By Jaimie Ramsey, Contributing Writer
Is it just me, or is there a lot of pressure on new moms to do ALL THE THINGS?
Maybe it’s self-induced pressure, or maybe it comes from living in a world of Pinterest and Instagram, where we’re constantly comparing ourselves with each other–but with the best of each other. When I look at what others have shared that is carefully crafted to look extraordinary, and compare it with my perfectly normal, it’s easy to get frustrated, discouraged, and disillusioned.
It’s time we stopped heaping all this unnecessary pressure on ourselves and each other and skipping those things that don’t add much value, or that do add undue stress to our lives. Especially during the time right after we have a baby, when our emotions are already fragile, our stress levels are at an all-time high, and our sleep is scant, if we’re getting any at all–know that you can say no. Read on for five things new moms can skip. Trust me, your kid will turn out just fine.
You Can Say No: 5 Things New Moms Can Skip
OK, these are cute, but what a pain to get your kid posed in the same spot, with the little monthly sticker on their tummy (which chances are they’ll pull off and chew starting around month #3)…and remember to actually take the picture within a week of their month birthday. Seriously. Just take pictures of your photogenic progeny whenever you feel like it, whether they’re posed or not. Chances are you’ll have at least one photo from every month of their first year-plus, so you can still see the growth progression. As for those month sticker things? Totally not necessary. You can say no.
Homemade Baby Food
There’s nothing wrong with making your own baby food, if you have time and it’s a high priority to only feed your child grass-fed, organic, non-GMO cuisine.* But if you’re like most of us, you don’t have that kind of time…you need to use your child’s naps to do things like shower, and pee without interruption. And guess what? You can buy organic, non-GMO baby food if you want, or you can say no, and just get the conventional stuff that–surprise!–only has fruit and vegetables in it.
*If it’s really important to you to feed your family organic/non-GMO/fill in the blank, go for it! I’m not against that at all. What I’m against is anyone feeling unnecessarily pressured to do so!
Not only is it not necessary to bathe your baby daily, but it’s actually better for them if you don’t. Their fresh, new skin can easily dry out, and frequent baths strip their skin of its protective oils. That said, if they have an enormous blow-out, better do a thorough cleaning even if they just had a bath yesterday! But baths are time-consuming and messy, and daily ones aren’t usually needed. You can say no.
If you have the money to spend on fancy baby stuff, go for it–but if you don’t feel like spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on an infant who doesn’t care, don’t. Seriously, your child will not know the difference between a hundred-dollar crib and a thousand-dollar one. Get some things second-hand and bargain-shop for the rest. Even important things like car seats can be bought new for $150 or less. My high chair, which I love, is a simple IKEA model that cost less than $30. Having a baby doesn’t have to break the bank. You can say no.
With sleep (and other things like breastfeeding, weaning, etc.), I say, do what works for you. Does your baby sleep well in his or her own crib, or even in their own room, from day one? Great! Enjoy having your bed to yourself with no tiny feet kicking you. Does your little one sleep better snuggled next to you in your bed? Awesome! Take advantage of the cuddles and bonding. If baby needs to nurse or rock to fall asleep, that’s okay. Don’t feel pressured into training them to go to sleep on their own if your routine is working for you. And if you need to be able to put your baby in their bed and have them stay there, don’t feel bad about it. There are a lot of ways to be a good parent, even if every parent thinks their way is the best. Do what works best for you, and to everything else, you can say no.
Don’t Skip: Keeping Some Kind of Record
I’ve been terrible about keeping up with filling in my son’s first-year calendar, but I have been making notes of important milestones like the first time he rolled over, the first time he sat up, etc. in my bullet journal. So when I go back and catch up with that calendar, I’ll be able to fill in all the major things. And as I said, I take pictures fairly regularly, so I’m able to watch his growth and development that way, too. I know as he grows up I’ll enjoy looking back on those records, and all the memories that go with them.
You Can Say No–And Not Feel Guilty
When you say no to the unimportant things, it leaves you free to say yes to the really important things. Like taking your kids for a walk on a beautiful day. Like spending extra time snuggling them at bedtime. Like sitting down with your spouse, glass of wine (or mug of tea) in hand, and talking about anything or nothing. We each get twenty-four hours in a day. Let’s not waste any of them on things that don’t matter (like monthly baby pictures and expensive toys), but use that time for things that have eternal value.
What are some things you’ve learned that you can say no to as a new mom?
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