If the title of this makes you laugh, then please keep reading. Does life ever return to “normal” again after having a new baby? Does anything return to the way it used to be? Well, probably not. But I’m starting a new series on Returning to Normal to give positive suggestions on helping you (the tired mother & wife) return your life to an acceptable place.
One of the happiest times of parenting is bringing a new baby home. People tell you happy accounts and horror stories. Friends try to warn you that the happy hours of parenting are so difficult, but somewhere in your mind you know it will be different. A cooing, smiling baby. Dressing a baby in the 35 little onesies (of course, not at the same time) that you’ve been given. The fresh smell of Pampers, the cooling crisp cucumber Huggies wipes, the baby bottles all lined up ready to go, or the boppy for breastfeeding.
Now if you are a seasoned mother reading this, you’re probably already laughing inside. You know that the reality of the things written above was once your dream, but reality has thrown you a curve ball. If you had to do it all over again, what would you have changed? What information would you have wanted to share with yourself to get life back to the new normal?
- Accept that life has now changed.
- Listen to the advice of others for TIPS, but forge the path that works for you
- Cuddle & love your husband too
- Sleep, take a nap, close your eyes and breathe
(1) Accept that Life has CHANGED (for the better)
In the beginning, a new baby brings so much fun. But after a few months, it is easy to wish life would go back to the so-called ease that was present before the baby comes. The way you approach life now – your mindset – is essential.
Is it BETTER that you may be exhausted, covered in baby spit-up, and the house is a mess? Probably not. But life is better because now you have a new baby. A new life to take care of each day. A soul-changing experience to help transform you into a mother – into a caretaker of another person. That is the better thing!Click To Tweet
(2) Forge Your Own Path
The books are endless, the un-solicited advice gathered from the strangers at Walmart comes when you least expect it, and families and friends offer suggestions at every little turn for the new baby.
Strangers at Walmart? Oh yes. Be prepared for this unexpected blessing/surprise/shock. Sometimes they are cutesy little comments from little old ladies reminiscing over when they had children, and other times its just creepy men offering help when you don’t want it. (Side note: I still remember the most awkward conversation I ever had with Walmart, and that was about birth control with a 60-year-old man – who was a total stranger!!!)
Sometimes the advice is helpful, other times the information seems to make you feel more and more not worthy of the title of mother. To me, this is the hardest type of advice that is given. Especially for those moms who are hanging at the end of their rope, more advice is not what you need right now.
As you find what works, then allow it to be so. It may not be how your mom or your bestie does it, but that is ok. It’s your house, your rules, your status quo. The more you can learn to accept this new path, the gentler your mind can rest.
(3) Cuddle and Love Your Husband Too
Your husband may not be the cuddly type, but through all the newness, remember that your husband is going through several new changes as well. It is important to let your husband know that he is still cared for as well.
(4) Sleep, take a nap, close your eyes and breathe
I still remember with each of our children, the crazy exhaustion that a new baby brings. Some of them would eat off/on throughout the whole night. If I were lucky, I would get 2.5 hours of sleep before waking up and breastfeeding again…to only repeat it in 2.5 hours. During the daytime, it wasn’t as bad because I could get some work done while the baby was sleeping. But then nap times became shorter and less frequent throughout the day as they grew older, and almost disappear. Eventually, I was down to one nap a day (after lunch) that my children would take.
The Sacred Hour in our home was naptime. I would try to get some sleep and the baby would “hopefully” sleep. Even if they didn’t sleep as they grew into toddlers and children, the sacred hour was still sacred. It became momma’s time to rest. They would be allowed to play quietly during this time or sleep.
Why did I insist on this sacred hour? Because the night-time feedings drained me physically and emotionally. I knew I needed this time to be alone and find some sort of rest.
You may not be the napping-type of a mother. But you can use this time to recharge yourself. Whether you just calmly and quietly sit, sleep, exercise, thumb through facebook, or play a few rounds of a game on your phone, use this time as downtime to help return your body to a calmer state.
A final note:
The joy and excitement of children is a beautiful blessing. But without caution, this blessing can turn into a nightmare of epic proportions. You may be struggling right now through these problems, or painfully remember those days. Reach out for help, and focus on living one day at a time.
Thoughts? Survival techniques? How did you survive the newborn baby? Share in the comments below what made a difference for you!