Top Tips: Prepping for Parenthood
You prep for labor and delivery-classes, doula's, bag packed, and you are ready!
And it's amazing and wonderful and beyond anything you'd even remotely imagined.
WHOA you have a baby 24/7!
We are firm believers in prepping for labor, and people chat about their prepping and their fears of labor all the time.
And then they come into the shop with a newborn(up to 12 weeks) and are shell shocked, exhausted and almost all (we should be clear, not ALL) say something along the lines of
"Okay, this is the hardest thing I've ever done."
"This is harder than my deployment to Iraq." (We did not make that up.)
"I wasn't sure I was going to make it."
"Well this is going to be an only child for sure."
"Everything changes. Like, every single thing."
-and that was just today! Seriously.
All either preface or end with
"Of course, he/she/they is/are great and the BEST EVER.
I just had NO IDEA."
That's the truth, until you're a member of the club, you just have no idea what it looks like inside.
The most important thing is to try to wrap your head around the fact that you have no idea - and that's ok!
Disclaimer: Some moms come in here with a two week old and are doing great and just rolling happily along. Not everyone feels t-boned by baby. In our experience, personally and with clients, the majority are a little shocked.
You'll do fine. You'll get through. These tips will help.
The earlier you read these and start practicing, the better. Yes, while you're still pregnant.
1. Try to manage your expectations.
We know, it's a hard one, but it's worth trying? So here are a few thoughts on the subject of expectations:
- If you don't expect to get out of your nightgown and you get dressed in real clothes, it's a win!
- If you don't expect to get the bed made then throwing the comforter up all the way is making the bed!
- If you don't expect to cook or clean dishes, then getting dinner delivered and using eco-friendly plates is a success!
- If you don't expect to bath daily then showering or taking a nice long bath is the most indulgent delight ever.
- If you don't expect to post gorgeous pictures, then everyone will just be thrilled with the ones that pass your criteria and do get posted.
- If you don't expect a baby who sleeps ever, who cries never, then you'll just be more relaxed.
- if you don't expect to both brush your teeth and get your false eyelashes on, then getting one done feels like you are managing this mom thing brilliantly.
2. Ask for what you need.
Again, not something that all of us are good at. So, start practicing while pregnant. Have a partner? Ask them to do little things for you so both of you are used to it.
If you anticipate wanting outside support once you have the baby make that list now. Maybe start by asking someone to start a meal train. If you've got the list, then when people ask you if there's anything that you can do, you don't have to demure, just refer to the list. And, remember, people want to help, really, so ask, but don't expect them to know what you want or need.
If you want to arrange help-paid or unpaid, in advance, start doing that at the beginning of your second trimester. Things take time. Relatives have schedules, and experts are in demand.
Read Dede's timeless blog on A New Mom's Wish List. Some things can't be found on an app.
3. Set boundaries.
Knowing a little about what you want will help you set boundaries for friends and family in advance. No offense to mother-in-laws everywhere (because I have boys, so if I have grandchildren, odds are good I'll be a mother-in-law!) but as a new parent it might help that relationship to set some "guidelines" before baby arrives.
It's impossible to know exactly what you're going to want after baby arrives, but think a little about things like how many people you want in the house at once, if you want meal deliveries-complete with company, if you think that you may want to set "no contact hours" between 9 and 5(that's PM to AM:)...just give it a little thought. It's easier to change existing boundaries and relax them than it is to set them with a newborn around.
4. All that breathing that you learned for childbirth-keep using it.
Got a minute? Breathe. We don't need to tell you all the science on this, right? Need an app to help, there are plenty of short meditations. Want to moan or scream? Do it. Not maybe with the baby in the room, although more than a few moms have confided to us that they have had crying matches with their babies.
5. Turn all those have-to's into get-to's.
Just like breathing, gratitude is big right now. This is not a bad thing. In fact, gratitude for your gorgeous baby might just be the only thing keeping you from giving them up some days! You do realize your good fortune. And, in truth, you don't actually have to do much, so changing your have-to's to get-to's helps you invite some gratitude in. It will help you make decisions about what you actually do and don't have to do as well. Because those dishes? They can wait.
Master these now and these will help you get through not just the first three months of parenthood, but parenting for years to come. Not kidding.
Sarah has owned and operated Mom's the Word since the beginning. She has listened to tens (hundreds?)of thousands of moms and is a mom of two fully formed and functioning and living independently "kids" in their early twenties. Ten years ago an MS diagnosis taught her to take breathing to the next level and she is grateful and happy to share her tips -breathing and beyond, live and in person without judgement. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll be in touch.