I’m 6 weeks into mommyhood and I’m lovin’ (read as “hanging on by a thread”) every minute of it. Okay, most minutes I’m just barely surviving, but surviving nonetheless. Once I got past the first few weeks of my new life as a mama I decided I needed to start figuring out how life with my new little one was going to work. There are a few things that I have found absolutely invaluable to my survival over the past month and a half. I want to share just a few of them here in hopes that some of you other blurry eyed new mothers might find something useful from my own triumphs and tribulations as a novice mama.
The Caddy of Essentials
The first couple of days at home with baby girl proved to be a learning experience (surprise, surprise!) and the quickest thing I learned is that a stash of diapers, wipes, a burp cloth, changing pad, a snack (nursing mamas have to eat!), lanolin, and a blanket that can be transported throughout the house is a total life saver! I took an old plastic shower caddy that was in storage under our bathroom sink and converted it into what has become a convenient way to move baby from room to room without having to run back and forth from one end of my house to the other in search of one more thing!
Grab Your Apron and Throw it Over Your Head
Some of you may know the story of Susannah Wesley, father of John and Charles Wesley, who was said to have crouched in her kitchen with her apron up over her head as a signal to her children that she was praying. Susannah was a lady who knew the power of prayer and of taking time- yes, I know time is in short supply with a new born- to focus her gaze upwards. Did I mention she had 19 children? Yeah, no excuses unless you are Michelle Duggar. Who is with me? Grab your aprons ladies!
Housework: A little at the time
I’m not quite a neat freak, but I’m pretty close. Letting go of laundry, dishes, dirty toilets and overflowing garbage is not easy for me even with a crying newborn in my arms. Don’t get me wrong I’m not sweating it, but I am trying to maintain some semblance of decorum and get plenty of rest. The key seems to be doing a little at the time. I’ve always been a fan of cleaning a little every day rather than overwhelming myself with chores. I’ve found it really helpful to plan just one small point of cleaning each day. Also, when it comes to laundry don’t feel like you have to sit and fold it all at once. I like to put it all in my bedroom and fold a few pieces at a time whenever I pass through the room. By the end of the day it is all folded! Booyah! With that said your first 6 weeks with baby should be all about rest and bonding. Let go of having a perfect house and I think it will pay dividends for your emotional and physical health.
Remember You’re Still Married
That fella sitting on the couch next to you nearly comatose with dark circles under his eyes is still your husband- treat him as such. I read this post not long ago and it inspired my heart to commit to focusing on my marriage in a few small ways each day. Though romance may not be high on the list of priorities these days it doesn’t mean that the health of my marriage should take a backseat. One other thing that has been a great help has been spending 15 minutes each evening debriefing with one another. We talk and I try not to make it all about the little one. I’ve found that having a baby can be a great opportunity to work on communication with my husband. It requires work and you may not want to add one more thing to your list, but I can already see how it is making our marriage stronger and making us better parents.
Getting Dressed Vs. Pajama Days
I believe strongly that getting dressed- makeup included if you fancy it- is one of the biggest boosters to the female psyche. Even though you might not manage it before noon make it a point to get dressed each day…in real clothes. No sweats or yoga pants. REAL.CLOTHES. That being said I have allowed myself one “pajama day” a week. I allow myself and baby girl to stay in our lounge wear once a week. That is usually a day that I refuse to do any housework and try to just enjoy gazing at her sweet, little face as much as possible.
Have Someone You Can Call
These first few weeks can be rough even if your baby is a perfect angel on the spectrum of newborns. Even if you aren’t dealing with a postpartum mood disorder it is important to have a friend you can call on for help or just to talk with when the walls seem to be closing in on you. Before baby is here it is helpful to designate that person. For me it has been my sister-in-law. She checks in on me a couple times a week via phone (unfortunately she lives a few hours away) and offers her prayers and support daily via email and facebook. It is such a blessing knowing that someone has my back that has been through all of this before.
One Outing a Week
Like most new moms (especially moms of winter babies) I am a bit hesitant to take my little lady out in public a whole bunch. Germs, germs and more germs! However, it is important, for your own sanity, to get out a little bit. I’ve made a point of enjoying one small outing a week. A few outings we have had have been lunch with Daddy, library time (not during children’s time to avoid germs), grocery shopping for a few items, a cup of coffee at my favorite local shop, and a visit to the fabric store. Check out a few of the ideas that the ladies over at Rookie Moms have come up with in their 52 week challenge! Let their list inspire you!
If you aren’t in this season of life check out this amazing list of 100 ways to encourage a new mama! I especially love #s 15,16, 23, 35, 62 and 65!
What tips do you have for surviving the newborn months? What are some things that you wished you had done when your babies were newborns?
Jessica is a grace lover, wife, new mama, motherless daughter, reluctant missionary and birth doula. She scribbles down stories of grace on her blog a diamond in the rough. She is currently working on her first e-book about finding God’s grace and discovering the heart of the Gospel when loss and grief are a part of your everyday life. Follow her on twitter @adiamondnrough.