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?