Photo by mamichanThe thing about parenting books is most new parents don't read them until their kids are already messed up and by then it's too late. Moms need to read all those books before the baby comes. Before they are pregnant, if possible.
The Stir's Suzanne got me thinking about this in her excellent post on how having kids changes everything. You don't even realize how much until years later and they're a toddler or a college graduate.
As you will learn when you are a mother, it's nice to be warned. So here's a list excerpted from the "Food for Thoughtful Parenting: 12 Must-Have Lists for New Parents & Young Families." I thought it was pretty on target ...
1. Find your people
Your people are no longer your childhood friends, your college friends, your favorites from that book group. Your new people are now anyone who became a new parent within two to three weeks of you.
You will be surprised how many friends won't think that a 4:30 p.m. dinner at Chuck E Cheese's constitutes a "night out." Seriously, though, some do stick around. My best friend from college who does not have kids is still and has always been my best friend, as well as my kids' best friend.
2. Let go
The demands and delight of a new baby leave much less time in your day to get the other stuff done. Take time to figure out what tasks you can really "let go" ... and allow yourself to accept help.
Oh, I'd accept help, if anyone offered. And 7 years later I'm still trying to let go, but all those Legos and Littlest Pet Shop pieces on the floor continue to haunt my dreams and hurt my feet .... it's a process.
3. Find your own way
Good friends and books can confirm your instincts when you feel wobbly about your choices, but no matter what you read or hear, trust your gut.
Nevermind that this kinda contradicts the point of this advice book ... but I can't tell you how many times instinct has saved the day and how many times I wish I trusted it more.
4. Embrace a new rhythm
Read "rhythm" not "schedule." Those four -hour chunks you previously had to indulge on a task are now shorter. Babies need to be fed, put to sleep, and changed with astonishing frequency.
And not only that, but realize how ridiculous it would be to attempt writing your literary masterpiece on three hours sleep, so you just lay on the couch and watch "The Food Network."
5. Back off
Let your child have their own relationships with other poeple without your (over) involvement.
When my in-laws volunteered to stay with us during the birth of my first child and several weeks after, I declined because I wanted my baby all to myself. By the second week I was asking them to move in permanently. A well-rested and supported mommy who gets some time to herself is the best mommy.
What would you warn a first-time mom expecting a baby about?