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Q&A Tuesday: Advice for a brand-new stay-at-home mom?

My husband and I are about to enter into parenthood in a month. Do you have any advice for how to prepare for a baby to come? I have all of his things, I am nearly done packing my hospital bag, and I am well on the way to having lots of meals frozen before his arrival. What I mean is this: how do I prepare for going from a 32-hour-a-week-worker to a mostly-stay-at-home-mom? -Paige

1. Realize That There Will Be Hard Days

Congratulations, Paige! Having a new baby is a wonderful thing. It will change your life in so many fantastic ways.

However, since I’m a realist, I’m going to tell you that there will be many days when it feels far from wonderful and fantastic. There will be crying and fussing and dirty diapers and spit-up. Later, there will be messes, whining, more messes, and more whining. And unless you’re a nurse by profession, you’ll probably be dealing with more bodily fluids on a daily basis than you’re used to. :)

2. Embrace Each Day

Motherhood is not for wimps. It’s one of the hardest professions on the face of the earth, but it’s also one of the most rewarding professions on the face of the earth. You’ll discover depths of love inside you that you never knew existed and your heart will forever be walking outside of your body.

Instead of focusing on the pile of dirty laundry, the exhaustion you’re experiencing because you only got three hours of interrupted sleep last night, or the just-changed shirt that is now has spit-up on it, choose to embrace today.

Soak up your precious baby. Don’t be too busy or harried to just sit and enjoy the little moments. They are fleeting!

3. Get a Good Routine Going

If you’re used to running a pretty tight ship when it comes to your work-outside-the-home schedule, making the transition to being a stay-at-home mom can be hard–especially because life with a newborn baby can be full of so much unpredictability. If you can, set up a basic routine for your day from the get-go. Read my advice to an overwhelmed mom of a baby here for more on setting up a basic routine.

4. Find Some Great Mom Friends

You need support in your new role. Find a small group of moms who understand you, who will encourage you on your hard days, and who will rejoice with you in your victories.

5. Don’t Let Yourself Go

It’s important to continue to take care of you. Don’t neglect to get some exercise and fresh air, make healthful eating choices, take a multi-vitamin, drink lots of water, try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night (as much as is possible with a newborn!), and allow margin in your life for things that energize and refresh you. You’ll be a better wife and mom if you make your own health and sanity a priority!

There’s so much more I could share, but I’ll stop there and let the rest of you jump in in the comments. What advice and tips do you have for someone who is preparing to be a brand-new stay-at-home mom?

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  1. Marianne says

    I agree with the majority of the women on here, enjoy your baby! My son turned one yesterday and I tell myself every single day ” he will only be little once”. Cherish every moment you have with them. Even when it is 3 am, I try to remember….he needs me, is this 15 min of lost sleep on my part worth not holding him? No, it’s not. The other advice that I wish I had followed a little earlier is to follow what MY instincts and heart were telling me. I tried to breastfeed and as an RN, I was pretty gung ho about it. Unfortunately, BF did not work out for us for several reasons. But when I made the decision to stop, it felt so liberating! I stopped listening to my mom, my sister ect and just listened to my inner voice….it said “your frustration and guilt is making you fall into depression, they make formula for a reason, millions of babies live on it and are healthy, give up and be happy for the sake of your child”. I never looked back and it was a great decision for us. I believe in BF your child, buy it’s not for everyone. DONT FEEL GUILTY! As long as your doing the best you can (with anything), and your loving your child….then all is well :)

  2. Jenny says

    Get the book Babywise! It saved my sanity and gave me sleep! Join a Moms group, women’s Bible study, or some other group to connect with women.

    • Jean says

      Amen on the Babywise (and all the other “Wise” books too!)!!! LIFE SAVER!! The principles are true!!! Stick with them and you’ll see much success in the area of sleep, both for you and baby! :-)

    • AK says

      I am a Babywise naysayer. I encourage you to research this book widely before applying any of the methods.

      I am very leery of books that set up scenarios like those in Babywise– “Either be like the Jones family, who followed our methods and have cheerful and obedient children, or be like the poor Thomas family, who went their own way and (tsk, tsk) now have a co-sleeping tyrant who misbehaves at dinner parties.”

      We have raised co-sleeping, extended-breastfed children who we parent with responsiveness and willingness to be inconvenienced…and they are lovely, obedient, good-hearted kiddos. Read your Bible (including the Gospels!:) ) and follow your heart. There are MANY ways to grow a child God’s way. He didn’t make carbon copies; we are all originals! Yay!

      • says

        I know some people are anti-Babywise, but it has truly been a blessing for us. Both of our children are great sleepers (as are we as parents), they are relaxed and on a wonderful routine. I don’t feel as if this was coercing them into anything, it was just making the sleep part a non-issue so we could focus on everything else. Of course, read it and make your own decisions, but everyone I know that has followed the book has nothing but wonderful things to say about it.

      • Amy B says

        I, too, fought the Babywise method; the authors’ attitudes about “those other people” rubbed me the wrong way, too! But, after failing to help my first child sleep through the night, I finally gave in and tried the suggested routine, and I quickly became a Babywise believer! By the time I had my second child, I had her on a schedule before we left the hospital! It gave me a sense of purpose and peace to have a schedule and a routine to follow. It also helps you to develop a mindset of setting boundaries for your children; it helps them to thrive!

  3. says

    I became a stay at home mom at the age of 36 after 15 years of waiting to have a child and now I am about to become a mother again at the age of 38 (they will be 18 months apart)–God is good!

    My best piece of advice during the first few months is to just take it one day at a time. I remember the stress of all the newness and unpredictability of all it would get overwhelming, but when my husband would come home from work, I would realize that we had survived another day. That day turned into a week and the weeks turned into months.

    Everyone will tell you to cherish each moment and that it will go by quickly, but when you are in the middle of those first few months, it feels like the baby will never get on a schedule and that your life will chaotic forever (at least that is how it felt for me). It will calm down and when it does, I encourage you to look back and see how much strength God gives you even when you do not realize it.

    • Christine says

      I agree. Telling a new mom to cherish each moment is like telling a drowning man to enjoy the water. Maybe better advice would be to record as many moments as you can so you can cherish them when you have time/energy:)

  4. says

    If you manage to take a shower, you get bonus points :) There’s a reason it’s been said so often. Sometimes just getting that far is a hard thing to do!

    If you want the baby nearby while you do laundry or cook, put him the the carseat (you can rock it with your foot while you eat a meal). He can see you and you can talk to him.

    Also, make sure to have gas drops. Fussy babies who won’t stop crying seem to always be relieved with them. I’ve rarely had to use them more than 3 times with each child (and they’re around $11 for a tiny bottle!) but they are worth it to soothe your baby and help soothe you, too!

  5. says

    Find what works for you, and don’t worry about what other people think. Co-sleep or crib, swaddling or not, binky or not, bumper pads or not, breast feeding or formula, cry-it-out or rock-to-sleep, cloth or disposable… it’s amazing how women will get all up in arms about the “right” way and make you feel bad if you aren’t doing that! But there is no right or wrong. You will know what’s best for your baby and your own sanity.

    Sleep when the baby sleeps…because you can only do that with your first baby!! I remember cuddling with my first on the couch for some blissful naps, and boy do I miss those days. Now #4 is due in February, and my oldest won’t even be 5 yet. Caffeine is wonderful.

    • says

      ahh…I have 4 that are (now) 5 and under. I definitely miss those blissful days of napping on the couch with just my oldest, as an infant :) But? I’ve learned to also embrace the chaos that is my crazy life. I would have it no other way! (and certainly not without caffeine, hahaha)

      Congrats on #4 – you’ll do GREAT, Mama!!

  6. says

    Congratulations Paige! Motherhood is gonna rock your socks off! (in amazing ways and also in much less glamorous ways, at times – for example, my 2-year-old just wiped his snotty nose…..on my sleeve. :)

    I have 4 boys, and worked full time outside of the home until this past June, when I became a full time SAHM. It’s definitely been a change of pace, for sure! I had to find my “new normal” ~ which included redefining my roles in our family. It helps to have an incredibly supportive husband, with whom I have frequent communication with about ‘what is going well’ and ‘what could be going better’, both inside and outside of the home.

    Things that help me:
    1. Spending time with the Lord. “His mercies are new every morning” ~ this makes the day start off the right way.
    2. Getting showered and dressed every day, and most days – putting make up on.
    3. Finding a local moms group. I have a MOPS meeting right down the street from me. I LOVE IT! Also though, I am learning not to overcommit to things. The reason I am home is for my boys, not to be busier than I was when working.
    4. Having a routine, but also maintaining flexibility in our routine.
    5. Continuing to date my husband, and also having LOTS of communication with him.

    I have moments when I question my decision, but I think mostly because I put too much pressure on myself to do it all – child-rearing, errands, schedules, appointments, being frugal, housework, homework help, making dinner, etc. It simply cannot all be done, all at once, all of the time. I am continuing to learn to let some things slide (like the laundry baskets of clothes waiting for me to fold them…sigh) and realizing that sometimes cereal for dinner is okay :)

    Embrace your new role, cherish that sweet baby, and be blessed in every moment you have together.

  7. says

    This post contains good advice. I haven’t read comments but I just want to say that there are some days, and sometimes many days, where you will feel totally wiped out by the end of the day and look around you and feel like you’ve accomplished nothing; “Why am I so tired? I didn’t do anything today?” The thing is, the daily ins and outs of mothering a baby and/or small children can be so different from a “real” job that it takes getting used to. Sometimes the best you can do is keep your baby alive that day! And that’s okay… sometimes that, in and of itself, requires everything you have that day, especially if they don’t feel so good.

    But as Crystal said, I can’t imagine a more rewarding job. The difficulties will stretch you just as far as the enjoyment. A profound enjoyment. I really feel that if we are up to the task of mothering it can turn you into a grown-up, a real and true grown-up in the best way. Oh and yes, don’t let your health and well-being go to the pits because if you’re running on fumes it doesn’t help your baby or anyone.

  8. says

    I would echo most everything I have read in these comments. Now that mine are 15, 13, 10 and a new 4 yr old from Ethiopia, I find myself reviewing this video over and over. It’s called “The Gift of an Ordinary Day”. I wish I had seen it before all the children came. Bookmark it for sure. There are days you will want to remember the wisdom in it.

  9. AJ says

    As much as everyone says that fitting a shower in is so difficult, I found that for me it wasn’t, and having that daily shower made ALL the difference in my outlook. If I didn’t get one while my daughter was sleeping in the morning I would just put her in her carseat or bouncy seat and bring her in the bathroom and play shower curtain peek a boo with her.

  10. Jodi says

    I have been a SAHM for 3 yrs now, there is alot of really good advice listed here, but 2 things I have to offer advice on…
    1. Find a moms club! You can google this and find moms groups and clubs in your area. I found alot of good and supportive friends this way, and getting out of the house is very important!
    2. Stay humbled and focused on your goals. Its really hard to see all your friends buying new houses and cars and not be a bit jealous! Remember why you choose to make sacrifices! It will pay off in the future for you!
    Hope that helps a bit…good luck!

  11. says

    Pray, Pray, Pray! Each child is different and will have different needs. It’s impossible to be fully prepared for any child, whether it is your first or your 20th! Ask the Lord for wisdom in raising your little one, and keep asking. I realized a couple of years ago that wisdom often comes one piece at a time, as it is needed. Otherwise, we would think we know it all and no longer have a need for relying on the Lord!

    Enjoy your little one as your fulfill the purpose for which you were designed! :-)

  12. Missy says

    Practice using all the baby equipment before the baby comes. Install the car seat. Practice opening and closing the stroller. Baby monitors. Everything. We didn’t and this added a lot of stress on top of everything else after our first baby arrived early.

  13. says

    I have written so much about this, here are some of my favorites:
    First 2 Weeks Home with a Newborn: http://mylittlebitoflife.com/?p=1349
    Crying: http://mylittlebitoflife.com/?p=1824
    Breastfeeding: http://mylittlebitoflife.com/?p=1204
    Honored to Love: http://mylittlebitoflife.com/?p=1162

    I have 4 children (ages 18 months to 6 years), I have a degree in Elementary Education, a minor in Early Childhood, I started babysitting at a very young age and my mom did home day care for over 13 years and I was still deathly scared to take my first home. I’ve been around kids for as long as I can remember and know this is what God has called me to do and I still can’t believe how difficult it can be sometimes.

    Always keep very handy:
    *water bottle
    *quick snacks (dried fruit & nuts were always one of my favorites!)

    *take nice long, warm baths (especially if you have a vaginal birth)
    *take time to snuggle, love and smell your baby everyday (I miss that so much)
    *cherish the good moments and during the bad times, remember, that this too shall pass, you really do forget a lot of the bad stuff, and remember that even though you don’t really believe it at the time, someday you will miss it (I love Trace Adkins song: You’re Gonna Miss This).

    Contact me through my blog if you want any more advise, to vent, or whatever you need. It is going to be the best time of your life, but also, some of the most difficult.

  14. Stephanie says

    The easiest thing I found was to have a loose daily routine, try to sleep when the baby slept, join a playgroup/mom’s club- I didn’t want to but I am sooo glad I did- it gets us out of the house twice a week for a few hours and it wasn’t running errands. I wish I hadn’t waited til #1 was almost 1.
    The house can wait but dealing with health/sanitation is important- if the garbage is not piling up, there are some dishes to eat off of and everyone has clean underwear then you are doing better than many. Mine are 1 and 3 and and I am finally dealing with the cobwebs :) Enjoy your new baby!

  15. Je Bank says

    A familiar poem to some, and one I recite in my head daily. Thanks to Mopsy at Lifenut for inspiring me to post it here.

    Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
    Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
    Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
    Sew on a button and butter the bread.

    Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
    She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

    Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
    Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
    Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
    Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

    The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
    And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
    But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
    Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
    Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

    The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
    But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
    I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

    – Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

  16. Je Bank says

    Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
    Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
    Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
    Sew on a button and butter the bread.

    Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
    She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

    Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
    Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
    Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
    Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

    The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
    And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
    But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
    Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
    Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

    The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
    But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
    I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

    – Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

  17. says

    Hi – I have five little (and not so little) ones and the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that God really does give you the wisdom and direction for every task He gives you. Including motherhood. He doesn’t always provide it years in advance – but little by little as challenges present themselves you’ll find that you have a sort of inner compass that guides you. We just have to be brave enough to listen to it. Lots of friends and family will give you advice which is good. Listen, but remember that God selected you as the most qualified to raise this particular child – not them. So follow Jesus and listed to your gut. :)

  18. Jessica says

    I have 3 kids-almost 4 yrs, 2 yrs, and 5 months. My newest life saving thing is that I have picked one day a week (Wednesdays) that are my “cleaning” days. I found that having a day designated for cleaning allows me to not feel so much pressure to clean the rest of the week. I still do dishes, clean the counters, and pick up toys 10 times a day on the other days, but I don’t feel the pressure to do any “real” cleaning (bed sheets, scrubbing toilets, etc.). It also has allowed me to not feel so bad to tell my children on just that ONE day, “right now I’m cleaning, let’s find you something to do on your own” (The older two help me clean, too, though). Sometimes everyone ends up cranky or whatever on Wednesdays, though, and I have just decided to be flexible and then clean on another day.

  19. says

    If you choose to by a Stay at Home Wife and Mom when you answer the never ending question what do you do? Find an answer your proud of never ever say “I am just a housewife” Say something like ” I am a CEO Home Manager”

    Understand that if you decide to stay home and are home for many children the world might decide not to take you back so start preparing something to do from home on the side when all of the children are school age so that if and when you are an empty nester you might walk right into your new career from home.

  20. Sarah says

    GIVE YOURSELF GRACE!!! That’s my number one, number two, and number three piece of advice. ENJOY THAT BABY is right up there, also 😉

  21. says

    My goals when I had my newborns were shower everyday and get out of the house at least once a day! If I completed these two I felt a lot better about myself everyday! Having a newborn is the hardest job in the world. With my first, I would call my mom everynight and cry and she would guide and help me through it. I couldn’t understand how someone with a Master’s Degree (myself) was struggling so hard with an infant. Baby #2 – piece of cake, guess I learned my lesson!

  22. Susan E. says

    Don’t have a hard and fast plan that you MUST stick to–both in the delivery room AND at home. Have an idea of what you’d like to see happen, but be ready for the unexpected and just roll with it.

  23. Sara says

    Try to get in a full feeding every time – that’s from Babywise

    Baby probably can’t go more than two hours awake – from Weissbluth

    From me – if someone offers to help you, accept! A friend offered to come clean my bathrooms and kitchen. I didn’t really want her to see those places, but I knew I wouldn’t be cleaning them any time soon. It is good for your surroundings and it is good for your heart to have some one come and take care of you a little.

  24. Becky says

    For me, the biggest difference between working at a job and being a new sahm was how productive I felt. (Emphasis on *felt*). I mean, as a teacher I could do like 200 things in the five minutes between bells–not to mention a free period for planning! But at the end of the day with a newborn, the floors were not vacuumed, the laundry was maybe washed but probably not folded, and dinner was…well, not ready yet… and I was tired! It is a different pace and style of life. Embrace it. And remember that you are investing in a person’s life–embarking on a life-long mentoring/discipleship project. I had to learn not to trusts my feelings when I didn’t feel like I was “accomplishing” anything. The kind of goals you have in this role are very different than in the work world, but still very worthy of your investment!

  25. Danna says

    The most shocking thing to me, when my 1st child was born, was that every bit of independence and privacy was gone….100% gone from my life. I couldn’t go to the bathroom at home without taking my son with me, I couldn’t have 5 min in the shower without him being in a bouncy seat right next to the shower. That was surprisingly difficult to adjust to for me.

    For me, the hospital bag and making sure I had baby stuff ended up being the least important part of being prepared. I wish I had set up a network of other Mom of young kids friends in advance. I had children later in life, many of my friends have kids in High School and College or are grandparents already and my boys are 3 & 5. The support network of moms going though what you are is critical.

    I worked outside the home in a very demanding career for nearly 20 years before having my kids, and was a full time (my husband had custody) step parent for 11 years before my kids were born (my step daughter was 16 when my oldest was born), and I still was not prepared for how hard it was to be a mom of a newborn. It is the most emotionally and mentally demanding job I’ve ever done, with the longest hours and most delayed gratification. It’s also, hands down the best thing I’ve ever done. My kids are amazing and being a mom has stretched me and made be grow in ways that I never even considered before having children.

  26. Kelly says

    Congratulations! I am due Nov. 23 with our second. While I’m not a stay-at-home mom, I am transitioning to be as soon as we are financially able. I do want to say please don’t be afraid to consider working PT from home or the office if you find out it works better for you and your husband. I know there were days when I was on maternity leave when I just needed a mental health break and going to the office was actually fun for me after leave was over. My daughter is growing up way too fast, though, (my husband works third shift and stays home with her during the day) and I do relish every moment I have with her. Remember patience is a virtue (I am still working on that) and don’t be shy about asking for help from family, friends, etc. I know I said ‘no thanks’ to way too many offers! Above all, remember every trial while baby is a newborn, infant or toddler is temporary and will soon pass, no matter how desperate it seems at the time. Kids are an investment well worth all the emotion and work you put into raising them right! Thank God for every day they are happy and healthy.

    • Paige (asked the question in the first place) says

      I actually AM going back to work PT in January – Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have a free sitter using family and bringing him to the office (I work for family), so I will only be a full-time SAHM for November and December. :)

  27. says

    If you are used to being busy and out and about, that doesn’t have to stop with baby. Go to library story times, join some playgroups (even with a newborn, you can talk to other moms!), find a MOPS group if there is one around, join a Bible Study, you can even see if there are some places you can volunteer at where you can either bring your baby or do some work from home.

  28. Valerie says

    Welcome to mommydom! It’s a huge transition, and everybody has posted some very good stuff that’s right on the money. The biggest lesson I’ve learned (and am still learning, 6 years into the job) from being a work-at-home mom (I do medical transcription from home) is that taking time for yourself, to exercise, shower, read, eat, etc., is NOT a crime — it feels sometimes like you’re abandoning your responsibilities or that you should be able to do without those things for the sake of your child, but you’re not. Like #5 in the post says: Don’t let yourself go — that’s mentally as well as physically. It’s really hard, especially at first, to leave your baby, but find someone you trust implicitly to babysit (like dad!) and just go out for an hour or two — get a coffee and read in the park, go for a long walk, have a cup of tea with a friend, or go out on a date with your husband. Mom friends and mom/baby outings are important, too, but you have to resist the mommy instinct to be all things to all people first and push your own needs to the back burner — that’s the quickest way to burnout.

    Thanks, also, to everyone who’s posted above about spending quality time with the kids instead of fussing about housework and inconsequential things — that poem spoke directly to my heart this morning. Time to take a dose of my own advice and mix in a liberal portion of what’s in the posts above for one heavy-duty chill pill! 😉

  29. VirgiLia says

    As a mother of a 5 week old, I cannot say much on what comes later, but here are some tips from what I learned so far:
    -Go out and spend time doing fun adult things while you are still pregnant. Make a date with your husband to see a movie without cartoon characters in it at the theaters. Go window shopping by yourself for hours on end.
    -Find out what services are available for free at your hospital for labor and recovery. Mine had a labor ball, a lactation consultant, a special menu for new moms and so on. Be sure to take advantage of them!
    -Let your husband play with your baby the way he wants to play with them. It is sooo easy to be critical and “correct” everything he does. That goes for changing diapers and bathing too. I like to show my husband a new thing I discovered our daughter can do from my own time with her (like tapping the dangling toys from her gym and responding to the noise) and that shows him a way he can interact with her without telling him “You’re doing it wrong, she likes it this way.”
    -I know it feels weird, but talk to your baby about nothing. I caught myself not saying a word to my baby for hours at a time because it was just me and her. Now I tell her what I am cooking, what colors are in the outfit I am putting on her, and I sometimes read aloud whatever article I am reading online (like this one).
    -Take time for yourself and your interests. My mom signed me up for a sewing class at the end of this month and I am so excited about it. Those first few weeks with just me and the baby I thought about that class and I was hopeful.

  30. Amanda says

    I had a very difficult journey to SAHM. I went from working full time and working with adults, to staying home all day with a baby that screamed 12 – 17 hours a day. She screamed no matter what I did and refused to sleep most of the time it was awful! She cried, I cried, and felt so alone. I was beyond exhausted and my house fell into total chaos. We didn’t eat a home cooked meal for over a month. We ended up having to be in the hospital for a week but you know what it could have been so much worse! So even if you feel hopeless and scared and exhausted and frustrated and at the end of your rope, it can pretty much always get worse. Enjoy the precious moments with your baby and use every spare second you can to be with them. Take out isn’t always bad! :)

  31. Sidney says

    Congratulations Paige! I, too, just became a stay-at-home-mom after leaving a busy, 40+hour/week job when my little boy was born just over 3 months ago. There has been so much good advice shared already, but the one thing I have to add that I haven’t read here yet is to not feel guilty if God blesses you with a very easy baby. An earlier poster said that some babies are “perfectly perfect” – I feel like my son is one of those perfectly perfect babies! He eats well, sleeps well, and is a naturally content/happy baby. Because of this I’m able to clean my house and cook meals and shower daily and even exercise most days – just because I can still do these things post-baby doesn’t mean I’m not holding my baby enough! (I was able to do these all of these things while working 40+hours/week – so if you take my job out of my life, that means I could hold my little boy more than 40 hours a week and still have as much time to do other things as I did while working)

    Some more tangible things that I have found helpful…
    – someone else mentioned it, but it’s worth repeating…park near the cart corrals when you go shopping
    – know that breast feeding will hurt at the beginning – even if the baby is a natural feeder and you do everything correctly (I don’t remember how many books I read pre-baby that said it won’t hurt if it’s done correctly – that’s not true!)
    – for the first two weeks after the birth make time for a warm bath, or two or three, a day (once you’ve had the baby you’ll understand!)
    – get into the routine of doing something with your husband and baby every day (for us it’s every morning when my husband reads a chapter of the Bible to my son and I while I’m nursing him)

    • Paige (asked the question) says

      I love your last bullet – to have your husband read a chapter of the Bible to him while I’m breastfeeding! I think we’ll have to do this one. :) Thanks!

  32. Christine says

    You made me laugh! I’m a nurse by profession and my first baby brought me to my knees! I was used to very busy days taking care of six patients and thought how hard can one little baby be compared to this? Well, I learned. If all you do all day is keep the baby fed and dry then you’re doing an awesome job. Slowly you’ll get your feet back under you and you can start incorporating more and before you know it you’re super mom just like all the rest. It took me about 9 agonizing months though, but I’m subborn and couldn’t accept that it’s normal for this transition to be much harder than expected.

  33. Debbie says

    Life will slow down, big time with a newborn (as opposed to a hectic work environment). Slow down with it. Plan things in your day to get out of the house on purpose. Going from being at work with a lot of social interaction to being at home with a baby was hard for me. I still struggle with doing the same work day in and day out ( I have 3 now). Laundry, dishes, floors, diapers, food. What helps me is to gain perspective of why I do it all. To create a home for my family, to meet their basic and important needs. That is priceless and no one does it better than Mom. You won’t ever be perfect, but like any job we get better at it over TIME!

  34. Jenna says

    I didn’t take time to read all of the 100+ comments, so maybe this is a repeat of what another mom said…

    I worked up until my 17-month-old was born. On my days off, I would do all the laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. and feel so accomplished. Once my son was born, I was upset that I didn’t feel “accomplished”. Now I realize that getting the laundry done and making dinner, or cleaning the bathroom and running errands, or just making dinner is an accomplished day and I feel good.

    Realizing that having an “accomplished” day does not mean the same thing with baby as it did pre-baby will help you to feel accomplished. Like all the others have said – he’s only young once and you’ll always have “something” that needs to be done. Enjoy that baby!

  35. says

    Well, this is an un-fun piece of advice, but I’d suggest working out your budget!

    I definitely think you can make it work, but it doesn’t happen without some planning. We just sort of had faith that it would work out, but we didn’t make any real adjustments to our spending at first-‘um…..oops!

    I worked part time until our 2nd was born, and I’m hoping to find another part time job once he’s in school full time next year. There have been lots of hard days, but lots of wonderful ones, too-and boy, does it to by in a flash.

    If I had those days to do all over, I’d spend even less time cleaning!

    Oh, one more piece of advice-leave your hubby alone for a whole day with the baby as soon as you can. I’m lucky enough to have a very capable, modern husband who does more than his share of the chores, but some dads need to be thrown right in to, “Get,” what all goes in to caring for a little one. Plus, it’s great bonding time for them. You just can’t criticize if he does things differently than you would have.

    Enjoy, enjoy!

  36. says

    I would really encourage you to read “The Mission of Motherhood” by Sally Clarkson. I am a mother of three great kids, ages 7, 4, and 2. I wish I would have read this book when I was expecting my first one! As much as there is to prepare physically, reading this amazing book will prepare you spiritually for the best 24/7 job you will have ever.

  37. Laura says

    Allow, encourage, make your husband be involved with everything. Diaper changing, rocking the screaming child (they will scream and it isn’t your fault and you can’t make them stop) etc. It was a huge perception switch once I realized that I wasn’t asking my husband to “babysit” while I met a friend for coffee, I was asking him to parent. That is not a burden, it is a privilege. It removed the guilt I would have when I asked to get out of the hosue alone ocassionally.

  38. Renee Rayder says

    I am a stay at home mom with a 2 1/2 year old and I’m 5 months pregnant with #2. My Mom was always a stay at home mom while was growing up so I was prepared for some things from watching her but there were several things I wasn’t prepared for.
    1) The value of peace: I don’t think there’s a sahm who doesn’t reach that point where all they want is 5 minutes of peace. I had this book growing up and there are many times that I think of it during the day when I want those 5 minutes. If I had the money I’d buy a copy for every stay at home mom I know. http://www.amazon.com/Five-Minutes-Peace-Jill-Murphy/dp/0698117875 I try to focus on those few minutes of peace whenever I can find them.
    2) You need to have an outlet. I became a mom shortly after college ended and I was used to be able to cross things off my to-do list and feel like I accomplished something. The biggest whole I found in my life was that I wanted that feeling everyday. So I recommend finding an outlet for yourself. Something you enjoy that allows you to feel successful and accomplished at the end of the day.

  39. says

    Husbands……Allow your husband to love your baby in his own way!!! I see mothers of all ages, including my own daughter and DIL scold, brush away or in some way diminish hubbys awkward trys. I can guarantee it wont take much and he will flee out of concern for being put down. He is new at this as well. Short of physical harm, let him be the dad. And leave him alone with the baby even for short moments, so that he too can soak up the wonders of childhood. Your child will benefit in untold ways and you will be glad to have another set of hands and eyes through this wonderful process. My best to you and yours.

  40. Jen L says

    Sleep when the baby sleeps. The laundry can wait and the cleaning can wait, but sleep while you can and spend as much time with your precious baby while you can. They really grow up too fast!

  41. Laura says

    Perfect timing! My first is also due in about a month and I’m looking forward to the same situation. Thank you (and the commenters!) for the tips!

  42. says

    There are so many tips above, that I don’t know know that what I say here will sound much different, but:

    1. Hang on tightly to God. It’s hard to find time to read your Bible, to pray without interruption, to hear a sermon, or participate in a Bible study when you have tiny ones…but keep trying. He will give you hope when all else fails you.

    2. Hang on tightly to your husband. Kids, moving, money, life events…can all cause a lot of stress on your marriage. Hang on tightly to one another. One day the kids will be gone, and it will just be the two of you again!

    3. Hang on tightly to your kids. They will grow up so fast! Too many times I’ve responded in anger when I should have responded with love. Take a breather (even if it means leaving them cry for 10 minutes in bed) and clear your head. Try to see the world through their little eyes. Then go back to them refreshed.

    4. Hang in there! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Having someone watch the baby so you can get a shower or a date night or go shopping is a wonderful thing. Go easy on yourself. Try to get as much rest and nourishment as you can, and don’t worry about getting everything else done. Keep your expectations low. Sometimes just getting a shower is a huge accomplishment!

    Congratulations on your new baby!

  43. says

    It seems a little hokey but the Dunstan Baby Language techniques really do work. They decipher different kinds of baby cries and tell you what they mean. I used this information with my last two babies and it works like magic.
    Here’s the first lesson. The others are available on youtube if you search for them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6CFSGAueyo

    Also with my five kids (and as a nurse) I learned that when they are kicking and throwing their arms around a lot while crying it’s usually because they have tummy pain from a gas bubble. If you burp them they become more comfortable and calm right down. Just a little bit of info I wish I had as a new mom :)

  44. Shawna says

    Preparing freezer meals is sooo helpful. Just make sure that you have a lock on your freezer and you use it. The 2nd day we were home from the hospital with my last baby my husband didn’t get the freezer door shut all the way. So we ended up loosing all the meals I had prepared. Needless to say in my hormonal state a was an emotional mess, but we survived!

  45. Beth says

    ACCEPT HELP!!!! In the ways and doses that fit your personality and needs but definitely allow others to help when they offer. And when they don’t offer, ask for help. It really does take a village! Congratulations! :0)

  46. Marti says

    I’m a little late to the conversation, but I do want to add this. Even though you will be a new mom, trust your intuition!!!! If you think something “just doesn’t seem right,” trust that instinct no matter what anyone else says. Take your concerns to your pediatrician. If you feel your concerns are too easily dismissed without really being taken seriously, then take them somewhere else!
    God gave mothers intuition for very good reason, and even the newest, most “green” mothers have it. So listen to it! My daughter is now 5, and as I look back at the various times that I thought something didn’t seem quite right, it turns out that I was right every time. Thankfully it was nothing serious, but I could have addressed some things much sooner than I did if I had only trusted in my own gut feelings. Best wishes to you! :)

  47. Katie says

    My advice: It will take awhile, but your Mommy instincts should kick in and allow you to figure out a strong bond with your baby. I would get bored nursing my daughter and she sometimes was difficult to get to sleep. (I never thought about reading.) So, I made up a song just for her. I’ve sung it to her since she was really small, and now that she’s 2, she asks for “baby song.” It comforts her when she’s hurt, can’t sleep, or just needs her Mommy. I feel proud that I have a special bond with her. It makes up for having to pay my student loans off while I’m home with my daughter.

    *I’m not a sahm, but I run a daycare out of my home in order to spend every day with my daughter. So, I really don’t know completely what it is like to be at home with just my daughter.

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