New Mom, you need to TREAT YOSELF. Yep I said it.
And I’ll tell you why.
Happy Wife, Happy Life.
Happy Baby, Happy Mama.
We’ve all heard those things before. And they’re ‘things’ because they’re totally true. But here’s another one for you: Happy Mama, Happy EVERYTHING.
Now THAT’S some truth.
Because basically, Happy Mama = Happy Wife/Life/Baby/Kids/House/Bills/Yard/Laundry Room/Tummies…and the list could go on (& on & on). And a Happy new Mom sets the stage for it all.
It’s no secret that Mamas bring their A game. We make things happen. But you know what else we do? We think about everyone else first.
Especially as we get ready to become a new Mom.
When Motherhood is on the horizon, we go into this remarkable superhuman nesting/preparation/save-and-get-the-world-ready mode. And we forget about ourselves.
We pour every ounce of energy into getting ready to HAVE a baby, but we don’t always think about getting ready to BE a Mama.”
But I’m thinking about you, New Mom. I see you. I was you. I am you.
In all the crazy of getting ready for baby, don’t forget about you. Don’t forget about Mama. Because the day you welcome a child into your arms will be the beginning of the rest of your life. That’s heavy. And while you’re getting the nursery & all the sweet touches ready for baby, throw a little love your own way, too.
You’ll be a new Mom before you know it, and you’ll deserve it.
Trust me on that. You’ll realize just how much you deserve it soon enough.
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So I made you a list. A list of things a new Mom should have.
There are a zillion baby registry guides out there, including my baby registry list. And those lists are awesome because a prepared Mama (well, as prepared as you can be for leaving your house alone & coming home with a tiny completely dependent human being) is a more relaxed & happy Mama.
But there are definitely not a zillion new Mom lists out there.
I never came across one in my “getting ready for baby” research. So, here are a few of my favorite things to help make your life happier & easier & more special as you gain the best title in the world by doing something totally superheroine-ish like welcoming a baby into this big, scary, beautiful world.
(I also made you another list of things to do before the baby comes. 10 things. Trust me.)
C’MON MAMA’s New Mom Necessities
With 1 baby, I couldn’t do without it. With 2, not a chance. It frees up my hands to hold my babies and groceries and diaper bag etc….which is important because we only have 2 hands (even though everyone seems to think we have 50). It’s—in a word—amaze. This little strap keeps me from dropping my phone approximately 243 times a day and it doesn’t stretch out or fall off. And when your baby is napping on you (melt melt melt), this allows you to use your phone one-handed without dropping it (& waking up baby) or fatiguing your hand. It’s a must-have. And better than the little knob thing. Or the loop.
Obsessed. I’ve only taken it off maybe 5 times since I got it 5 years ago. It’s perfect. It’s delicate but sturdy, and soldered at the top so it won’t flip upside down. I have the MAMA one in gold. I also love this silver one. Fact: MAMA is my most favorite word in the history of the world. I have a feeling it will be yours, too.
Turns out I’m an adult now and I get back pain. Boo. Carrying around a 55lb
toddler child and 35lb baby toddler (when did they grow up?) will do that to you. This is one of the LARGEST heating pads I could find. I use it every single night, even in the summer. If it breaks, I may or may not cry (I will), and I’ll definitely immediately reorder it.
4. A Village
When I was pregnant with my first I was reading a “You’re Going to be a Mom” magazine at the OB office & there was a page on “Best Advice for New Moms.” One quote was from a new Mom who had her own Mama come stay for 2 weeks after her baby’s birth & she said it was the best decision she’d ever made. I literally picked up the phone right that second & called my Mama to ask her to come stay with us for 2 weeks once our baby arrived. She said of course she’d be there as much as I needed her. But I was all like “No no no, Mom. I mean I want you to MOVE IN for 2 weeks and not leave.”
I got my wish. To have someone there to help us with all the mundane life stuff so we could soak in the precious new baby we created was priceless.
I’m super blessed because I have family all around me so it was possible to have my mom come stay with me. Not everyone has a Mama, not everyone has family, not everyone has backup. I realize that. I’d say to try to find it wherever you can—in a best friend, a relative, a neighbor, or even just an awesome babysitter that you find. We all do better with a Village, if we can find one. If you can’t find one, build one.
You don’t win an award for doing this thing called Motherhood and bringing a baby into the world all on your own. Don’t try to prove that you don’t need help. Honestly, if anything, maybe try to prove that you do.
And if you have a spouse, let them be your partner. Don’t try to do it all. Ask for help.
You’re a brand new mom, take whatever you need.
Having a supportive & engaged partner who is as excited about being a parent as you is a wonderful thing. Let them take on some of that responsibility in even the earliest days, because those nitty gritty moments taking care of your newborn are also some of the most important bonding moments. Even the diaper changes. Yes, really. And likewise, be sure to share some of the sweetest moments, too. It can be easy to hog all that love (guilty), but it’s a thousand times better to share it.
Side note: If you don’t have a partner or you don’t have a Village and you’re largely going it alone, I bow down, Mama. Know that you can do this and will hit quite possibly the highest Superhero status there is. You go Mama.
5. Babysitter Budget
Speaking of backup, start stashing some cash because good babysitters are worth their weight in gold. You need backup. Even if you think you have enough backup in your partner and family and friends—trust me—you’ll want more. And the going rate is steep. Like Mount Everest steep. (I don’t think Mount Everest is actually the steepest mountain, but you get my point.)
Yes, Spanx makes leggings. They work miracles. (They also make jeans. Mind blown, I know. But for now we’ll talk leggings since leggings are basically my Mama uniform.) My favorites are these and these. If Amazon is out of stock in your size, fear not, they update inventory all the time. Clearly I’m obsessed. They’re so cute & stylish + comfortable after baby (well maybe give it a month) and they make Mama look—and feel—goooood. These are one of my most holy grail new Mom items (I have 5 pairs, and 5 years later, they’re still rocking their HG status). Bravo Sara Blakely. You done good, girl.
7. Granny Panties & Unscented Soap
Ahhh, the glamour. But I’m just trying to keep it real. You’ll need/want these after birth if it’s a VD. Go ahead and have them on hand so you don’t have to go to Target and buy some while trying to make your regular cheeky undies work for that hour. (Spoiler alert: They won’t. But not to worry, they will again. Promise.)
I was going to say “A Vice” but those are supposed to be “bad” and you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life, Mama. You also don’t need to feel guilty (there is enough mom-shaming to go around already), but “guilty pleasure” is catchy so I’m sticking with it.
Maybe it’s coffee. Maybe it’s reality TV. Maybe it’s a new book series. Maybe it’s a show you can binge on. Maybe it’s exercising. Maybe it’s not exercising. Maybe it’s ice cream. Maybe it’s trash magazines. Maybe it’s a glass of wine. Maybe it’s two. Maybe it’s sleeping. Maybe it’s all the movies you’ve been wanting to see. Maybe it’s sitting down and doing absolutely nothing. Man does that feel good.
Whatever it is, it’s yours.
Own it and enjoy it. You’ll be surprised how good it feels to have something of your own those first few weeks and even months. Some babies sleep a lot at the beginning. Some babies don’t sleep at all. Same for night. But whether your baby is conked out in the crib or you’re walking him to sleep or holding her so she won’t cry, it’s nice to have your own personal arsenal of entertainment for whenever you want it.
I binged on the first season of This is Us and discovered my love for Closed Captioning in the process. And if you think that show makes you emotional on your best day, imagine being a week postpartum and having all the feels about everything. But I loved it and will always remember pacing the room with my newborn daughter asleep in my arms while laughing & crying with the Pearson family.
I thought I would have no time to myself once I became a Mama, and some days that’s 1000% true. But, the other truth is that some days you actually do get some solid time to yourself (give or take a sleeping baby in tow). When they become mobile, it’s a different story and all bets are off. But I’m still a huge advocate of being selfish with your time to help avoid mom burnout.
If you don’t have one, shut the front door. No really, shut the door, grab your computer and get one right now. It takes 2 seconds. This. Is. Important. Why? Because all the baby stuff you could ever want is on Amazon. Diapers, wipes, utensils…and yes, even those magical leggings. Sure, you can make a trip to the store to get it all. You can also cook 3 full meals a day. Or you can click a button and have stuff come to you. Make the smart choice. This is one of the most essential things on this whole list. Because Mama’s sanity matters. A lot. You can try it free for 30 days!
10. A Lighter Heart
You’ll want this to hold the ridiculously immense love you will feel for this tiny being.
Your new Mom heart will be overflowing approximately 1.2 seconds after you hold your child in your arms for the first time.
Start looking for a way to expand it. I’m currently trying to figure out how to build an addition on mine before it bursts out of my chest.
One of the best ways I’ve found to make a little more room in your heart is to let go of all the old, negative, drama-laden, petty stuff. Toss that aside & you’ll be shocked how much lighter you feel. It turns out that carrying around an actual human inside of you still isn’t as heavy as carrying around baggage.
Out with the old, in with the new. And the new is so damn incredible.
11. Free Space on Your Phone
You’re going to need it. Because as soon as your baby comes into the world you are going to be obsessed with said baby. And you are going to love documenting all the adorableness from Day 1. I’m not exaggerating that at this exact moment I have 15,595 pictures on my phone. It’s insane, I know. Probably 15,495 of those are pictures of my babies. Videos? I have 1,317. You think you’ll remember all the moments, but you won’t because new moments are happening all the time.
I take pictures to keep the memories alive.
Years & years down the road, I know having these pictures will bring me such happiness.
That’s not to say you should get caught up documenting your new life with baby instead of actually living it—it’s just to say that you are going to want pictures. Make space on your phone now. You may have an awesome camera. But the truth is, in those spontaneous moments of pure amazingness, you’re not going to have your camera on you. But you’ll probably have your phone.
When he falls asleep on you for the first time, you’re going to want that selfie. When she grabs your finger and doesn’t let go for an hour, you’re going to want that photo. Because pictures are memories. Period. And make the space now so you’ll be ready. Because your heart will sink when you get ready to record their first smile and your phone pops up with a “Not enough available storage” notification. You’ll cry. Trust me.
Note to Spouses (go ahead and show this to them, Mama): When you see the most tender moment between Mama & child, take the picture! We do it for you; you need to do it for us so every picture we have with our child isn’t a selfie. I’ll say it again: Take. The. Picture.”
12. The Qeepsake App
Download this app now. I LOVE IT. Again, you think you’ll remember all of the extra precious moments. Because how could you forget something so adorable? Well, for starters: New Mom Brain. That’s how. And then on top of that throw in some regular Mom Brain plus exhaustion, life, work, hanger (if you’re anything like me), responsibilities, and more precious moments happening all the while. You’ll think you couldn’t possibly forget the cutest sentence your kid will ever say or the way your newborn stopped wailing when you asked if they were hungry (how does a 2 week old know the word “hungry?”) or when your toddler sleeps with a bath knee pad because he says it’s his life jacket. But you do. You do forget.
Enter my fave baby/kid app: Qeepsake. I tried a few before falling in love with this one. Qeepsake sends you a nightly text message asking you something about your baby that day. You can have it ask you about multiple children on a rotating schedule (one night I get a question about my son, the next night I get a question about my daughter). You can change the frequency & time of the texts, skip a question you don’t love, or just text in your own memories, too. And you can even text pictures. It’s the single best way I’ve found to keep up with all the moments & memories & milestones.
The fact that it’s both text-based & has it’s own app is HUGE. Because we all sit down & check our texts at some point. And you’ll see it right there. If I miss 3 weeks straight, I don’t bat an eye. I just answer whichever questions I want whenever I want.
On the same note as Qeepsake, we heard about this idea & loved it & are doing it-ish. Get an email address for your child & send emails occasionally. Imagine what a sweet & cool thing that will be for them to have one day. That being said, this still doesn’t take the place of something like Qeepsake because we rarely remember to email our children something. In fact just writing this post made me realize we haven’t even done this for our daughter who is 3 years old. Parent Fail (poor second child). But, we do Qeepsake for both. No, I don’t work for Qeepsake. I just really love and appreciate it. It was created by parents, and you can tell.)
13. Mom Friends
Don’t worry if you don’t have any yet. You will inevitably meet some. They will become your Tribe. Or at least a subset of it. If you already do have some, don’t be afraid to use them. Fellow Mamas are your secret weapon. For real.
I think other Mamas are the single best resource any Mama—and especially a New Mom—can have.
I absolutely wore my Mama friends out with questions on everything from my baby registry to when I’m supposed to do what, and of course lots of calls & texts asking the New Mom rite-of-passage question: “Is this normal?”
And don’t feel bad about it. Other Mamas want to help you. Plus, what goes around comes around, and you will be the one dishing out advice in no time.
For those of you lucky ones like myself with your own Mama still in the beautiful picture, don’t forget that:
1) They’ve been there.
2) They’ve done that.
3) If you think you turned out alright then that should be reassurance that they know this drill. (If you turned out terribly then we may need to have a longer conversation.) And almost no one’s going to be as invested in the welfare of your baby as your own parent. Not even just because it’s their baby’s baby, but because it’s also their Grand. Mama Bear instinct & ferocity is real. You know who else has that? A Grand Bear.
Everything is a short stage. Sometimes you’re glad it’s short and sometimes you’re sad it’s short. When you’re struggling and your baby is up all night for a week straight, the next week he might be sleeping through the night. Wanting to be constantly held one week, feeling completely independent the next. Fussing because teeth are coming in one week, the next week you’re staring at her adorable toothy grin. Your house might be messy & there might be little child handprints everywhere today, but soon enough that will change. And you’ll miss it.
It goes fast.
The hard moments can seem slow and the easy amazing moments can seem fast. It’s bittersweet and heartbreaking and fantastic at the same time.
Welcome to the best hood in the world, New Mom.
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