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What I wish someone had told me about being a new mom

Being a new mom is a joyous time. It’s also messy, crazy and full of surprises. Here’s our unfiltered look at what new moms can expect.

mother sitting with baby

Motherhood unfiltered

Being a new mom is a joyous time. It’s also messy, crazy and full of surprises. Here’s our unfiltered look at what new moms can expect.

You’re allowed to be a mess

Not only are showers optional when you’re a new mom, but so are bras — and clean clothes. Once you realize that standard conventions of hygiene don’t apply when you have a newborn, it can be quite liberating. If anyone gives you the stink eye for your uncombed hair, the spit-up stains running down the front of your dress or your out-of-control emotions, remember these four words: “I’m a new mom.” It’s like a get-out-of-jail-free card for being a total disaster.

You can’t control everything

If you tend to be a control freak, prepare yourself to let go. “We tend to start out as parents thinking that if we just make the right choices and follow the right guidelines, our kids will act or turn out a certain way,” says Asha Dornfest, coauthor of Minimalist Parenting and founder of Parent Hacks. “The baby will sleep regularly, or will never be a picky eater… The list goes on. But there’s a fair amount about raising kids we can’t control no matter how many books we read or strategies we try. It takes time to find the line between nature and nurture… but you can trust that you will eventually find your way.”

You’ll worry like crazy

When you have a newborn, irrational fears are suddenly par for the course. Maybe you’ll fixate on your child being snatched, or more likely, you’ll obsess over the health of your baby. Just remember, you will get through it. If your anxiety over the well-being of your child starts to spiral out of control, use a life line. Phone an experienced mom friend and have her talk you down off the ledge. You’ll be glad you did.

You won’t enjoy every moment

Being a mom is the most life-enriching experience you’ll ever have, but it’s also the hardest. Spare yourself the guilt of thinking you must enjoy every single moment of motherhood and read the Momastery blog post titled “Don’t Carpe Diem.” Glennon Doyle Melton, author of Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed, says if you can find even a few moments to treasure each day, you’re doing pretty darn good.

You’ll do things you said you never would

The longer you’re a mom, the less judgmental you will become. Why? Because you’ll be doing all those things you used to condemn other moms for doing. If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at moms who bribe their kids, just stop. You may call it a “reward” instead of a bribe, but once you learn that lollipops and Squinkies are magic, you’ll be a big believer in “positive behavior modification.”

Quick Tip:

Babies don’t come with user manuals. Get immediate advice and support from other new moms through online communities like Circle of Moms.

More new-mom tips

How to document your baby’s first six months of life
The best new-mom advice I ever heard
How to boost your breast milk supply

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