A new mom has to be prepared for whatever weather comes her way—calm skies, sudden squalls and everything in between. Fill your feel-good canteen with smiles, giggles and coos while the sun is shining—you’ll need them when the forecast isn’t quite so bright. When the storms hit in the form of teething fits and tantrums, remember that they will pass, and manage the weather as best you can with teethers, distractions and open arms. Some of motherhood’s tenderest moments will come as you’re calming the storms with kisses and love.
If you think about it, you’re really preparing baby’s meals even before he’s born, since a little bit of everything you down goes to him. The day he leaves your womb, baby looks to you for nourishment, and he’ll continue to depend on you for his grub for years to come. Maintaining a healthy diet while you’re breastfeeding will benefit you both. And when it’s time to start solids, the real chefing can begin! Whether you’re brewing your own baby food or selecting store-bought flavors, it’s up to you to supply your little one with the nutrition he needs.
Even with professionals only a call away, a new mom takes on healthcare and grooming responsibilities right from the get-go: umbilical cord care, toenail clipping, scalp maintenance and diaper monitoring. Watch your baby’s vitals and provide him with a sanitary environment, and don’t hesitate to call for backup if you need it. In the years to come, you’ll be called upon to kiss away the hurts and hug it all better, and even in adulthood, your child will still turn to you for comfort when he’s feeling low.
Sights and smells that would upset a weaker stomach are nothing to the new mom—diarrhea, spit-up, drool and all kinds of bodily secretions just come with the territory. Save those dry-clean-only tops for later days and embrace the stage with machine washable clothing (you may even want to carry spare outfits for baby and yourself) and plenty of burp cloths. Expect your laundry load to double, and enjoy folding those teeny-weeny rompers and gowns—it won’t be long until you’re washing grass stains out of soiled football uniforms.
Disaster Response Leader
We mothers have to be pros at spotting hazardous situations and putting out domestic fires, even from day one. Diffuse fiery emotions by sharing your love, since baby, hubby and even the family pet will all be competing for your attention! And when that feisty playground mom instigates a heated discussion to spark a rivalry between her toddling tot and yours, keep your cool, hose her down with a smooth repartee, and make a quick escape.
Risk Management Officer
Motherhood is a gamble: Just because you dealt the cards doesn’t mean you know how the game will play out. If times are tough, keep wearing your poker face and fake it ’til you make it—even with its ups and downs, parenthood beats playing it safe!
You are your baby’s first and most influential teacher, the leader who lights the way and sets his course through childhood. As his life coach through the formative years, you’ll teach him more than his ABCs and 123s; he’ll study your mannerisms, facial expressions, language and relationships. Your little babe will likely turn into your mini-me during the toddler years, and don’t be surprised if his grown-up personality comes to resemble yours more than a little after all those hours of observation. Kind of scary, huh?
Your long career as a shuttle bus driver has only just begun. What starts with pediatrician visits and play dates turns into a regular commute to and from school, art and music classes, soccer practices and social events. Prepare yourself right from the beginning by stocking your vehicle with all the necessities (you never know when you’ll need a first aid kit, burp cloth, barf bag or wet wipe) and some cruising tunes. Check out cradle boogie.com for toe-tapping ditties your baby can groove to as well.
You’re a mom from the moment the seed is planted, but the true joys of parenting will come as you watch your bitty bud grow and flourish under your loving care. Inevitably, he’ll someday be transplanted to begin a garden of his own, but your labor and care will beautify the terrain for green seedlings in generations to come.
Let’s face it: In the beginning, every aspect of mothering is a foreign affair. There’s no manual, and your boss is actually speaking a foreign language. Setting up communications is crucial while you’re in the trenches, so get to know your baby’s cries and signals. Then dig in deep and fortify your position—with any luck, reinforcements won’t be too far away, but you’ll probably spend plenty of time fighting the good fight solo. Feather your foxhole with helpful baby gear and don’t give up ’til that child is grown; sometimes it may feel like battling an opponent, but you’ll be allies in the long run.