how to: survive your 1st year of motherhood

January 28, 2019


that first year is something you will never forget. the good, the bad + the really fucking bad. the sleepless nights that turned into days .. that turned into weeks .. that sometimes, turned into months. the crying (you + the baby), the repetitive trips to the store exchanging everything you were so excited to register for, because the baby decided they hated it, and above all, the trial and error. 

when I first had Mila, none of my friends had yet ventured into motherhood. I had nobody to send pictures of rashes to, or someone to ask what bottle worked best for them. I slowly learned to trust my own "mommy instinct", and 5 years later .. here we are.



I know registering for baby items is a blast, but there are a few things you can't put on there. this is how you will survive your first year as a mother:


self care
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you want to smack me right? you want to tell me HOW AM I SUPPOSE TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF WHEN I HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF THIS NEW HUMAN?

well, guess what? you can't pour from an empty cup.

in those first few weeks of baby bliss, this may be a very difficult task. self care might be something as small as finishing a cup of coffee while it's still hot (which I still can't do), or it may be a solo trip to food shop. everyone's idea of self care is different, so do what works for you. 

when Mila was 3 months old, my husband left for 6 months, so I understand physically not being able to "get away" without your kid(s), so maybe a simple face mask and netflix will do the trick. or maybe inviting a friend over after bedtime to just sit and chat with. whatever fills your cup, do it mama. and remember to do it without guilt.






your tribe
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this is crucial. after your enter motherhood, friendships change. some for the better and some for worse. some fall into your past and some will come over at 2am because they've been there before. allow these people into your life. accept the help, no matter where it comes from. allow new faces into your world and into your child's.

the internet can be a scary place, but for a new mom, it might be your gateway to some amazing ladies. join forums on Facebook, or even the new app Peanut, which is like Tinder for moms. find open play groups for kids the same ages as your own. I even found a "stroller workout" mommy group in my area a few years back! if you find that you are looking for a mama to talk to, go find her. if you feel like you need someone to bounce worries off of, I promise you, she is out there

and if you can't find what you are looking for, create it.





acceptance
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PART 1: accept your new role. understand that your world has changed. accept that some things are going to be really fucking hard, while other things might come very natural. accept that you will struggle at times, and accept that sometimes you will need help to make it to tomorrow. 

PART 2: accept that other moms will parent differently than you. some mothers will show their child 24/7 on social media, while you may not. some mothers might feed their kid lollipops and soda every single day, while you may not. you may read every label on a box, while other moms don't even know what red40 is. who cares.

when I first had Mila, things weren't like how they are today. you could post an article on Facebook + not be ridiculed for what you were sharing. today, if you post that you are for something, it automatically means you are against anything else that ISN'T what you practice, which is the furthest thing form the truth. my girlfriends + I all parent differently. and guess what? all our kids are healthy, perfect + happy.





date night
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this. so much this. I know this is hard, just like self-care, but man, you need this. whether you get a sitter, drive 30 minutes + get the most expensive thing on the menu (because you deserve it), or you order in + sit on the couch under a blanket with your man, do it. you might need to plan a month in advance (don't worry, we still do that), or you might make a phone call last minute + run out the door the second you put the kids down. make it a priority + do it.

*the same applies for girls nights





routine
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okay, this one (for me) was a must. I know a lot of mamas who survived with no routine/schedule, but for me, this was my way of ensuring the day ran smooth. I never expected to be a mom who fell into a routine, but my child was. 

after that newborn phase faded away, and I found myself able to understand the cues of my baby, I started to make a mental note of when she ate + slept. 

once she was sleeping in her room (about 3-4 months old), she'd wake around 7am. I would bring her in my bed for her morning bottle, we'd play, and then around 9am she would be ready for her 1st nap of the day. it was then that I could shower + get myself ready for the day. knowing how long she'd sleep for allowed me to be able to create my own morning routine.





slowly learning when she was tired or when she would be ready to eat, allowed me to prevent a scream fest while we ran errands.

the little things I picked up from her, truly made my days as smooth as possible.


forgiveness
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oh mama this one is huge. I know so many soon to be mamas who will write out exactly how they expect their motherhood journey to go. "interviewing" pediatricians (news flash: odds are you will change your doctor within the first year), researching the best stroller, downloading all the breastfeeding apps because of course they will breastfeed (*rolls eyes*), reading reviews on daycares when their baby hasn't even been born yet.

R E L A X

guess what? you want a natural birth? it might not happen. you get the best stroller + then you realize it's not practical for your daily adventures. you pick your pediatrician + then 2 months into actually seeing them, you're in the waiting room for 3 hours each visit. you planned to breastfeed, that's great. but the baby is tongue-tied + won't latch. 

I know it's the most exciting time in your life as a woman, trust me, I get it. but enjoy the present. once you have actually become a mother, you truly don't understand how in a split second, everything can change. you are no longer in control. that tiny little human you just grew, is now the CEO and President of all things YOU

forgive yourself for things not going how you planned. don't get caught up in the guilt that follows when something doesn't go your way. it's okay + you (and your baby) will survive. I promise.




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mama, I know your new life is crazy, amazing + everything in-between. I know you are tired (so fucking tired), hungry + are in desperate need of a shower. I know that once that baby turns a few months old, the texts from friends "checking in" will begin to fade. trust me, it's all okay. if you know a mother, know that she has gone through exactly what you are currently experiencing .. and she made it. know that she has new struggles as her kids have grown, and she is killing it. just like you.

it truly takes a village.

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