Whether you are about to have a baby, just had a baby, or are a seasoned mom, you can apply the suggestions below to your daily lifestyle. And when I say “new mom” it means any mom that has a new baby, whether it is your first baby or subsequent baby. No matter where you are in your motherhood journey, I commend you! Being a mom is hard work. And being a new mom has a whole other set of challenges. You are sleep deprived. You are overwhelmed. Your body has changed. Your daily routine has changed. Your marriage and or family have possibly changed. Your world is a little foggy and upside down.
I always tell new parents that if they can get through the first six weeks, they will have made it through the hardest part. Granted I feel like there are a lot of hard parts, but there is something about those first six weeks that are exceptionally more difficult. Since my second baby just turned 6 weeks and I have been reminded of some hardships new moms experience so here is some of the advice I personally live by!
- If you haven’t already, talk to your partner/spouse about each of the roles you are going to play. Who will be changing the diapers? Who will be doing the cleaning? Who will be cooking meals? Don’t assume that just because one of you did a certain task before the baby was born means that the same person will be doing that same task now. In addition, don’t assume your partner will bring up the slack if it’s not done. As a couple, determine who will do what and that you both have the same expectations.
- Plan a playdate/momdate once a week. This is easier when you have an older child and have already cultivated friendships with other moms. But even if you are a first time mom, you can make plans with another girlfriend (even if she doesn’t yet have children) or a family member. You can even join a local mom meet up group or a mommy and me class that other moms are in attendance. Having weekly dates allows you to get out of the house at least once a week and socialize. It allows you to get out of your everyday routine and it also gives you something to look forward to. Making plans holds you more accountable and more likely to follow through with your plans with others than if you were to plan a solo event. Being around others socially will help improve your mood and wellbeing – especially since being a new mom can be somewhat isolating. Having a conversation with another mom will save your sanity!
- Take a shower when you first wake up. Yes, as moms we joke about not having the time or energy to shower most days, and sometimes that is true. However, even if you just rinse off for two minutes you will feel more invigorated to start your day and it will also improve your mood and start your day in a positive direction. If you are like me, you will likely have spit up or food remnants or a combination of the two somewhere on your body by the time you go to bed. Rinsing off the previous day’s (or middle of the night) dirtiness will not only psychologically trick your mind into feeling better, but you will also smell nicer, and feel more refreshed. And by undressing and redressing, you will most likely put on a different and new outfit than you had on previously. So put the baby down for a few minutes in a safe place, give your toddler an iPad, and allow yourself to have a brief time to kick start your day. Try to just put on some mascara and lip gloss. You’ll feel a world of difference. You may even have time to brush your teeth and go to the bathroom!
- Take a walk everyday. Taking a walk everyday will give you some much needed Vitamin D, exercise, and fresh air. I especially recommend a walk around early evening when the baby is approaching the witching hour and or when you find yourself getting overwhelmed and stressed and needing a break. This will help you and your baby (and other children) reset and all reap the benefits! Make sure you drink plenty of water!
- Rotate sleeping, cleaning, and working during naps. When I was a first time mom I’d hear the advice to sleep when the baby sleeps, which is great advice. However, as a second time mom it is much more difficult since my toddler doesn’t take naps anymore. So even if the baby is asleep, I don’t have the luxurious option to also sleep. Every once in a while I get lucky and have the rare opportunity to take a nap during the day but when I don’t, I at least have quiet time where my toddler reads books or does puzzles next to me in bed while I “rest.” And I rotate doing work one day, cleaning or cooking the following day, and then maybe “resting” the next day. This way I still allow myself to take a break but also get things done when I cant otherwise when the baby is awake. Sometimes I even take this time to have special mommy toddler time too!
- Wear your baby as much as possible. This allows you to be close to your baby but also be hands free. After my first baby I didn’t get much done because instead of carrying her in a wrap or carrier, I held her and I could barely eat or drink more or less anything else. I was able to keep her close to me but I learned the second time around that I can still keep my baby close to me by carrying him and also being hands free to assist my toddler or do other things around the house or even write this blog!
- If someone offers you help, take it! If a friend offers to bring you dinner, say yes! If someone you know and trust offers to babysit your eldest child, let them! If someone you love offers to help clean your house or pick up something for you at the store, don’t hesitate! The first time around I didn’t do this very much but this time around I was more than happy to accept each and every offer!
- Download The Wonder Weeks If you haven’t heard of this app, you must look it up immediately. This app is on point and so helpful to determine your baby’s developmental milestones and prepare you for when your baby might be more irritable and difficult solely due to their cognitive, physical and emotional development. Trust me, if your baby is off one day from their norm, chances are you check the app and it will tell you your baby is going through another leap, causing your baby to be a little fussier than usual. I found the app to be pretty accurate. The app works for the first 84 weeks of your child’s life. After that, you are on your own!
- Change your Clothes. Even if you take off a pair of dirty yoga pants and put on a pair of clean yoga pants, make the effort to change your clothes each day. It physically will change your outlook on the day but also psychologically shift your mind in thinking you are more refreshed than you probably feel. Plus, as I said earlier, your previous day’s clothes are probably stained with some sort of bodily fluid or food so changing your clothes will be healthier and cleaner for your baby to rest their head on!
- Sign up for Grocery Delivery Service. I have been an Amazon Prime member for years and I believe it is truly vital service to any parent, especially a new parent when errands become more difficult to accomplish on a regular basis. Furthermore, signing up for Amazon Fresh and getting my groceries delivered to my house once a week has been one of the best decisions of motherhood. For only roughly $15 a month, I can easily put my list of groceries for the week in my virtual cart and have them delivered anytime I want the following day. I can get gluten free and organic food including eggs, ice cream, and fresh meats. And ordering groceries allows me to know exactly how much I’m spending each week, which helps me balance and be mindful of my budget.