Just over a week ago we had our 5th baby and it has been an interesting week to say the least! As I have eluded to on some of my instagram posts it has definitely been a transition, growing our family from 4 kids to 5, and I am in need of my own motivation! So this blog post is for all those new moms out there, whether for the first time or adding to your fam. I stand in solidarity with you!!!
TIP 1: RECALIBRATE YOUR EXPECTATIONS
This is a hard one, especially if you're used to performing at a really high capacity. Or just enjoy doing things uninterrupted, lol. But try your best to RELAX. Enjoy this time. Let projects go, let your standards for house tidyness go longer than you normally would (really hard for me!), and REST. I struggle with this but trust me, force yourself to just relax. Your body needs it, your mind needs it and your baby needs it. So take a deep breath, close your eyes and LET GO. Resting and bonding with baby are kind of crucial in the early days- remember giving birth is tons of physical work and you need to recoup!
TIP 2: MAKE SMALL SIMPLE GOALS
Letting go of everything makes me feel totally crazy… so I love to make small, manageable goal lists. I am gentle on myself if I don't get them done, but I do make them. Daily lists for me are like 3-4 things and include simple things like taking a shower, updating my instagram account, reading a chapter of a book, clearing out a junk drawer, being quiet for 15 minutes to pray. Your personal list will look totally different- but the point is if you make a small goal, even if it is as simple as taking a shower, and then meet it- you will feel accomplished and can help break up the sleepless grogginess that can happen in first days of a new baby.
TIP 3: LIVE IN YOUR STRENGTHS
The emotions you can have when you have a new baby can be kind of extreme at times. Personally, I have vacillated between completely elated and so happy to totally destitute there wasn't enough milk to top up my coffee. The combination of hormones, sleep deprivation, other children wanting your attention if you are in that situation, and more hormones, can make you feel crazy and not yourself. So when I am feeling down, I turn to my Strengths Finder assessment of my top 5 strengths and I try to do something within them. For example, Strategy is my number 2 strength- which means I LOVE taking a big picture and thinking through the best outcomes, connections, strategies to satisfy a goal. This past week my husband had something he had to sort out for work and we chatted about it for 30 minutes while I was nursing- and boy did it instantly elevate my mood. While you are off with baby might be a great time to do your assessment too! Zero affiliate or personal gain for me here- I just really think this is a transformative tool for people who want to be happier, productive and more engaged.
TIP 4: KISS YOUR HUSBAND
Yes, childbirth is a ton of work, both physically and mentally. But dads have to work hard too- they take care of us and if you've got other kids like me, dads will be pretty occupied with them. I think it's easy to forget how hard dads have to work too. So kiss them- the endorphins released are good for everyone : )
TIP 5: REMEMBER IT IS A SEASON
As a mom who has done this 5 times now, I can PROMISE you that the hard seasons pass. The sleepless nights pass, colic babies sort themselves out eventually, and a new normal is established that I promise is worth every challenge. I think parenthood is the cure for selfishness- it forces you to live outside of yourself, put others first, be humbled by lack of control- it is a good thing. And this time, when they are newborn and sweet and tiny and so vulnerable- trust me again when I say time goes by so so fast. Treasure this time.
TIP 6: YOU MIGHT NOT FEEL LIKE "YOUR OLD SELF," AND THAT IS A GOOD THING
As I mentioned previously new baby time can make you feel kinda crazy- sleep deprivation and hormones and emotions in general can kind of play tricks on your psyche and absolutely make you not feel like yourself. And there are totally times when this is serious (I definitely had post partum blues with my 4th child immediately after giving birth) and you should chat with your doctor about it. But in other cases, the "I wishes" might creep in- I wish I could do X again.. I wish I could feel like this again… I wish I wish I wish… and some wishes are totally normal, like feeling fit or wanting more energy. But I challenge you to adjust your expectations and accept that things will never go back to the way they were before- and that is a REALLY GOOD THING. You have brought a human being into the world who is unique, unrepeatable, that has so much value. This little person will teach you so much about yourself, will increase your capacity to love, will challenge you to be the best version of yourself I argue. And yes there are hard parts about it, both physically and emotionally- but I would not trade this time for anything. I am 100% a better person as a result of having children, and while life with 5 under the age of 7 is absolutely crazy sometimes, when I witness love diffused and offered in a multitude of ways, when I witness sacrifice offered in a multitude of ways, when I think of how selfish I was when I was a single person and how much better my marriage is as a result of having kids- it is all worth it. Not feeling like my "old self" is a good thing.
What are your tips for getting through the first groggy days of parenthood with a newborn? Love to know your tips!