As moms, we gasped when we saw Kate Middleton step out of the hospital just hours after giving birth each time, wearing soft dresses, heels and full makeup.
“How can she look so great?” probably went through your mind, as it did mine. How I looked post-delivery was a far cry from how she did.
The time frame following delivery of your child, whether it be your first or fifth, is filled with uncertainty, constant questions and — let’s face it — tiredness mixed with all-consuming love for this new member of your family.
The last thing on your mind — which is right where it should be — is laundry and a clean house. Pressure is felt by new moms to be the Kate Middleton on the block, but let’s get real about expectations and realistic daily goals.
There is a lot of perceived pressure in the world of what moms should and shouldn’t do. A lot of questions regarding what is best and what isn’t. Cloth diapers, brand diapers, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, pacifiers, baby monitors, sleep monitors, feeding apps — the list goes on.
When it comes right down to it — you need to do you. There isn’t a “mommy and daddy manual” to be able to guide us page by page through this journey (or should I say thrill ride), so you need to discover what is best for your family.
Start this journey by taking the time to truly discover what that means. Stay home and learn your baby’s cues. (Staying home also protects your baby from germs their little immune systems cannot handle). Ask well-intended visitors to please wait for a visit while you get accustomed to your new role, your new life. Every baby has a different personality and different cues, so you need to be present for them and learn them.
From my first to my fifth, it was astonishing how much had changed in the world of not only baby cares, but also their unique personalities and my approach to them (think helicopter mom to free-range mom).
And just when you get the routine down, the first part of the journey conquered, the cues honed-in on, past the marathon feedings, it’s time to return to work. This also takes planning. Which day care will you be using, how early will you need to get up in the morning to get everyone out the door, will you need to pump at work, do you have a post-baby wardrobe in your closet?
Begin with some trial runs in the morning. Yes, this means cutting back on valuable sleep earlier than you had planned, but it will allow for solidifying routines.
How can your significant other or your other children assist you? Can clothes be set out the night before, coffee cups set next to the Keurig, and shoes/book bags/diaper bags/coats be set by the door for easy access? Pick out the books to read before bedtime as soon as you get home, use your crockpot or Instapot on a weekly basis and eat those leftovers instead of tossing them.
Create freezer meals for post-baby meals; this also leads to more nutritious meals in a hurry (skip that fast food line and go for the veggie lasagna in the freezer) and irreplaceable family time while said lasagna is in the oven. Buy in bulk, meal plan and hit the grocery store every two weeks instead of every week.
Set one night aside to budget and pay bills through auto-pay to free up having to do it other nights. Get a calendar app on your phone or on your wall to review nightly. It takes a little practice and prep the night before, but the lack of feeling like you are the ball in a pinball machine will be worth it in the long run.
Most importantly, practice self care. Meditate, read, pray, exercise. Drink water, eat healthy and appropriate proportions. Reinvent family game night, family stay-at-home date night. Blow up the mattresses and have a sleepover in the living room with the big kids. Put the phone away and be present.
You will make it through this time and look back on it as your humble years and wonder where the time has gone. You might not think you are the Kate Middleton on the block, but you are the amazing mom to those who think, in fact, you are.