Friday, October 19, 2012

New Mommy is a New Normal

From a reader: I was wondering if you would consider doing a blog on being a New Mother? My Husband and I celebrated our 1-year anniversary in May and are expecting our first child on August 3rd. Any help and tips would be appreciated.

Well, by now this dear reader is, Lord willing, a new Mommy. Enter the world of New Normal. Here are some things that I wish someone had told me:

  • Kiss your sleep good-bye for five weeks per baby. That's how long it took the Taylorettes to learn night from day. Maybe other babies are different, but mine seemed to have an auto-detect system that alerted them when their Mom and Dad had settled into a good sleep. Their cries always reminded me of a cross between an alley cat whining and an engine that wouldn't start: ah rat ah rat ah rat raaaaahh. And then I'd poke Norman and say, "Your turn."

  • Nobody told me that they urped up like that. I had to wear a dress that was soaked with slime at the shoulder my first Sunday in church with our firstborn son, but I was ready the next time.

  • I didn't know that diapers could carry so much. Enough said. 

You asked for tips so I'll provide some suggestions, but I also hope that our readers will add their valuable comments at the bottom of this page for you as well:

1. Allow for an adjustment period. New Moms need to give themselves time to adjust to the role. We go to bed with a baby in our womb, then we come home from the hospital with a baby in our arms and life changes forever. It is a blessing, but one that comes with demands unmatched in any other role. Be patient with yourself as you learn how to handle your new responsibilities. And please get some rest whenever  you can.

2. Set your clocks five minutes fast. It's also a good idea to pad your time whenever getting ready to go somewhere. Babies have an uncanny way of needing to be changed minutes before going out the door, so if you are cutting yourself too close, you'll always be tardy. Don't start a habit that will become hard to break. Plan ahead by allowing more time. It's not the same as just getting yourself ready.

3. Don't put your budget underwater. "There is treasure to be desired, and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up." (Prov. 21:20) Be careful about buying things for a little person that is going to change by the minute. That huge bag of mega-blocks may get used for several years, while the cute little bubble lawn mower may not. Become an expert at finding used items for your child(ren).

4. Keep a clean home, but not a museum. Housework doesn't change much with a newborn, but a toddler can turn a living room into something that looks like an indoor state fair without the concessions (unless you count the Cheerios on the floor). Speaking of which, I just had a friend send me a note about how her son discovered that when you put Cheerios in a seed spreader, you can spread them all over the living room! Enjoy this time while your newborn can't handle a seed spreader! When your little one is older, train her to pick up after herself.

5. Finally and most importantly, read Scripture to your child. "The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him." (Prov. 23:24) You may have started this earlier, but if not, start now. And as soon as your sweetie pie can read, he or she needs a Bible and a daily reading assignment, preferably something simple like a Proverb verse per day, until their reading skills increase and then you can increase to a chapter per day. This will develop an appetite for the Word of God. 

A young mother recently asked me this question: "If you could only give me one piece of child-training advice, what would it be?" I thought about it for a moment, then answered, "Teach them to read their Bibles everyday." This is not a guarantee that your child will be godly. It increases the chances greatly, but all human beings have that item called "choice," which will be exercised early and often. The training is up to the parents; the application is up to the children. Our children can't apply something they've never learned, so the Word of God must be a first-choice in our training arsenal. "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom, and with all thy getting get understanding." (Prov. 4:5)

This is just a starter list, as you'll learn more "on the job." Make friends with some older, godly Moms in your circle and glean from them. Motherhood is not sainthood, and children are not angels, but God did call the "fruit of the womb" a "reward." There will be days when it doesn't seem rewarding, but even with the ups and downs, laughter and tears, the love of a mother for her children is beyond compare. 

Congratulations, and welcome to the ranks! Enjoy your new life as a new Mom.

"Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." (Psa. 127:3)

10 comments:

  1. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It's very tiring being a new mom. Ask someone to come over and watch new baby while you take a couple hours to nap. Eventually as the baby gets older, you get into a regular routine. Also, have a date night with your husband every now and then without the baby. A close friend or maybe grandparents can watch the baby for a night while you and hubby are on a date.

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  2. Give yourself a month to not worry about a thing except getting used to things. Once you have everything worked out, try your best to get them on a schedule. I had my first (who was breastfed) on a schedule of 3 and a half hours because my mom had told me about how to do that(She had 6). A lot of my friends laughed and thought it was the craziest thing, but it worked! Those were some of the happiest moments of my life. We were both calm and relaxed and he slept well for 3 and a half hours at a time through the first 3 months we tried it, then by the time he was 4 months, he only woke up once per night. By 6 months he was sleeping through the night.....then I got pregnant again! LOL! That one I didn't put on a schedule because we were moving and all......he has never slept well.

    The only other advice I have: Don't neglect your husband. He is used to having you (and all your parts) to himself, and he might resent it if you put him on the back burner. Make him know you can't do it without him (they love to know they are needed), and consult him on everything, even if he gives outlandish ideas.

    I hope all goes well and your little one will soon be bringing the blessings God intends for your family. God bless you all!!!

    P.S. You are doing the right thing: seeking Godly counsel!

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  3. Hold your baby! Right before I became a new mom I had a mommy of 5 almost 7 tell me that if she could have done one thing differently with her first it was that she would have held him more. She said she was so determined to not have a baby that needed to be held that she never held him at all. And she regreted it! So I took her advice to heart and I made it a point to take time every day to enjoy just holding my baby. He's now 18 months and still loves to crawl up on my lap and just sit there. He is such a snuggle bug and I love it. Hope it never changes! :)

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  4. Lis Beise, October 19, 2012 @ 5:32pm
    Give your child lots of positive reinforcement. "Catching them" being good,or kind to their siblings when they dont think you're watching.
    Teach empathy and love for adults and seniors.
    Always carry diapers and socks in the car. Diapers are good for vomiting or unexpected messes,because they're super absorbant and can be contained easily.
    And having extra socks will save you from having to buy them at places that prohit bare feet. (Ie mcdonalds playland) And can work as mittens,or for when you play in hay and cant get it out of socks. This just happened to us. :)

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  5. Try to keep a schedule, but let the baby lead when it needs to be adjusted. If you're anything like me, you might over obsess and worry about weight gain and milestones. DON'T! Babies are great at regulating how much they need to eat. To put your mind at ease, your pediatrician won't mind one bit if you come in just for a weekly weight check. My baby is 4 1/2 months old and I still drop in for a weight check between appointments. :o)
    Sleep train: Play music in baby's room from day 1. Soft, instrumental type. Have a routine before bed. My husband and I read a Bible story, sing songs, and pray. I believe that BOTH parents should put the children down (if jobs allow). My husband worked night shift for quite sometime when our twins were babies and he would sleep and I'd wake him up for nighttime devotions and putting the kids down to sleep. When your baby needs to eat at night, keep the room as dark as possible and don't speak to him/her; feed, keep upright for 10 min to prevent reflux, and put right back down.
    Those are my tidbits of advice! Enjoy--it does go by fast!

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  6. When I had my first baby, I picked him up every time he cried and I always rocked him to sleep. That was a huge mistake, that I didn't repeat with my other 4. From the first night home I put my babies to bed awake. This way if they wake up at night, they'll put their self back to sleep. It does not kill a child to cry. I held all my kids a LOT and people tried to tell me I was spoiling them, but I didn't hold them when they cried just to be held. I didn't want to train them that crying would not get them their way. I wore myself out with my first one. We are training our children all the time. If we give them drink when they cry, we have trained them to cry or pitch a fit for things. Kids don't outgrow their bad habits, we have to train good ones in to them.

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  7. Sharon Kelly Trangmar, October 19, 2012 9:27pm
    Sometimes us mothers put pressure on other mothers to keep up with a certain standard. Do what works for you and your family! Sleep is vital to keeping sane, so I was all about getting little babies to sleep good. I used white noise machines that I turned on from birth when it was time to sleep through the night (not for naps), and I also never turned on lights (just a little night light), and I did not talk and play at night feedings. Try to stay calm. Babies sense panic. I nursed all my babies, and yet they all used pacifiers and were more than fine. Sometimes babies just want to soothe themselves by sucking, and it was not about to be me! I never left home with out this wonderful substance called Gripe Water. It can be found at Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and it is a natural concoction that soothes all things baby: teething, sour stomach, travel changes, etc. My babies all LOVED it, and I did not feel bad giving it to them. Let daddy watch the baby alone even though he will not do things as you would. You need time out of the house, and he needs to feel a part. Don't correct his styles - God intends for children to have both mom and dad perspective, so trust his ways. Babies are so precious, and they are alot of work; but you will be surprised how quickly each stage changes, so be thankful for each stage as it comes and don't wish for other stages past or future. It is a special calling to be a mother.

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  8. Malinda Towns, October 20, 2012 10:09 am
    When I started having my children I was also going to college to earn a degree. In a class one day I said, "I can't wait until..." A very wise professor responded by saying, "Don't wish your life away." It's normal to look forward to good things. However, as a new mother it may be tempting to say, "I can't wait until..." for a number of things. Cherish each moment because you can't go back and do it again!

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  9. Debbie David King, October 20, 2012 10:23 am
    Get rest/a nap while your baby is napping, I wish I had done this while my son was a baby. When we brought him home I thought I had to keep everything clean and neat and nothing out of place in order to be a "good mom" and "good wife", all I did was wear myself out and felt frustrated, so when I tell new mom's advice, I just say keep your house as neat as you can but rest also, those 3am feedings come early and fast.
    (Keeping your house clean is important, having a good amount of rest is also important for new mom's.)

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  10. Remember that even though they are born to you they are not your possession. God gave them to you to raise them up to be His children. You have an awesome job ahead and with His help through His Word you can raise those children to fulfill His purpose for their lives

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