Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baptism by Fire

It's an early Christmas miracle this morning that I am mentally present enough to be writing a post. My baby is one week-old today. She arrived just in time for Mother's Day. She's so thoughtful already, right?

People always told me newborns were hard, but this "hardship" is one of those things you just can't understand until you live through it.

Although motherhood is a lifelong career, the learning curve seems to be sharp and steep. It's sink or swim these days. Here are the 5 timeless lessons I've learned about being a mother in the first 5 days of motherhood:

1. Control? I have none. 
Due dates, sleeping, feeding, leaking, diapering, crying, and limb flailing all happen spontaneously, erratically, and sometimes even simultaneously. If you are really lucky they will happen on your first public outing on the fifth day of life and your waiter will tell your mom as an aside, "Newborn? They will learn."

2. Let Go (Related to number 1)
Sometimes knees won't bend to fit in tight onesies no matter how hard you gently try. Letting go is sometimes the best option to coax a strong willed being. (This lesson is applicable to husbands too).

3. Make them think it's their idea
I'm convinced that persuasion and long suffering are the brick and mortar to parenthood. It's not rational to think that I can talk my baby into sleeping, but I have been lucky so far by calmly providing her a list of options for things we can do, making sure to repeat sleep every other option, until she chooses it.

4. It's okay to say "no," and "yes please"
No, I'm can't help you with x,y, and z; I'm home bound/tired/hungry/unorganized for a while. And yes please, you can help me with dinner, laundry, and errands. I don't have to it all and blog about it too.

5. All you need is love
My husband and I always joke about this maxim. No one ever survived stranded on a desert island on fluffy love cakes. It's akin to the pieces of bad advice Kasey talked about earlier.  HOWEVER, I have never eaten so poorly, slept so little, cried so much, been so unattractive, experienced so much pain and felt so completely and utterly happy. No, not happy, elated. Love really does make the world go round.

Hope your mother's day was as warm and cuddly as mine was.


  1. You'll get it, hang in there...

  2. Oh gosh! And then I asked you to check our email!! Know this...you are in the absolutely hardest phase of parenthood I've yet experienced (I don't have teenagers), but by month two, you'll be feeling like a pro! Just get there. People always told me to enjoy when they are new and it's true that a sleeping newborn on your shoulder is heavenly, but I really have a hard time with newborns. You really have to let go of the eating and cleaning and control over anything but keeping that baby alive. Do that and you have succeeded in these first months.
    When I had my number one, my good friend came by and relayed to me how hard a time she had with her number one...we had a good cry about it. And then I was able to be that friend for Kasey with her number one. We had a good therapy session back in 09. You mentioned that she's coming over. If you need a good therapy session/cry out, I'm sure she'll oblige! Right Kasey? Wish I were there to help!

  3. It's true, Lindsay was my angel in blue jeans. I just needed someone to tell me that it was okay that newborns were hard and not exactly enjoyable all the time. And Lindsay's right - get to 8 weeks and your baby will become a little more human, a little more predictable, and way more smiley (which is a huge payoff).