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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

New Mom Advice

This post is for my sister-in-law Marian who is expecting her first baby in a few weeks. There were cards to write advice at her baby shower, and I sat there, with no thoughts at all about what to tell her. So here is your advice <3

1. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. 
I've known you long enough to know that you and I share in this pride of being able to do things ourselves without any help. It feels amazing to accomplish things on your own, and I encourage you to embrace the hard work and overcome challenges, because you will seriously feel like a superhero...but when you're reaching a breaking point (and we all do), don't be afraid to admit that, and ask someone to help you.
What my living room looked like my first day home alone after Maddie was born. I thought it would be a good time to catch up on laundry. Don't be stupid like me.

2. At the same time, don't be afraid to tell people no. 
Sometimes accepting help is more tiring than just doing it yourself, and all you need to do is relax in your messy house for a day to recover instead of having someone over to help you. Don't be afraid to speak your mind when it comes to your baby. He's yours. You don't owe him, or an explanation of your parenting choices to anyone. Don't worry about making anyone happy but Austin, everyone else will get over it.

3. Some days, your house will be a mess, your baby will be screaming, you'll forget the last time you took a shower...and that's totally okay. 
I promise you we've all been there, and some seasons of life are a little more messy and stressful than others. Remember that it's not forever, but it's okay that it's like that right now. Snuggle the baby, put on some Netflix and just enjoy these moments when he's tiny. Forget about everything else. In 8 years, you'll look back and all you'll remember is how tiny he was, and wish you could go back to when just sitting on the couch holding him was all it took to make him happy. You won't remember the things that don't matter.

4. Take SO many pictures. 
Take pictures of him sleeping, videos of him sleeping, take 100 of the same baby pose that he will lay in for the first few weeks when he's not really doing much else. You may laugh about it later, but you won't regret capturing those moments to look back on as he grows. You'll never get to go back and take more, so just take a million now to be safe.

5. I know you know this one, but for when you have those moments of "I am totally messing up my baby!" (which we all wonder at some point), forget what he is "supposed" to be doing, and just do what works.
 If that means he only naps while you hold him, then hold him. Sleeping in the wrong place is better than not sleeping in the right place. I promise you he will eventually sleep in his own bed and you haven't screwed him up for life by holding him while he sleeps.

6. This is so cliche, and people with kids scoff at this one all of the time like it's an impossible feat, but seriously, sleep when the baby sleeps.
 Everything and everyone else can wait. Sleep whenever you can in the beginning, or it's some unwritten rule that the day you skip napping, the baby will decide it's time to party all night and after being awake for 36 hours, you'll be kicking yourself for not just taking a nap instead of folding laundry.

7. Talk to other grown ups.
 People who don't care if the only time you have to have a conversation is while feeding a baby, changing a diaper, or pacing with a baby who is crying and won't go to sleep. You will go crazy if you don't talk to people who understand reason and logic and will start to wonder if the world still exists outside of your house. So text, call, invite someone over, come to my house ;) and talk. Even if all you talk about is spit up. It will feel good to talk to someone who doesn't wear diapers.

8. Don't be afraid to leave your house with the baby by yourself.
 The first few times will be hard and overwhelming, you'll feel like by the time you get ready and leave it will just be time to feed him again so what's the point, but it feels SO fantastic to know you can do it. Bonus, he'll get used to leaving the house and doing things with you, so as he gets older, it will be no big deal and won't be super stressful for either of you to be out and about. It's so worth it.

9. Drink water and eat food.
 Sounds like a no brainer, but you will not believe how easy it just is to forget some days when you are so caught up in taking care of someone else. You'll reach a point where you feel like a Sims character who suddenly realized they are so hungry they are going to die. Don't get to that point.
Our first anniversary dinner when Nathan was just a couple of weeks old

10. You will love this little person more than you even knew was possible.
 Alright, so not so much advice as just a fact. But it's true. You'll wonder how it's even possible. And you'll love Brian more because of Austin. It's an amazing thing to suddenly be holding this tiny person that you made, that grew inside of you. It's just crazy. Nothing can really prepare you for that.

I'm so excited for you to meet him!

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