10 Things I Learned in My First Year of Motherhood - Tamsin Jordan
Posted on May 28 2020
10 Things I Learned in my First Year of MotherhoodLike many first-time moms, I spent my pregnancy reading about having a baby. I learned how to change them, swaddle them, feed them, and how to get them to sleep. It turns out - nothing could have prepared me. It has been a wild year – full of ups, downs and steep learning curves. Here are some of the things I have gleaned.
1. You don’t need to be productive all the timeLooking after a baby is a full-time gig. Unlike a standard 9-5, however, there are no deadlines, meetings or job responsibilities. The lack of structure can make you feel like you haven’t achieved much by the end of the day. When you do have spare time, you can feel overwhelmed by the number of options. Should I work on my side hustle? Call my mom? Workout? It has been a challenge but learning to relax in my spare time and resist the urge to be productive has been liberating.
2. Embrace the mess
Having a baby involves a lot of ‘stuff.’ Even if you have a lot of space to play with, toys, books, clothes and bottles will quickly accumulate on every surface. I have come to realize that trying to stay on top of the mess will drive you mad. Accepting that things will get messy, and it’s just part of having a baby, will bring you peace.
3. Expect the unexpected
Life with a baby can be unpredictable. Expect the unexpected. Even the most prepared parent can get caught off guard. Sudden blow outs, a rash that came out of nowhere, spit ups, or a meltdown can quickly derail your plans. Factoring in an additional half an hour into all daily plans and being flexible make life much less stressful.
4. Be open to advice
As a new mom, you will constantly question yourself. Am I doing this right? Is there a better way? There is no manual for parenting and it can be hard to admit when you don’t know something or need help. Unsolicited advice will come your way from well-meaning friends and family. Listen. You may know your baby better than anyone else, but you might not know the best way to care for them. Stay open and appreciative of any advice that comes your way – you never know when it might come in handy.
5. Beware Dr Google
I cannot tell you the number of hours my husband and I have spent on google searching for answers to medical questions. The internet is a blessing and a curse. For non urgent issues, I’ve found google to be tremendously helpful. For more serious stuff, information can be inconsistent and scary. Finding a pediatrician that you respect and who is happy to answer your questions (day or night) will save you lots of worry.
6. Your body will change
You expect your body to change during pregnancy. But did you know your body continues to change after the baby? Me neither. Hormonal fluctuations left me feeling a little out of sorts for some time after the birth. Hair loss, constipation, sore joints and night sweats prevailed. While unpleasant, it is important to remember that most postpartum changes are temporary. Appreciating what your body has achieved over the last 9 months and giving yourself time to fully heal is an important part of recovery.
7. Poop is everythingBe prepared. From the moment your baby is born, poop becomes a big deal in your life. The color, texture, consistency, smell and frequency will dominate conversations with your partner. And mommy friends. And anyone who will listen.
8. Find your people
Being part of a close-knit community of other parents has helped ease my transition into motherhood. Connecting with other moms (or dads) that have babies at a similar age, will give you a sense of support and solidarity. It’s also a great way to meet lifelong friends.
9. Keep things simpleThis applies to daily plans, vacations, meals and everything else. I’ve found that trying to cram in too many tasks into one day will result in stress and disappointment. Relish simplicity. Keep your ‘to do’ list to three items. Hold off on detailed travel plans for a while. Embrace meal prepping. Buy lots of frozen food and find easy recipes you won’t get bored of. You get the idea.
10. The world is a wondrous place
Above all else, having a baby has opened my eyes to the world in a new way. It sounds corny but it’s true. Watching my daughter explore her surroundings for the first time, has highlighted the beauty of small, mundane details and given me a fresh perspective. And what is more wondrous than that.
Tamsin Jordan is a Registered Dietitian, wellness expert and mom living in NYC. She provides one to one nutritional counseling to people of all ages, with a specialty in women’s health, bariatrics, diabetes and digestive health. She writes about a range of nutrition and wellness topics on her blog:
www.tamsinjordan.com or you can find her on Instagram: @nutritionbytamsin