Trials and Tribulations of a First Time Mom
Where do we find our sanity when you return home as a first time mom with your newborn?
After months of advice received from others and copious amounts of reading I did on the internet, nothing could have prepared me for returning home with a newborn baby.
I will never forget the amount of times I heard “be sure to get lots of rest.” When I heard that, I assumed it was because they knew how tiring it was to be pregnant and the elements of giving birth. Absolutely not the case. No one mentions to you the lack of sleep you will have for at least the next 6 months. At this point in the game, with my 18 month old son David, I still celebrate in the morning when he only wakes up once or twice a night.
My sanity seemed to have left about 2 weeks after David was born. By this point I was recovering from my C-Section, my family who had visited for about a week returned to California, and my fiancé returned back at work & school. I hadn’t had time to talk with any of my friends and the euphoria of having a new baby was fading. I was so exhausted that simple chores, returning texts, or shaving my legs in the shower was impossible.
It could be part of the “don’t worry it’s worth it” mantra you hear; and yes, while I believe it whole-heartedly, I am still trying to master the art of FINDING MY SANITY!
Here is what I found successful in the first 6 months – each of course has its pros and cons, however these had more pros than cons in my world…
- Set a ROUTINE – It’s not as easy as it sounds but after the first few weeks you really want to start the daytime vs. nighttime activities and mentality. During the daytime, keep the house bright, airy and with playful noises. Once nighttime rolls around, begin to dim the interior lights after dinner, play some soothing music and begin your evening bedtime prep.
- Tip: If you don’t have a Smart TV with YouTube hooked up, I suggest purchasing an Amazon Fire Stick (all you need is HDMI hook up and wifi) doing so now. There are shows you can play on youtube to keep peaceful light music on that they will enjoy for months!
- Bedtime Prep – This was crucial to both of our sanity! Here’s what ours consisted of
- Weekly “night off” & “afternoon break” – Every week you need to plan for a night off and afternoon break. This does not necessarily mean you are leaving your baby, this could involve family coming to stay with you for an evening or joining you for an afternoon of errands or lunch with the baby.
- Spend your time wisely, make a daily list of the things you think you need to get accomplished and celebrate when you can check off 1 to 2 things from that list. Add to it if necessary but this will help you clear your mind and prioritize.
- Hire a housecleaner or follow a schedule for daily little chores so you aren’t overwhelmed mentally with everything that needs to get done. Don’t try to create your chore list yourself – there are a lot of these online and on pinterest to help you!
- Find something you can watch online from your phone, iPad (Update: I recently started using an Amazon Tablet because I didn’t want my son breaking the iPad – it works great!) or TV that will mentally capture your interest. For me that included Hulu & Netflix. There are a lot of great lists of current shows to binge watch available. I suggest investing in a pair of Bluetooth headphones for the days your little one won’t sleep unless they are by your side!
- Grocery Delivery! I cannot stress this enough! Even if its curb side pick up at your local store. My friends joke around about how I leverage Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime Now 2 hour delivery for everything. I shop around between stores that offer curbside pick up and Amazon to make sure I am still within a budget and getting the best deal!
One of the biggest myths I needed to overcome myself is that I can get it all done alone. I had to learn to accept that some days the dishes won’t get washed, but my son had clean bottles and that was enough. Laundry wouldn’t get done the same day and as long as I had clean towels and underwear, life would go on. This is where the schedule really helped me and having someone come in every other week to help with cleaning bathrooms, floors and dusting.
These little things helped me restore my sanity before I returned to work and encountered Career Mom status.