10 Years of Mommy Tips: Part I
My daughter turns ten tomorrow. 10. Double digits. That just seems inaccurate, because I clearly remember being pregnant with her barely a minute ago.
I suppose I could write something mushy, but that would make me cry and my spray on tan would run, so I think instead I will write some practical tips for new moms, up to the first ten (10) years. *Gulp*
But you know, that’s a lot to cover in one blog post, so today I’m just giving tips for the first five years.
The First Five Years
You’re pregnant. Yay! This is your first chance since puberty to play, “My Body is a Science Project” because literally every day there will be something weird and wonderful going on with your body.
- A baby is growing inside my body! And she kicks!
- My breasts grew gianormous. I finally had cleavage and my husband got new playthings.
- Hair and skin looked shiny and youthful
- Cute belly bump in trimester two
- Maternity clothes look way better than they did when my mom was pregnant with me
- Crazy dreams
- Totally valid excuse to eat dessert at every meal (I’m eating for two!)
- “Morning” sickness (which, by the way can happen any time of day/night)
- Cute belly bump in trimester two replaced with WTF watermelon in trimester three.
- Sleep? Who needs sleep?
- Peeing all night long
- Why did my foot just grow an entire shoe size?
- “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” This became my pregnancy bible.
- “Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy” This made me laugh and took away a lot of my fears
- Take a pregnancy photo in the same spot, with the same clothes each new month and hold up fingers to show how pregnant you are. The changes are insane. One thing I noticed that people are doing now (and I wish I had thought of it) was after the baby is born they hold the baby in front of their womb to complete the picture
- Baby showers are amazing because everything is so tiny and cute. Tip: Go with one of your friends who just had a baby recently. She can fill you in on which baby bottles cause gas and stuff that looks good but you’ll never use (like baby wipe warmers)
- If at all possible, take a “babymoon” vacation during the second trimester. Morning sickness is usually gone, your baby bump is still in the cute phase and it will be the last time for many months that you can sleep uninterrupted.
Happy Mother’s Day! Remember how much you were in love with your significant other? He was the first thought of the morning and the last thought of the day? Multiply that times a billion and that’s the baby love you will feel. It’s truly insane how much you can love a baby and how much you will cry when you realize that you are now a family.
- The hospital will try to kick you out as soon as possible. Barricade the door with bed pans and mattresses and stay as long as you can. Know why? Because they feed you in the hospital. If you are confused, a nurse will help the baby to latch on. They are experts at getting burps out and will clue you in as to why your adorable child is making technicolor poop.
- Chances are the first time you use the restroom it will look like someone killed a bear with a loose leaf notebook. Don’t ask questions, just take the giant Depends-type thing they give you and hang in there for a day or two.
- Work out a visiting schedule in advance. You may be one of those women who loves company. Or perhaps the last thing you want to do is have your mother-in-law see you in a hospital gown without make-up. Have a trusted family member or friend be the buffer zone for you.
- Your baby is hands down the prettiest, smartest, best baby ever. You will live under this baby-love fog for at least 8 months. Make sure your phone is fully charged and you have a plan to download pictures, because you will take like a billion pictures. One app that I love is Grovebook. It costs $2.99 per month. Each month you download 100 pictures and they print it out for you in a little book. The pictures are perforated so you can remove them easily if you want to make a scrapbook or give a pic to your friend. You can also have extra copies of the book sent to friends and family.
- Probably someone gave you a baby book to fill out. It seems like a great idea to record the baby’s first steps, first word, first giggle. Just know that for each baby you have after the first one, the number of blank baby book pages increases considerably. And then when your second baby turns four you will, hypothetically, have to go back and fill in the gaps while he’s at nursery school. My husband is the youngest of four. He said there were lots of baby books for his brother, Bob, at least one for his sister, Cindy, and then by the time he got born the only things documented where: He was born, he celebrated Christmas once or twice, he went to prom and graduated. So, I guess my advice here is to set the bar low with the first baby book.
- Some women go back to work because they want to, I went back to work because I had to, and it sucked. I cried a lot the first day back. A single mom in the office sat me down and gave me the greatest advice ever: “Make memories.” She said since my time with the baby would be limited it would be important to do things together that would make us both smile as we got older. That helped me a lot and I still follow that advice today.
- Keep extra clothes in your desk. One day, before a meeting, I was looking at a picture of my daughter and milked myself. I had to drive home to change and always carried spare clothes and a suit jacket after that.
- Bring your baby to work (occasionally). I always brought my baby to work on Halloween and Christmas because I could dress her up and got to show her off to my co-workers and clients. It also made for a nice distraction to the regular work day.
Baby Number Two:
- The first pregnancy is well documented and every day is exciting. With the second pregnancy you pee on the stick and ask, “Are we done yet?” Since you know what’s coming, the main thing is that you want to cut past the pregnancy part and get straight to the new baby.
- Pregnancy is the chance for your first child to mentally prepare for becoming a big sister or big brother. Show your first pictures of the ultrasound, let her feel the baby kick and read her books about becoming a sister. When the new baby is born, get a gift for your first child and say it’s from the baby. Most toddlers are not smart enough to question how a newborn has the opportunity to go toy shopping, so they will just be happy.
- Jealousy is real. My daughter loved her little brother, but didn’t like all the attention he was taking away from me. She regressed a little bit, was offended that he took over the stroller and peed on the carpet every time I tried to nurse him, and that’s saying something because we had tile floors. I ended up nursing him in my bedroom and only lasted for about 3 months before I converted over to formula.
Stay At Home Mom:
- Three months after my son was born I quit my job and we moved to Texas where I could afford to be a stay at home mom. I didn’t know a soul and felt really overwhelmed since I went from seeing my baby just nights and weekends to having a toddler and a baby at the same time in a new location with no support. I ended up calling my mom in New Jersey a lot. I also ended up making friends with another mom, Regina, who is still my BFF today. Friends and family (even at a distance) help you get through it.
- When you’re a SAHM there’s no real schedule and you are constantly interrupted so nothing ever seems to get done. Also, you may feel the mommy war coming on strong, like you need to constantly justify your existence and how busy you are to working moms and your husband. It also feels like the only answer you are allowed to give to, “Do you like being a stay at home mom?” is “I love it!” The truth is that it is hard in a different way and sometimes you crave adult conversation and music sung by people other than Dora and Elmo. Just talk to other stay at home moms if you want to vent because they are going through the same things.
Will I Every Lose the Baby Fat?
- Some women give birth and then run a marathon the next weekend it seems. I didn’t lose the baby fat until my “baby” was 2 1/2 and my oldest was getting ready for school. If you had a fit pregnancy, more power to you. If you kind of let yourself go for awhile, better late than never. And if you need help losing weight, check out my online training here: SLIMethod
- The “terrible two’s” start at 18 months and don’t end until the kid enters preschool. Just repeat to yourself “this is a phase” because it probably is. It seems like every six months their little personality changes and then six months later they change back. Just go with it.
- The milk is going to spill. It’s going to spill. You can scream and stress out or just realize that with time and consistent teaching they will get neater.
- Potty-training is very much dependent upon your child’s disposition and your commitment to getting the job done. We bought a great book called “Potty Train In Three Days” and followed it for my daughter. It took her about ten days, but she was fully potty trained by 18 months. My son may have well flushed the book down the toilet. I tried everything with that boy and nothing stuck: M&M’s, toy truck, pointing out other kids who were potty trained, the diaper ceremony, training pants, you name it I tried it. But the truth was I wasn’t really ready for him to stop being a baby. It wasn’t until we were staring down his third birthday that I decided to get serious. I interrupted him every 13 minutes to take him to the bathroom and out of frustration he starting going on his own. It took eleven months and one day of really wanting it.
- Confession: I’m a Tiger Mom. I was one before the book was written. I bought my kids “Your Baby Can Read” (now called “Your Baby Can Learn”) and they were reading books by age two. I highly recommend this if you want your kids reading before pre-K. Plus it’s really fun and my kids enjoyed the books and videos.
- Starfall.com is a website created by teachers and is only about $35 for a year membership. The site teaches phonics, math, history, music, art and has an entire virtual library. It covers preschool – 3rd grade (it might go higher now) and was a great website for a great value.
- Ever since I was pregnant I wanted to take my kids to the public library for story time. Guess what? My kids hated story time. They had no interest in sitting still or being quiet, so in this instance I followed their lead and didn’t make them go; we just took out books and read at home. My theory is that education should be mostly fun and if it isn’t don’t push it, especially when they are very young. (5th graders not wanting to do math homework is another story.) Also, a big part of education is letting kids be kids. Let them dress up, dance, get dirty, explore and discover things.
Time passes so quickly! More tips to come in a future blog post about the next five years.
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Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!!!
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