April 5, 2011

Top Ten Things I’d Wish I’d Known as a New Mommy

Yesterday, Baby Bee toddled into Big Daddy’s office.  He emerged from the room, holding Baby Bee in his arms.  She was still tousled haired from getting up and she looked sleepy eyed  while she rested her head on his shoulder.

“Look how nice it is when they like you”, I quipped.  We had a laugh.  “I learned my lesson on that one.”

When the Princess was a baby I was one of THOSE mommies.  You know the kind.  No one does anything the right way.  Only MY way was right.  I cringe when I think about the fact that I would take the Princess off of Big Daddy when he wasn’t doing things “right”.  In the end, it affected the relationship Big Daddy got to have with the Princess.  It took years for that to begin to self correct.  And it was my fault.

So, new mommies?  Here’s Jamie’s quick and dirty list of things I’d wish I’d known as a new mommy myself.

1) Let Your Husband Make His Own Mistakes

Big Daddy was never going to harm the Princess by taking a different path than me to take care of her.  Unless your husband is a dunder head, chances are he’s not going to hurt YOUR baby.  I know that you’ve probably spent hours reading books and consulting Professor Google on the best way to do everything from diapering processes to lullabies, but your husband is capable of making decisions  and the relationship they’ll form will benefit all of you when HE can get the cup of apple juice while you’re trying to take a shower.

2) Accept help when it’s offer and ask for help when you need it

After birth, you might be on a high and feel like you can do everything and anything and while you can, it’s important to remember that you’ve just finished an incredible physical process and you NEED to rest.  If someone offers to stop at the grocery store or deliver you dinner, take it.  Taking it slow in the early days will mean less set backs, less exhaustion and an easier recovery.  If you need help, be sure to ask for it.  You’re not a hero.  There’s no special gold stars given out if you come home from the hosptial and put in a 20 hour work day.

3) Your baby will not know its own name.

I remember being shocked that the cat picked up her name quicker than the baby.  You can pretty much call your baby whatever you want for some time.  It has no idea whether you’re calling them Mary or Boomerang.   Even if their name is  Stan.  This was a surprise to me.

4) You Do Not Have to Buy Expensive Baby Laundry Soap

Just buy your preferred brand in their “free and clear” (dye free/perfume free) option.  Then, the entire family can use the same laundry soap and you don’t have to spend one million dollars on the extra special baby detergent which is not extra special.  Of course, the free and clear versions don’t come with that super extra special baby laundry smell.  With one baby, it was no big deal to wash her tiny clothes by themselves but with three kids, it was far easier to watch Baby Bee’s clothes with the rest of the families.

5) Skip the Diaper Pails!

They smell terrible no matter what sort of fancy odor deterrents they have.  We found, even when the Princess was little that our kitchen garbage went out daily and that was a much better outcome than toting the bag out of the diaper pail every week.  TRUST me.  Want an odor protection layer?  Tie dirty diapers up in those rapidly multiplying plastic bags you have floating around your house.

6) You will fall in love with body parts

My heart goes pitter patter looking at the way Littlebit’s hair grew into a swirl.  Knobbly knees, chunky ankles, tiny wrinkly elbows, toes the size of tic tacs.   I’m currently in a relationship with Baby Bees teeny tiny (but nearly always bruised) knees.  I kiss them every chance I get.  They’re so adorable.  How can I not?

7) Babies don’t have to be expensive

Oh, let’s be honest.  It’s not cheap to feed and diaper a baby.  But, the marketing machine makes things seem much worse.  You don’t really need a diaper pail (they stink!), or a baby wipe warmer, I actually wrote about this in detail last year. The point is, if you want to spend a gazillion dollars, it’s fine bu necessary.  Don’t believe the hype!  Your baby will not enjoy that five hundred dollar stroller more than they’ll enjoy the one that costs a hundred dollars.  Trust me.  They’ll probably hate them equally.

8) You Will Lose Yourself for a Little While.  Be Sure to Get Yourself Back

One the Princess was born, I identified as her mommy first.  Everything I was up to that point was shoved into a dark closet.  I was a Mother.  It took a few years, but I manged to get myself back a little bit.  Mom being happy is a big factor in the happiness of her children, so, try not to be a martyr. Or a perfect mommy.  Make time for your partner AND for yourself.  It’s better for your kids if you are.  It’s been proven scientifically!

9) Store brands and hand-me-downs are just fine

When I was a new mom, I was certain that cost equated to quality.  Pampers had to be better than Loves.  Enfamil had to be better than Parent’s Choice.  New clothes had to be better.  Doesn’t it mean I love my baby more if I spend more?  It doesn’t.  If your baby doesn’t leak in a less expensive brand of diaper, why not spend less money? (except, when I can find those adorable Cynthia Rowley diapers again?  I’m buying them up.  Srsly.  Adorable.)   If your sister-in-law has a passel of hardly worn sleepers, use them.  The day will be coming when hand-me-downs are less plentiful  (Once your baby hits about 2t they’ll stop growing so quickly and will actually wear clothing out).     On that token, if you plan to have more children, launder your sleepers and baby clothing well with a good dose of oxyclean. Formula stains you thought were long eradicated will show up while your baby clothes are in storage

10) Don’t wish away where you are for what’s next

Newborns are precious.  Boring, but precious.  You’ll yearn for those first smiles and giggles, but don’t spend so much time focusing on milestones and the next stage and miss out on the wonderful things that are happening at that very second.  I spent the Princess’s babyhood worried about development and being so anxious for the next step that I missed the wonderful moment we were in.  Don’t.  Your baby will grow so quickly they’ll be one in what feels like the blink of an eye.  Don’t waste today.  It’s a gift.


Tied Up 5 Replies to “Top Ten Things I’d Wish I’d Known as a New Mommy”


5 thoughts on “Top Ten Things I’d Wish I’d Known as a New Mommy

    Author’s gravatar

    I see you failed to mention the time you almost killed me for giving a baby formula milkshake to her Majesty.

    Author’s gravatar

    But that was FUNNY. Though, formula doesn’t taste good to start with, so I shudder to think what formula pudding would’ve tasted like…

    Author’s gravatar

    Maybe it should be 11 things I wish I’d known

    11) Leave very specific instructions for baby sitters and your baby will NOT die if she ingests formula pudding..

    Author’s gravatar

    this is a great list. i particularly like #1 & #2 – letting dad be dad and receiving/asking for help when you need it! if there’s ever a time to ask, it’s when you first start having babies. most moms need all the help they can get!!! i like #7 & #9 too – most of our baby stuff was either hand-me-down, purchased used, or gotten for free from freecycle. we haven’t spent much at all and we have everything we need (and probably far more!). my only exception is that i do want a new, awesome double stroller though. my kids will be 20 months apart and my oldest still loves being in the stroller for walks. i want a good one that will last a long time (for next kid too) and the one i want (my dream stroller) is on the expensive side. but since i figure it’s the only thing we’ll really need (plus more diapers and a second crib, which i plan to get used) then the splurge will be worth it. well see what the kiddos think! :)

      Author’s gravatar

      I think when you have more than one small child, you do need to spend the money on a good double stroller. It’s a good investment. But if you have only one little kid? You probably don’t need that billion dollar hoity toity stroller. What, exactly, do they do better than the less expensive model? Probably not much.

      And, yes, learning to take help was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Martyr Mommy for the win!! (or fail, really).

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