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)