1. It really is impossible to get things done.
I originally thought… not me! But ohhhhh man… God definitely has a sense of humor because my world has been ROCKED. First things first, I learned to give myself some grace. As a new Mom, everything (and I mean everythingggg) about your life is different and your priorities have entirely shifted. It’s okay to be okay with looking like a homeless person while your child looks like a pinterest photo shoot model. Something else I learned is that starting something is better than nothing. I’m the kind of person who likes to efficiently knock out projects as fast as possible and ideally in one or two sittings. Nope! Not anymore. Even this blog post has taken me weeks since I can only eat, sleep, and write in stolen moments. Something that’s helped me with keeping the house somewhat in order is to try and keep things in the room they are supposed to be put away in… even if they are on the floor. Then clean up bit by bit in stolen moments or whenever you and the baby are hanging out in that room. Basically just accept your fate, do the best you can every day, and give yourself some grace.
2. You will do more laundry in a day than you used to do two weeks.
And if you have a happy spitter you will do double that. Honest Laundry Detergent and Honest Dryer Cloths are our favorite especially her stain remover! Jake had originally tried scrubbing each stain with baking soda but that isn’t realistic when your baby spits up the equivalent of Niagara Falls. Our first attempt at the baking soda solution was a complete fail and as we were both pleading “there’s got to be a better wayyyy”… then beautiful Jessica Alba popped up out of nowhere on a talk show we had on the tv and started teaching the live audience about her baby stain remover. NO JOKE. It was a total Bruce Almighty “God send me a sign” moment. Plus I love her company anyways and I used to teach her daughter, Honor, dance in LA when we lived there. Anyways, we bought some and all you have to do is spray on the stain remover and toss them in the wash and just like magic the burp cloths and bibs are perfectly clean. Jessica Alba can dance AND get your stains out. Who knew?!
3. Get ready to cry.
And you’ll never actually know if you’re happy or sad when you are crying. You are just crying. Raging hormones + sleep deprivation + not ever REALLY knowing what you are doing + insane love for a tiny human that you’ve never felt before = tears on tears. I just learned to accept it and not try and figure out why I was crying but just ride out the emotions like a wave. Jake was also great about just accepting the tears and not trying to fix them. Whether it’s your spouse or a family member or friend just make sure you have someone who can encourage you and then take the baby for a second so you can have a moment to let the tears fall. Speaking of that…
4. You will need mama friends.
This is an understatement. No one really understands your crazy new mom self like your mama friends do. Make sure you have at least someone you can call at 3 am when you are about to lose your mind and then actually CALL THEM before all hope is lost. I joined a moms group through Baby + Company (a birth center here in Charlotte) and absolutely loved it. I also posted on our neighborhood facebook group to see if there were any new moms who wanted to meet up for some playground dates and I was amazed at the response. You will also meet new mom friends by just getting out of the house.. “duhn duhn duhhhhhn”… yep I said it. Leave the house. Not only will it help you feel like a normal member of society again but speaking to adults instead of babies is a very good thing for your sanity. If you don’t know where to go, walking around Target is always a great mood booster and you’re guaranteed to run into another mom who is also hoping no one notices her dark eye circles and leaking boobs.
5. Breast feeding is tough but worth it!
First of all I absolutely understand that everyone has their own story and that fed is definitely best! I also know that everyone wants to give breastfeeding their best shot as it really is one of the most natural acts in the world and so sweet to be able to bond with your baby in that way. I read a book that said breastfeeding can be completely painless if baby has a good latch right from the beginning. Leea Rae was a breastfeeding champ right from the beginning but I still had some pain and obstacles to overcome. Within two minutes after birth she had literally army crawled up my body and latched on. I’ve called her my little Rae shark ever since because she loves taking a big ole bite of boob and gets so excited when it’s time to eat. Jake thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world and makes sure he’s the one to deliver the hungry little sharky to me so he can watch her little show she puts on. Her latch definitely wasn’t perfect at first and I wish I had immediately had a nurse or lactation consultant help me because I went about 12 hours before I really got some professional advice and even in that time I was starting to feel blisters and soreness. Once I really understood what it felt like firsthand and Jake knew what to look for too, we were golden. I also wish I would have brought this Earth Mama Nipple Butter with me to the hospital. As soon as I started using it, my blisters and soreness cleared up. I also had pumped a little before her birth (you’ll do anything when you are approaching 42 weeks pregnant) so I had expressed some colostrum. Putting that on my nipples and letting them dry out was also key in my breastfeeding journey. Right around day 10 I noticed I wasn’t feeling any soreness any more and Leea, although still a Rae shark, was a latching champion and we have been doing great ever since. Note: If you have trouble with a low milk supply see my “Mama Must Haves” post for some nutritional advice in that space. I love treating my body well with really good, whole plant food and I attribute that and staying hydrated to my very generous milk supply. I feel blessed that I’ve been able to not only feed Leea (girl has got some serious plant-powered fat rolls already) but also able to donate my extra milk to another baby in my pediatrician’s practice. I was so proud to be able to help out another family! It’s hard work being healthy y’all but so worth it.
6. Trust your body.
Who runs the world? GIRLS. Thank you Queen B for that perfect lyric because our bodies are beautifully and wonderfully made and we should fuel them like the amazing machines they are. I mean come on we have the ability to create a new life, a new heartbeat, a new brain. My goodness our God is an awesome God is He not?! Something that just kept coming into my head all throughout my pregnancy, my natural labor and delivery, and the first few months of Leea’s life so far was the phrase “trust your body.” I have put that phrase on repeat in my head so many times and especially whenever that dreaded doubt starts creeping into your thoughts. How am I going to make it to 40 weeks (42 if you’re lucky like me) with this giant bump? How am I going to endure the most intense sensations (trying not to use the word painful here but let’s be honest about the natural labor battle) while I fight for the natural birth I want? How am I going to produce enough milk to help this precious, helpless little life grow big and strong? Three words. Trust your body. God created you and your beautiful self so you better at least start attempting to love yourself as much as He loves you. Now, I will tell you however… in order to truly trust your body well, you have to TREAT your body well. This includes the way you eat, drink, sleep, think, and feel. How about this for starters? Eat plants, drink water, sleep more, think positive, and feel loved. More on all of these things later otherwise those of you who know me personally know we will be on this topic all day.
7. A six minute hot, uninterrupted shower is your new 5 star all inclusive resort vacation.
If you don’t have any help during the day make sure you make showering a priority when the baby is asleep or as soon as you can pass him or her off to someone for a bit. Everyone always says sleep when the baby sleeps. NO. Shower when the baby sleeps and then sleep after that. Being covered in dried milk that has leaked from your boobs, spit up, and the food you attempted to eat with your left hand while holding baby is only funny for a few hours. Then you will be OVER IT (remember those tears I mentioned before). So make sure you get your shower in and bonus points if you use an absurd amount of lavender body wash and blast worship music while you do it.
8. It’s okay to feel out of control.
For those of you like me who have lists for your lists and feel incomplete if your Passion Planner isn’t filled in appropriately… I’m sure you went through the same panicky season I did. How am I supposed to stay organized when I can’t even brush my teeth twice a day? Well, I have news for you… you are not supposed to stay organized. I’m definitely still working to accept this new mom fact of life. My husband and I run our own virtual franchise business from home so I’ve had to really work on balancing life, work, and family. It’s still a daily struggle for me to check even a few things off of my to do list so I’m learning to breathe, set smaller daily goals, and trust in the Lord’s timing. It’s so easy to lose sight of the big picture when the details feel so intimidating. And if you are an entrepreneur like me, you will feel even more pressure to jump back into your work as soon as you can. I’m realizing more and more that the most important job I will ever accept is my role as a mama in my baby’s life. And in the future when I look back, I know I will want to remember those precious mama moments forever. So whenever you feel overwhelmed… practice gratitude, pray, and ask for help where you need it. (Don’t you dare feel one ounce of shame or guilt because mama, you are working so hard and you deserve all of the help you can get! Bottom line. Everyone feels out of control and they should because only God is in control of our story. And trust me, He’s got you wrapped up in His arms and in His beautiful plan for your life.
9. Make time to do what makes you YOU.
Don’t let your passions die with your new role as a mama. What did you love to do before the baby came? What makes you feel excited, passionate, motivated? Maybe it’s working out or playing a sport? Maybe it’s writing, reading, or cooking? For me, it’s always going to be dancing. Even though it’s been tough at times, Jake has helped me make sure that we’ve carved out room in our schedule for me to teach at least one night in the studio, accept choreography jobs when they arise, and coach the Charlotte Latin School Dance Team. I have been in a dance studio ever since I was two years old and it’s still my happy place. I want my daughter to grow up knowing ALL of what makes her mama her mama. Don’t let go of something you love for your babies. Instead, make time to do what you love FOR them.
10. Your heart will grow and grow and grow and grow.
Everyone always told me that but I never really understood what they meant. Even though you don’t think it’s possible, every day when you look at your baby you love them even more than the day before. You will wonder how in the world you created something so perfect and you can’t even remember what life was like before she or he was here. Your relationship with your husband will strengthen through the trials and tribulations that inevitably come up, and you can’t even imagine how much your loved ones will adore (and spoil) your little one. It’s truly the sweetest season with the sweetest moments and I pray that you soak every second up with a big slice of gluten-free, vegan bread. 😉 You’ve got this mama!