As I sit here and watch Josephine rocking back and forth in her new swing, courtesy of her grandma, I take advantage of this rare moment of having both hands free. While I’d love to write a long, detailed account of my birthing experience (NOT), I feel that a shorter list of things I’ve learned so far will sum things up nicely. In my 2 months of young motherhood, here are five tips I have found to be extremely valuable.
1. Try anything, and everything
Dancing vigorously to Michael Jackson’s Number Ones album would calm her down from week 3 to week 5. At around week 6, we discovered the vacuum cleaner shut her up even at her peak screeching fits. At week 8, once I moved out of my parents home and had to learn how to manage her by my lonesome, grandma Jenny empathized with my lack of extra hands and purchased a swing for Jo. It works like a charm! At least for now.
2. Take advantage of every helping hand.
People love carrying around a happy baby. Some people even like trying to soothe a crying one. If ever there’s a trustworthy person to hand off your little one to, do it. A few baby-free minutes can really re-energize your soul, and your baby will learn how to socialize with others and not rely solely on mom or dad. Win for everyone.
3. Take everything with a grain of salt.
Yes – even the pediatrician. I’ve had so many people tell me to do this and try that, and while family and friends all mean well in their unsolicited advice, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. Do what feels right for you and the new member of the family, and eventually you’ll hit a groove that works best.
4. Take care of yourself.
Seriously – if you need to put down a crying baby in the playpen so you can take a deep breath and use the restroom, do it. Your sanity is important because a happy, healthy mom leads to a happy, healthy baby.
This is a hard one, especially for me. I strive to look like I have everything together to other people, even to my partner. However, I’ve come to realize that I need to be honest to those around me in order to create a harmonious growth environment for my family and daughter. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner to wake up in the middle of the night to change the baby’s diaper, or ask your mom to kindly step aside so you can develop your own parenting style. I have these conversations constantly, and while not easy, communicating your needs as a new parent with those around you will relieve tension and only benefit your family and relationships.