5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had a Baby
1. Lower your expectations. That perfect dinner you had time to prepare? Nope. Accept that putting something on the table is a major victory. And frozen pizza counts, especially in those first few months. Oh, and the pride you take in a spotless kitchen/family room/bathroom? Flush that down the drain. It isn't really important. IF you can afford someone to help clean the house, hire them now. Communicate these lowered expectations to your partner.
2. Know who to listen to. When it comes to babies, everyone has an opinion. Here's the catch- they have never had your baby. They aren't in your situation. For me, I trusted my pediatrician, my mom and my instincts. Figure out who you trust, and just smile and nod to everyone else.
3. Sleep is SUCH a precious commodity. I never understood what exhausted meant until I had a baby...especially one who didn't sleep much. I didn't realize that when babies feed every three hours, you count from when they start to feed. For example, midnight feeding. My son took 45 minutes to feed, then I had to pump for 45 minutes, then I had to try to get back to sleep myself. By the time that happened, it was almost time for the next feeding. I was probably certifiably insane at one point, which isn't safe for anyone. Hire a babysitter for a few hours so you can take a nap. Skip cooking dinner, put some sandwich stuff on the counter, and go sleep. If you are having a hard time sleeping because you are anxious or just have insomnia, talk to your doctor. Between meds and therapy, you can figure a way out of the hole.
4. Figure out who the "new" you is. I was terrified to lose myself after having kids. I have seen so many moms just completely absorbed by their children's lives that they don't even know who they are. Ok, so you won't be ruling the beer pong table anymore (at least until you can find a competent sitter), but maybe you realize that you have a knack for making homemade granola. Who knows. Just figure out what makes you tick now, and do the new you.
5. This too shall pass. Most important- any phase, issue or challenge that your child presents will pass. It might take a different form, it might take a while to work out, but things change. Kids grow, change and learn every day. Just because your little guy is refusing to eat today doesn't mean that he won't be gulping down the bottle tomorrow.
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