5 Rules to surviving the first year of motherhood
Yes, the first year of motherhood is hard. When you hear other parents venting about it, they are not exaggerating. It pretty much goes that as soon as you think you have one issue under control, a slew of new difficulties will follow. There is so much to learn and master for both you and your baby, that there really is no respite. Nevermind the intense bouts of teething, ear infections, colds, and other problems that you're likely to experience in this short span of time.
Despite how physically and emotionally taxing it can be, it is incredibly rewarding and humbling in the best of ways.
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You will watch your child grow from a helpless newborn to a full-fledged miniature person that interacts, plays on his own, sleeps through the night, and maybe even walks and talks--seriously amazing stuff. Through all the anxiety and hard work, you have to somehow manage to enjoy this time, so here are my five rules for survivng the first year of motherhood:
1. Take advice at face value. One of the first things you are likely to encounter as a new mom is the two cents of everyone around you. Try not to be offended by it, most people are genuinely trying to be helpful, even though it may seem as if they think you're clueless.
2. On that note, take advice with a grain of salt. You know what they say about opinions, so definitely don't feel pressured into following every bit of advice that comes your way, especially the unsolicited variety. Ultimately, you know your child better than anyone else, and most of the time, your gut instincts will be the right ones.
3. Don't be afraid to get help. As a new mom, there are likely to be countless things that you could actually use some help with, but for lots of women, asking for or even accepting help that is offered is akin to admitting failure. But, ladies, remember that it takes a village. Whether you think you're suffering from post-partum depression or you simply can't seem to make a dent in that pile of dirty laundry, seeking help can make a huge difference in your quality of life.
4. Don't forget about your own needs. It will seem impossible to put yourself first for even just five minutes, but it's truly critical. If you don't prioritize your own sanity, by say taking a shower, washing your hair and shaving your legs all in one day, you will probably start to feel bitter and resentful, and then you will feel guilty for feeling bitter and resentful. So just leave the baby with dad for awhile, and go do something nice for yourself.
5. Try not to second guess yourself. You will second guess many of the decisions you make for your baby, it's impossible not to when you are completely responsible for someone else's well being, but at some point you have to start trusting yourself. Chances are, you are doing all the best things for your baby, so remember that and move on.
Image via Shayne Rodriguez Thompson