all of your comment space. My final note would be enjoy them. They grow up so fast. My Hannah will be three this August and My Sarah will be 7 in a few weeks.

Leslie said...

Sooo....is my lesson from this post to begin scotch-guarding the inside of my LV handbags now? Cause that's all I'm hearing ;)

the mama bird diaries said...

Gosh, our couch is disgusting. Stains all over it. Our apartment is on the market and two potential buyers were sitting on that gross couch just today. Here's hoping they didn't notice.

Im2Sexy4MyVan said...

Personal experience taught me that my baby's emotions and demeanor were directly reflected from mine. When i was relaxed and completely happy discovering the joys of our baby, our baby was happy, mellow, content, ate well, slept well, loved well. But when I was managing a toddler, an out-of-state move, an absentee husband diving into a new job .... well my 2nd was a little stressed, high maintenance, harder to comfort and self-soothe. Just like I felt at that time. So relax, forget the small stressors, and love falling in love with your baby! xoxo

Chelsea said...

Something I have been thinking and wondering about lately since I started a new job as a nanny/helper to a mother of four (ages 4.5, 3, 2, and 7 weeks) - I like quality clothes but I find myself wearing all my old crappy stuff from college when I go to my nanny job. On any given day I will end up with sidewalk chalk, dirt, food or something else spilled on me etc. I don't know how you keep your beautiful clothes nice. I recently bought a silk dress (marked down and marked down from Banana) and I bought it thinking that it may not be the most practical thing to own once I have kids. I couldn't resist because it really was perfect for me, you know. ;)
Also, this is sort of funny because Mormons tend to start young, so I have several mommy friends already. Girls have babies on purpose in college. Sometimes. :)

The Daily Stroll said...

The one thing no one ever seems to talk about is how cranky a lack of sleep can make both you and your husband. Before the baby is born talk about how to handle those stressful situations. Our two favorite books I found after we had Jonah was Babyproofing Your Marriage and Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay! They are funny and offer some real advice in surving parenthood! :)

Enjoy every minute that you can because they change and grow up way too fast! Also, make sure you keep any pens away from the 1000 thread count sheets! Jonah used ours as an art canvas one morning! :)

Miss M said...

I didn't read every single comment, so this might have already been said... Your boobs will probably make you feel like Dolly Parton when your milk comes in. And nursing HURTS... decide ahead of time that you can deal with it, and expect it, and it will be easier...

So Not Mom-a-licious said...

For the past few months, I cry when I look at my carpet. Shoes are not allowed on the carpet, whenever I can help it. So it's not from that. The stains are also not poo, pee or vomit related. Merely milk, water and juice...oh and the occasional pop-tart. That is what my carpet is covered with. I have always been the one who has had the best looking flooring ever. I never thouhgt I would let my floor look as it does now. But, there are battles. And we choose them. And that is why I live with stained carpet. *sigh*

Jenn said...

* When people tell you to stop nesting and start resting, LISTEN TO THEM.

* When people tell you to nap when the baby naps, LISTEN TO THEM!

*In some countries, sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture...

(Can you tell my kid never slept as a baby?)

Jenn said...

* When people tell you to stop nesting and start resting, LISTEN TO THEM.

* When people tell you to nap when the baby naps, LISTEN TO THEM!

*In some countries, sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture...

(Can you tell my kid never slept as a baby?)

Lindsay said...

You're always a GREAT mother before you have kids...and you only figure this out once you have them.

Rhea said...

I would tell a new mother, don't be afraid to ask questions, any question, even if they seem stupid...and don't be shy about asking for help.

Christy said...

I love it!

I am about to embark on the adventure of having two children, while most of my friends are just starting to think of having their first. Some of them are in for the rudest awakening ever! I will be there to support them, but part of me would be completely lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to watching what happens too :O

 

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