Dear New Mom: Relax
Dear New Mom:
Now that I’m a veteran mom of 4 months (it’s okay, go ahead and laugh; it’s not a very long time, but it also feels like forever!), I feel like I’ve got a few things to share with new moms. The most important of which is RELAX!
Babies are incredibly resilient. They can withstand more physical and emotional stress than we give them credit for. Caleb rolled off a 1.5 foot high ottoman at 4 weeks old: it barely fazed him and I think Keith was more traumatized! Babies don’t know if you’re doing attachment parenting or BabyWise. Babies don’t really care. And, honestly, it doesn’t really matter. RELAX.
I was most worried about getting on a schedule and finding our groove as quickly as possible. Take a moment and laugh at me because that is absolutely ridiculous. For at least the first two weeks, you will be in survival mode. There’s nothing you can do about it. You and baby have just been through a lot of physical and emotional stress. You need a lot of rest and time to get to know one another. Even now that Caleb is almost 4 months, we are only just hitting our stride with napping. You’ll get there – soak in the moments you have with that sleepy little one. He or she will wake up soon enough and not want to snuggle any more. Laundry will get done by your hubby (or maybe not), but it doesn’t matter. You can stay in your pjs for three days if you want. Nobody cares: you’re a new mom, RELAX!
The one thing that has caught me most off guard is how quickly Caleb has picked up on new “tricks”. This kid is scary smart. I ask him to slow down on a regular basis. I can’t catch up. But it’s not a competition. Other kids will learn some things faster than him and will probably grow bigger than him. That’s okay. Each kid is so incredibly unique. Celebrate what your child is learning and how he or she is growing at their own pace. Don’t drive yourself crazy by comparing your baby to anyone else. Your baby just wants your love and snuggles from the very beginning, so don’t focus on achievements, just RELAX.
Have I mentioned that babies are resilient? Letting other people hold him or her will not kill the baby. More importantly, it will not kill you. Figure out what’s most important to you and which boundaries you are not willing to compromise on and just let everything else go. For example, when Caleb was three weeks old, we flew home for my dad’s funeral. During the reception afterwards, I had no clue where Caleb was. I knew someone in the family had him at all times and my friend was in “charge” of him; I knew that he was never out of her sight, so I didn’t even worry. But, when Caleb gets overtired, I’m all over that. There are very few people I’ll let hold him when he gets to that point because I know there’s only a small window before it will be impossible for him to fall asleep. You’ve got to make choices and let everything else roll off your back. RELAX.
Did you ever swear you’d never be like your parents? That’s fine. But guess what: you’re going to make your own mistakes with your kids and there’s nothing you can do about it. RELAX.
Shut down the computer. Hand the baby over to someone. Go do something that helps you relax. It doesn’t matter if it’s just 5 minutes. Go relax.
And don’t even get me started on feeling like you’re not being the “right” kind of parent or you’re not accomplishing enough. That’s another letter for another day.
Take the piece of advice a wise woman gave me: “You are designed to be just the right parent for your children.” So pour yourself a cup of tea, grab a book, or just snuggle that baby and relax!