When I was a new mom, every single thing had to be perfect. I was the no medication at the birth, no TV EVER, breastfeeding until age 15, stay-at-home, sling wearing super mom I imagined I would be. This was true until my baby turned 18 months and I had a second baby. Then it became all about whatever made my life easier.
The fact is, I was happy both ways. I was happy as a mom who was entirely devoted to perfection the first year AND I was happy as a mom who chilled out a bit and took the "easy" way. Now that my kids are older, you can't even tell who had attachment, perfect mom and who had "do what you can" mom. So I say, do what makes you happy. Do what is "easier" and don't sweat it.
Writer Rhiana Maidenberg has a great piece on Huffington Post about moms who take the "easy road" and why that isn't always wrong. To celebrate those moms, I give you 7 shortcuts all new moms can and should take if they are feeling frazzled. See below:
- Buy the jarred food: Seriously, moms! There is no score card at the end of babyhood. If you puree 10,000 vegetables by the time your kid hits 12 months, you don't get a Gold Medal. You just get exhausted and frazzled and you have spent less time enjoying your kids. Go ahead, buy the jarred food. Go organic if you want and then you're free to play with your babe. Or read a book. Whatevs.
- Stop nursing: For me, nursing the second time was a breeze. I made it through 2.5 years without so much as a blocked duct. But the first time was HELL on Earth. My baby was slow to gain and I had every lactation consultant massaging my boobs, feeding me Fenugreek, and listening to me cry about pumping. I got through that year, but I learned one important thing about nursing: If it is making you miserable, for the LOVE OF GOD, STOP. It isn't worth it.
- Skip the park: As a mom to a 4-year-old and 5-year-old, I spend hours (and hours and hours) at the park each week. I always laugh with recognition when I see the overwrought new mom trying to cram her 3-month-old into the baby swing. You have plenty of time to spend at the park. Spend your time at home now while you can.
- Stroll or don't stroll: Baby carriers are great. So are strollers. Don't be bullied into defining how much you love your baby by how you transport them. Personally, I found the Ergo easier, but if you find the stroller easier, use that for goodness sake.
- Co-sleep: For many moms (like me), co-sleeping with your new baby is actually the lazy mom route. All I ever had to do to get my babies back to sleep was pop a boob in their mouth. Excellent! If it's not easier for you, then skip it. There is no prize for the best mommy.
- Skip baby classes: I did a ton of baby classes from Spanish to yoga to singing and massage. Some were good. They helped me network and make new friends. But some were just stressful and hard to get to on time. If it doesn't make sense, don't do it.
- Stop listening to the judgement: Insecure people love to tell you what you're doing wrong. Many new moms feel awful about themselves because other moms are "doing it better." Your only litmus test should be happy you, happy baby. If those are both in place, who cares what the Stepford mommies think?
Did you take any new mommy shortcuts?