Baby Makes Three . . . Now What?
Post contributed by Alexis Hall, a single mom to three kids. She created SingleParent.info to provide support and advice for the many families out there with only one parent in the household. She works as an in-home health nurse. When she isn’t working or spending time with her kids, she enjoys running and hiking and is currently training for a triathalon.
Congratulations on your upcoming bundle of joy. This is an exciting time, but also one that can
bring about an ocean of emotions. Being a mom is a big job – it’s the best job – but there are a
few things you should know before Mr. or Miss Baby makes their big debut.
Your home is going to be a wreck (and that’s OK).
Since the dawn of time, women have been in charge of the household (even those of us that
work full-time). Before having kids, your house is spotless. Dishes are put away, laundry is
neatly folded, and you have time to catch up on your favorite shows before getting into bed at
whatever time you see fit. That stops the moment your child comes home from the hospital.
Your baby doesn’t care if there’s dried up orange juice on the floor, he or she needs constant
attention. This doesn’t change until teenage angst sets in. There are going to be days when you
have to choose between teaching your toddler how to walk and dusting the bookshelves.
Embrace the dust bunnies and remember they are just a sign that your attention has been
There is no shame in asking for help.
When you come home from the hospital – and for the foreseeable future – your body is full of
hormones that it doesn’t understand, you’re sleep deprived and your attention has been focused
elsewhere (see above). Don’t be ashamed to ask your husband, mother, sister, or best friend for
a helping hand around the house. If all else fails, hire a housekeeper, dog walker, or any other
professional you may need to get your life and home in order so you aren’t stressed.
Everybody has an opinion and everybody is wrong.
There’s no shortage of opinions when it comes to the right and wrong way to raise a child.
There are people for and against everything from co-sleeping and crying-it-out to whether or not
you should provide your child gender-neutral toys so you’re not swaying them one way or the
other. None of it matters. You and your partner may have no idea what you’re doing, but you will
do it right. One of the biggest secrets we parents keep is that none of us has a real plan and
we’re just making it up as we go. Here’s a blanket statement that can be applied to many areas:
If it feels right, and your baby is healthy and happy, it’s the correct parenting method for you.
You will worry like you’ve never worried before (and it can get weird).
You will quickly learn two things. First, the love you have for your child grows with every beat of
their heart. Second, the amount of worry you feel escalates twice as fast. You’ll worry that every
movement they make is them taking their last breath. You’ll worry that they’ll drown the first time
they drink from a straw. You’ll plan ahead on how to sneak them down the laundry chute in case
serial killers escape and break into your home. This worry never goes away and there will be times when you fixate on the possibility of your child’s death. Understand that this is normal and you’re not a psychopath.
There is a dark side no one talks about.
Bringing a baby home is supposed to be the most joyous time of life. And it is. But the
aforementioned hormones, sleep deprivation, and newfound ways to worry can have severe
consequences on your psyche. As NBC News reports, postpartum depression can hit hard and
unexpectedly. While you should be prepared to feel overly emotional for a few months after the
birth, if you start to notice unusual changes in your appetite, insomnia, unwarranted anger or
start to have negative thoughts about harming yourself or your child, reach out for help. Contact
your health care provider or call the postpartum helpline at 800.944.4PPD.
You’ve made it this far, now you just have to get through the birth and the next 18 years. Don’t
worry, you can do it. But maybe go ahead and stock up on coffee.
Image via Pixabay