Last night I went to dinner with my Mom’s Group. We spent some of our time reminiscing about our first playgroup, and acknowledged the vast difference in who we were then, and who we are now.
We chuckled about how we all thought the other had it together and was managing just fine.
We talked about the fact that before having children we did not understand the depth that our marriage could reach. That our relationship with our spouse is so much more complex and full, now that we parent children together. As we marveled at how simple our married lives were before children, one of my girlfriends said “we were just boyfriend and girlfriend then, really”.
One of my girlfriends had just come from visiting a friend with a new baby of her own, where she offered her some insightful advice. And as she shared it with us, there was a conviction and certainty that I have never heard in her voice before. She told her struggling and brand new mom friend:
“Stay in your PJ’s all day. Order out, and do not clean your house. Stay in bed all day if you want. Just you and your baby. Nurse, and go to sleep, nurse and go to sleep. Trust me, this is what you should do.”
And isn’t she right?
But our collective Mom’s Group unanimously felt as though everyone expected us to get back to “life before baby” as soon as we were physically recovered from delivering.
Believing this made us manic as we attempted to manage it all while trying to look like we were fine.
What a gift, I thought, that my friend had given this new mom.
I thought a lot about this on my ride home. I remembered how tough my first weeks and months were as a first time mother, and how much different it would have been if I had understood that I did not have to do the things I thought I did.
That my house could be a mess, and that gym pants and flannels were expected attire during this period.
And that everyone around me thought it should be this way too.
And so I think all new mom’s should be given the very profound and wise advice shared by my girlfriend. That with as much conviction and confidence as my girlfriend had, we should tell every new mom:
“just take care of yourself and your baby. Recover, adjust and deal with the rest of it later.
If your (mom), (aunt), (friend), (neighbor), comes by and gives you a hard time about the condition of your home, ask her to clean it.
If you read in a magazine that your baby should not sleep with you but in your very core you know that you should, use the page of that magazine to make a beautiful paper snowflake.
If a book tells you to let your baby cry, but everything in you is telling you to pick her up, with your baby in your arms, ask your partner to add that book to the fire. And it will keep your new family cozy and warm.
Trust your instincts, do what feels right and know that you are doing an amazing job.”
Really, this might be the very best gift we can give to a new family.