1. As a new mom, you really do need to take a moment to (say it with me everyone!) treat yo self. This week was kind of big for me on the self indulgence front. I shopped online for shoes. I Stitch Fixed. I got my hair (or what's left of it, darn post pregnancy hormones!) highlighted and cut for the first time since before Ryland was born. And then because I was just really feeling crazy and my mom was watching the baby, I popped into the nail salon next to the hair place and got a PEDICURE. While having a complimentary glass of wine :) I sat in one of those nail salon massage chairs that are alternately amazing or abusive depending on what setting you choose. I read People magazine. I didn't think about sleep schedules or tummy time or anything having to do with a baby (okay fine I might have still thought about that stuff some, but at least there were moments where I didn't!). I think now that I'm getting a little more distance from that whole labor thing, I realize how single minded and intense I've been the last 5 months. And that's natural. When you suddenly are in charge of a tiny human being, it's normal that said tiny human beings occupies pretty much 100% of your thoughts and energy. But 5 months later, I think it's time to give myself little selfish me me me breaks now and again (and working a job as a pediatric Rn that as much as I love is also exhausting and draining doesn't count!). And of course I feel guilty. As much as I loved my pampering afternoon of hair and nails there was serious mom guilt the whole time (the wine helped ease that). But I also recognize that it's so necessary, that to be the best mom I can be to Ryland, I have got to step away from time to time and do things that aren't for her but for me alone, even if I feel a little guilty about it. Right now that is getting my hair done. When she's a little older it might be a trip away with my husband or friends. It's a balancing act. My life is still pretty heavily tilted toward all things mommy, but I know that it will get easier and easier to find that balance. And I hope that any other new moms reading this are finding times to treat themselves, whether it's with a pedicure or shopping or whatever it is that floats your boat and makes you happy as a woman first, mom second!
2. Parenting is PHYSICAL. You know how annoying it is when people ask celebrities how they lose the baby weight and they chuckled good naturedly and say something along the lines of "oh just by carting my baby around." And you want to punch them right in their face? Well apparently there is some truth to that. Granted celebrities also bounce back so quickly thanks to cleanses and trainers and copious amounts of plastic surgery, but STILL, there is an enormous physical element to parenting that I did not anticipate. In some ways it's the biggest change in my day to day life. I still do a lot of the same things I did pre-baby, go to the grocery store, go to Target, go for walks with the dogs. Only now I do it while lugging a massive car seat and stroller in and out of the car, and in and out of the car, and in and out of the car, and one more time, IN AND OUT OF THE CAR. All of this baby equipment that you buy because it's marketed as "light" is not so light when it also has a 13 pound baby in it or when it is the 25th time that day you have folded it and hefted it into your car's trunk, which you never realized was so inconveniently high until you are tossing a stroller into it for the 100th time.
And then add in grocery bags or shopping bags, dogs pulling on leashes, the baby on your hip when you take her out of the stroller, the bright sun and heat of August. I swear I am usually dripping in sweat even when we've just gone out to Food Lion for a can of corn. Babies are tiny, but they take an enormous amount of physical strength and energy to get from point A to point B due to the fact that they are lazy (that and they lack the ability to walk, although still I blame lack of work ethic primarily). I cannot wait until I am old and feeble and I get my payback by having Ryland push me through the mall in a wheelchair. Even if I am perfectly able to walk, I will rent a wheelchair just for the satisfaction.
3. There is Pinterest parenting, and then there is real life parenting. Comparing the two will make you feel like a loser. So I went through something similar to this with wedding planning. Pinterest will drive you crazy if you are planning a wedding (or really any party) because somehow the people who post on Pinterest just do everything perfectly (or at least photograph it that way). Everything is beautiful and detailed and flawless. And then you do the same thing in real life and it looks like a 3rd grade arts and craft project. There are a lot of parenting posts on Pinterest that will make you feel the same way. For example tummy time. Here is what Pinterest expects tummy time to look like.
Isn't that amazing? That is some grade A level tummy time. That baby is touching fresh rosemary for God's sake! He looks so interested and content, and his brain must just be expanding exponentially with each minute of tummy time (and per these Pinterest posts, a baby should get like 90 minutes of tummy time per day, MINIMUM). Okay so there's that. Here is what tummy time actually looks like in my house.
And those are the "happiest" expressions I was able to capture. There is no rosemary involved (and if I put fresh rosemary in front of Ryley right now she would shove the entire twig into her mouth and have rosemary scented poops for weeks, which come to think of it wouldn't be so bad). She hates tummy time with a passion. Usually she will immediately flop back over onto her back and if I flip her back onto her tummy she will look at me with indignation and fury. We do tummy time, because I do know it's important developmentally and yada yada. But 90 MINUTES? She can't do anything happily for 90 minutes right now except for maybe a marathon breastfeeding session.
The bottom line is that Pinteresting can be hazardous to your mental wellbeing as a new parent. Do it with caution. And a healthy amount of realistic expectations. I cannot even imagine what Martha Stewart levels of ridiculousness I will come across when the time comes to search Pinterest for children's birthday parties.
4. Single working moms (or dads) are super heros.
Like no joke. SUPER HEROS. I bow down to you. I am in awe of you. I do not know how you do it. On the days that my husband and I both work, I will get home around 4 (my husband usually won't be home until 8 or 9), say bye to my mom (who has been watching Ryland), and then literally lack the energy to do anything else for the rest of the day that is not essential to keeping my daughter alive. I do not cook dinner on these days. I do not clean the house on these days. I do nothing except maybe call for pizza delivery and pour myself a glass of wine.
I'm so tired after working that it is everything I have to feed my baby and change her diapers. I just don't see how women who are working and raising kids on their own do this every. single. day. I don't see how you can go straight from work to parenting every single day without the help of anyone else.
You guys are just incredible. I hope you know that.
5. So this was originally going to be a list of 5 points, but the baby just woke up from her nap (it's been over a week since we had a morning nap longer than 45 minutes, sigh), and as I've realized with parenting you just have to roll with things and be FLEXIBLE. Okay so fine I guess that is a fifth lesson. Short and sweet, but true.
Have a great weekend everyone!
I'm a thirty-something mom of two, wife, pediatric RN, and writer with a passion for the all the big and little things in life.