If I could do it all over again . . .
My youngest started pre-school last week. I can’t believe she is almost 3 and going to pre-school. Because I have been home full-time for the past year, Madeline and I have definitely grown closer.
We did the Gymboree play and learn and music classes, we did the walks to the park, the play dates, the weekly trips to the library. All the while, me being with her, side by side. Hand in hand.
So, when it was time for her first day of pre-school, I knew it would be a hard one. For Madeline and me. We watched kiddie shows about “the first day of school”, we read books, we talked about it. We did everything I could think of to prepare her. Madeline even learned a song from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood that says, “Grownups come back.” When we drop them off at school, when we go on date night, whenever we leave them. . Grownups always come back.
I wanted to make sure she knew she would be ok and that I would be back to pick her up and hear all about her day.
Needless to say, there were still tears. And screaming. And more tears. But Madeline’s pre-school teacher just took her, her backpack and her blanket and they both said good-bye. And in they went.
As I was leaving, I also got a little teary eyed. I knew she would be ok. My little girl is growing up.
Then, the most amazing thing happened. I realized I had me time. Time all by myself. Phoebe was at school and now Madeline was at school too. I had 3.5 hours. Not much but it was something. And I gladly took it.
If I could do it all over again, would I do anything differently? What advice would I give to new moms? I get these kind of questions all the time.
My advice for new moms: (for really new moms with newborns), take a shower everyday. Find the time. You’ll feel a thousand percent better. You’ll get your pre-baby body back if you work at it, don’t worry. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll loose it all simply by breast-feeding. But don’t worry about losing the weight right away. Focus on yourself, your husband, your family (if you have other kids) and your new baby.
And don’t put yourself last!! A happy mother is a better mother.
Arrange at least 20-30 minutes of me time everyday. Schedule it with your significant other and kids. And don’t feel guilty about doing this. You need time. You need time to rest and breathe. And hell, it’s 20-30 minutes. You can do this.
Eat that extra slice of chocolate cake for the love of God, and do not feel guilty about it. You just had a baby. As far as I’m concerned you can eat half of that cake. And the other half tomorrow. Don’t shut off your social life. When you’re ready, get out there again (this is why we have baby carriers and strollers), meet up with your friends, schedule play dates. Get social and find a support group. If you have friends who have kids around the same age as yours, you are golden. If not, find a Mommy and Me class and sign up. You’ll meet other moms and your child can socialize with the other babies. It’s more for you, rather than your child early on anyway.
Just do it.
And I’m sorry but I’m going to get a little personal for a second. Just a quick second. New mommy, please don’t let yourself go. Take care of yourself. If you used to go to the hair salon, keep going! Sure, some of your hair will start falling out when the baby is 4-6 months old but this is why your hair thickened while you were pregnant. At least this is what everyone told me. My hair is now totally different, the texture I mean. But whatever, I’m a mom. This happens sometimes.
Wash your face. Remember, you are showering everyday. Go get a manicure or pedicure. Put on make-up, even if you’re not going out. It’ll make you feel better. And get out of that breast milk stained top and put on a new, clean one. You’ll feel better. Trust me.
And relax, no one is perfect. We all have bad days. Hopefully the good days will outweigh the bad ones. Take it one day at a time. And by kid #2 or #3, you’ll be a pro.
So, what would I do differently if I could do it over again?
A lot. I’m human. But I’m still taking my own advice and taking it one day at a time.