Life with a baby. It can be a tough ride right? But really, it’s not as hard as you would think. Sometimes we have those days, weeks or maybe even months where motherhood can be tough on the soul. You wonder if you’ll make it through the day — or get a shower. You wonder if that sweet bundle of joy will ever stop crying or just take a bottle. As for my own advice — just be you. Follow your heart. Forget all of the advice (except all of the ones below, duh!) and do what you think is best for your family. Whether it’s bottle feeding, breast feeding, co-sleeping — you have to do what is best for you regardless of what the baby books say.
It can be hard — but with the perfect advice from real moms who have been through it all — you’ll stay sane in no time. Take note, you’ll want to write these down.
1. Do It Your Way
Diana of DianaWrote.com: My dad once told me not to become fixated on how other families did things. He reminded me that there were many ways to raise a happy child and that as adults, we could decide the kind of way(s) that worked for us. We didn’t have to be bound by how we were raised or what others thought. That was very freeing in the midst of being a rather terrified new mom with loads of advice and judgment.
2. Find a Mentor
Kacia of Coconut Robot: Find a mom with older children with traits you admire and watch her. Reach out and ask for advice if you have questions! Motherhood can be polarizing, so be willing to look objectively and lovingly at how others choose to parent — you don’t need to be best friends with every other mom simply because you are moms.
3. All You Need Is Food
Alice of Mildly Inappropriate Mommy has simple advice: Don’t forget to eat!
4. Create Down Time
Kilee of One Little Momma: What helped keep me the most sane while having my first, second or third baby was having a creative outlet. I started my small business when my first little boy was a baby and it was my sanity. It was always important to me to be a stay at home mom, but staying at home with my first little one meant a whole new life of focusing on someone else all of the time. It meant long days while he napped, staying home at night while he went to bed early, and a brain overload of figuring out another human. With starting a business I had new skills to learn and projects to tackle in my down time and something else to think about that got me excited. My problem solving skills and creative juices stayed fresh. I don’t think that starting a business is a must, but having a hobby that is exciting and creative is my best advice for staying true to yourself as you start life as a mom. It could be a blog, sewing, cooking, graphic design, consulting, photography or building furniture — but find something that will fill you up and keep helping you to learn new things. There isn’t always a lot of extra time with a baby, but building something for me in those spare hours has been worth it.
5. To Each His Own
Jen of jenloveskev.com: To take all advice with a grain of salt. Everyone has an opinion and they all won’t fit what’s best for your family. Just trust your instincts and be confident in the choices you make for your kids.
6. Don’t Compare
Amanda of Wild Frays: I think the big thing for me (no one told me this, but I wish they would have) is don’t compare your baby to other babies. Each one is so different and they all have their own timelines. If one baby is starting to walk at 10 months and yours is still having trouble at 12 months, try your hardest to not beat yourself up or feel defeated. Trust in yourself that you are a great mom and are doing your absolute best. As long as they know you love them and are proud of them no matter what their accomplishments are or when they achieve them, that’s all that matters.
7. Accept the Help
Cassidy of O My Darlings Blog: Having a baby totally rocks your world in magical ways but in really tough ways too. What kept me sane was allowing my supports to do what they were trying to do, support me. I still remember one day, when my daughter was around 3 weeks old. She had been crying for what seemed like hours, and a call to the pediatrician left me with one word that didn’t provide any comfort… “colic.” As much as I wanted to be the one to comfort her and figure out what she needed, my resources felt totally depleted. I was emotionally and physically exhausted, probably had not eaten anything yet and desperately needed to take a shower. My mother-in-law came over and took my daughter into her arms. She immediately stopped crying. Was this just timing? Was it because all she wanted to do when I held her was nurse, but her poor little belly hurt and nursing was actually not what she needed? At that point, I just felt like crying. I decided to accept the help though, and after a nap, shower and lunch, I felt ready again to take on the insanity of mothering a newborn. I become a better mother when I give myself permission to ask for help and let people in. It really does take a village, and that does not make you less of a mother!
8. Plan Ahead
Maggie of MaggieWhitley.com: Planning easy activities a few times each week where I could practice my mom skills: going on a walk with the baby and dog, grocery shopping, going to a friend’s house or having the girls over for coffee. I started small and didn’t aim to achieve too much for each activity, but every successful trip out made me more and more confident about being a new mom. I also made sure to keep our diaper bag stocked. Whenever we got home I took a couple minutes to clean it out and refill it. Honestly, knowing it was stocked (and having a small backup version that stayed in the Jeep) rescued me many times.
9. Give Yourself a Break
Amy of Little Hip Squeaks: Go outside! It was the only thing that would make my son relax. Take them for a walk, get coffee or an alternative: ice cream. He looked around or slept while I got a break.
Devan of Babble.com: What kept me sane during life with a baby was wearing my baby often — I try for at least three to four hours a day! I found that the more I carried my baby with me in a sling, wrap or structured carrier, the happier he was during the day and the better he slept at night. It also allowed me two hands to care for my other children and do things (like light housework) that helped keep the clutter (and chaos) at bay — which helped me keep my sanity.
Photo credit: Veer