This post is brought to you by CJ Affiliate’s VIP Content Service. Thank you Kmart for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Kmart, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.
its now been three months since arlo arrived, and that means the “fourth trimester” has officially come to an end. it’s amazing how much i’ve learned about him in these three months, how much i’ve learned about myself, about my marriage and husband, and at the risk of sounding so corny — about life, and how time really is so fleeting! today i’ve partnered with Kmart to tell you about their new baby clothing line spencer by jaclyn smith, which just recently launched online, and to share my experiences as a new mom.
the collection is so cute, i dress arlo in pretty much exclusively all patterns so they’re perfect for mixing and matching. everything is 100% cotton, all of the pieces are under $30 and they all come beautifully packaged in a gift box (making it a perfect shower gift). and also arlo looks cute in them and he doesn’t just look good in everything he wears! lol jk.
don’t compare yourself to others (well, try not to)
you’ve probably spent your whole pregnancy looking at those gorgeous tall pregnant women who live in santa monica and bounced back in a week and are out wearing their babies on the beach and meanwhile your ankles are the size of your thighs. i don’t think i looked good pregnant and i don’t think i bounced back — and it’s only now, three months in that people have started telling me i’m just starting to look like myself again (they’re being nice).
everyone is different, everyone moves at different paces and while you might not feel ready in a month to take him to the pharmacy, while another woman is taking her baby to italy, its all ok. and speaking of which…
don’t put pressure on yourself
breastfeeding can be the biggest point of contention, everyone kind of assumes (or just hopes) they won’t have issues, but obviously, a lot of women do. if you find yourself having issues and you see all the other women who do it no problem, try to look at the positives and keep your head up. everyone has their own struggles.
talk to lactation experts if you’re having trouble, scour the internet, keep trying, but ultimately do whatever is best for you, your baby will be fine with formula. seems to me like a happy mom is more important than a breastfed baby.
ask for help
take all of the generous offers you get, you might feel kind of awkward saying yes to them, but people are offering their help because they want to, and they obviously get it and have been exactly where you are. have someone come watch the baby while you take a shower (or better yet, leave the house for an hour), or bring you a bagel, or just sit there and let you vent for an hour. anything helps, and as daunting as having company might feel, it’s a very good escape from newborn prison.
let yourself be sad
your life just changed forever and you will never get to be spontaneous or selfish again, and yet somehow you just accept that fact? it’s all so scary and so overwhelming and on the days when the baby is screaming more than anything else — it can be really hard to swallow. its ok to mourn, that doesn’t make you a bad mom. sometimes the emotions and hormones are all just so overwhelming that you might just need to cry it out, even if its not for sadness. if you recognize the emotions, it might help deal with them.
prepare for unsolicited advice
everyone will have an opinion on everything, and you can choose to take all the advice you want, just take it with a grain of salt. remember that he’s your baby and you know him best. all babies are different, and all of the advice might not even be applicable to yours.
lean on your husband
he is the only person who gets it and went through all of it with you, and he’s just as scared and nervous as you are — but you guys need to be a team to get through this insane whirlwind and you’ll be way happier in the end if you use him as a support system versus a punching bag, no matter how stressed you are.
i reminded myself of this a lot, and i still am. if i notice gid is doing something differently like the way he soothes him to sleep or even the amount of wipes he uses during a diaper change, i try to just do my own thing and never criticize. you’re both his parents and you’re both doing your best.
talk to other moms
you have no idea how refreshing it is to get empathy when you complain about whats going on until you do from women who went through it just like you are. sad as it is, your single friends can’t relate until they experience it themselves, so don’t unload on them because you won’t get the support you need anyway. find other moms around your age and you’ll be amazed how nice it is to just vent for a minute to someone who gets it. if you’re like me, you might not actually have many friends with kids — so social media has actually been amazing for me. i can talk to other moms going through the exact same things i’m going through, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone.
i need to take my own advice, but don’t spend every single nap cleaning or tidying or answering emails. find a tv show you like or do a face mask — it might not seem like “work” to take care of a newborn all day, but it totally is, and its exhausting. taking a little break to unwind is v crucial for you to feel good.
extra points for hiring a babysitter or having a grandparent watch him while you go get your nails done or do something for yourself to feel normal… because that might be the biggest challenge of newborn life, remembering any shred of life or independence you had before you were keeping a baby alive and happy all day everyday.
it’s ok to be scared
it’s really crazy how you have those 9 months of pregnancy to mentally grasp the concept of your life changing forever, but you also don’t. at all, whatsoever. i don’t think it really actually hits you till he’s actually pushed or pulled out and put in your arms that you’re like “oh man what is happening”. and in that very second you’re a parent forever and you have no time to actually try to comprehend that. and while i did actually enjoy my pregnancy more or less (until the last few weeks), there was never a day i was ready for him to arrive. even the day he was scheduled to — i was so afraid.
the day gid went back to work was our biggest hurdle by far. i cried all the time the week leading up to when he was going back, so scared and so sad. i’d enjoyed our time together so much doing everything together, i was still on the mend from my c-section, and i was so not ready to take on being a full time parent all by myself. everyone was so encouraging, reminding me that it gets easier and that my mama powers will kick in and i’ll find the courage to handle it, and they were right. we got through it and while we still aren’t great at outings or transitions or doing many things honestly, we are taking it day by day and getting better at it all.
it really does get easier
breastfeeding seemed like the biggest challenge in the world, and i thought there was no way i’d be able to get arlo to latch without gids help (another reason i was petrified of him going back to work), but day by day we both got better at it and while you won’t find me whipping out a boob in a restaurant now without a LOT of frustration, its all gotten a million times easier. from going on an outing to learning how to burp him or recognizing his different cries, you learn as you go. give yourself time to do that and go at your own pace.