(Jenna pictured above with her baby girl Conley Kate.)
Top 10 Things I've Learned as a New Mom
by Jenna Kutcher, online marketing guru extraordinaire
Let’s be honest, I can hardly be considered a veteran mother. I’m only three weeks into this parenthood journey and still have a lot to learn. People told me about this thing called “mom brain,” which apparently is incredibly real (yep that would be me, almost leaving the house in slippers today!). Our journey into parenthood has been three years in the making. After two pregnancies that ended in loss, followed by the one that brought our little miracle girl to us, we are so thankful to be on the other side and finding our way as new parents. There have been a lot of things that we’ve learned in the recent days. I’m excited to break down the top ten things I’ve learned as a new mom -- you know, the things that no one really talks about or can prepare you for.
Sleep is overrated
You really, truly don’t need as much sleep as you think you do. This is coming from a girl who slept a solid ten hours a night and sometimes took a midday nap. I’m shocked how you’re thrust into a life of segmented sleep and how somehow you just adjust. That cute little face looking up at you at 3AM is way better than any dream.
Mom intuition appears out of nowhere
Things are so much easier when it’s YOUR baby. I’ve always loved babies and adore my nieces and nephews, but there is something so different when you get to take care of your own baby. You don’t have to second guess yourself or look for approval from others, you get to do things your way and let me tell you—your instincts are REAL, trust them. You know more than you think you do!
Don’t listen to the peanut gallery
You are about to get a LOT of (unsolicited) advice. Start practice the smiling and nodding now and prepare for people to ask you very personal details about your life, your body, and your baby. I’ve had to remind myself often that people have good intentions, but at the end of the day, you have to do what is right for you. You are a mom, you are capable, and you know what is best for your baby.
You’re not an octopus – you only have two arms
Carrying and snuggling your adorable little nugget 24/7 is just not practical. There are things you need to do (you know, like go to the bathroom, eat, brush your teeth and shower) and when you do, you want a safe and cozy spot for your baby to hang out. We use our DockATot Deluxe+ all of the time. And c’mon, she looks so CUTE and cozy in it.
You’ll be amazed by your body
Every single day I am blown away that my body created, birthed, and is now feeding my baby girl. Every inch and stretch mark played a part in this perfect tiny human. I have such an appreciation for my body and what it has gone through. Don’t focus on what your body isn’t but what it IS and what it has accomplished and achieved. Brava, body
It takes a village
My nickname is “Ms. Independent” and it’s no secret that I absolutely hate asking for help, but when people dropped food off at our house or sent over their favorite postpartum products, I sucked up my pride and realized how incredible it is to have a community rallying around you as you navigate a new season of life. Flex your “asking for help” muscle, you’ll be glad you did.
It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love
I never understood what people meant when they said: “it’s the hardest and best thing you’ll ever do!” But now, I totally get it. Being a parent is a gift, yet also a sacrifice. We’ve been accepting both sides of it with open arms. It’s rediscovering the relationship you have with yourself in a new way. Taking care of a new, tiny human can be hard, but so rewarding. Embrace those precious moments and give yourself loads of grace during the hard ones.
Stock up on digital storage
Prepare for your camera roll to literally be filled with baby photos. I can’t count the amount of times a day I say, “Oh my gosh, honey, look at HER.” I’m super thankful I got a new phone with more storage or else I’d get that annoying “You’re running low of space” message constantly.
Find your mom peeps
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned came in the form of two friends who gave birth within a week of me. We have a text thread titled, “The Mom Club” and it’s been invaluable to have two women who are in the trenches with me. We joke that we are “the blind leading the blind,” but having women on call who are navigating this with me has been the biggest blessing.
Make time for me-time
Prioritize self-care in any way that you can, whether it’s taking a nap, jumping in the shower, or having someone hold your baby so you can get out of the house for even an hour. I’m so blessed to have an incredible husband who’s supportive in giving me a little time for myself. I always go back to the quote, “You can’t pour from an empty cup” and it’s even more important you fill up your mama cup!
There have been so many “pinch me” moments in these last three weeks with our daughter. I can’t believe that I get to be her mama. It’s been a lot of figuring things out as we go, laughing through the hard stuff, and learning how to settle into this new normal. However you are parenting, however your child comes into this world, however you are navigating being a mom, just remember that you’re doing an incredible job. You’ve got this!
Are you heading back to your job after maternity leave? Check out these tips for new moms going back to work.