When you’re a new mom, how do you keep “mommy” from taking over your identity?
We’re talking about loving your hubby this week at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, and one of the best ways to do that is not to add ONE MORE THING to your to do list, but instead to do a mind shift where, even when you’re a mom, you still feel like a wife first.
And that’s so hard in the baby years!
Recently young mom Hannah Southerland sent me this awesome post about the transformation she went through as she became a mom, and I’m happy to share it with you today!
I’d been married for 8 blissful months when I was driving to work one day and thought: “It’s been awhile since I’ve had a period, maybe I should stop and get a pregnancy test.”
So there I turned into the Rite Aid I passed on my way to work and grabbed one. Holy options of pregnancy tests! I get to work and decide to put my mind at ease with a confirmed negative. But we all know how that goes, and 10 seconds later the most positive positive I could’ve ever imagined popped up on that little screen, and so began the craziest ride I have ever been on.
Here are 10 practical tips on how to keep that “new wife” feel even when you become a mom, ones I wish I would’ve known, and ones I learned along the way.
1. Realize early on that this transformation in your marriage is going to be tough.
Don’t freak yourself out about it, but you do need to realize that this is going to be the most challenging, difficult, exhausting, yet most wonderful thing you’ve ever done. Enjoy the process and the baby showers and the crazy middle of the night cravings, because you and your husband will look back on that with fondness even if you felt absolutely terrible.
2. Talk through the expectations you have of one another as parents.
If you’ve never discussed this, DO IT RIGHT AWAY, don’t assume you just know! Ask questions about his upbringing. What type of role did his mom have in the home, what did his dad take care of. Talk about your upbringing. What did you like, what do you want to change? Will you return to work, or is your dream to stay home? There is no better time than right now to discuss all of these things. But keep an open mind, some of the things you thought you were going to do may change dramatically once the baby is here. Not discussing expectations just opens the door to a lot of bitterness and resentment that totally could’ve been avoided.
3. Be intentional about date nights!
Louder for the people in the back. Be intentional about date nights! Every situation is different but I think at roughly 2 weeks post partum you should leave your baby with grandma and go out. For just 1 hour. Take a shower, put on semi normal clothes, and leave the house! It will be good for you, your marriage and ultimately good for your baby! We try to get out at least 3 times a month; if it is fewer than that we can feel the tension in our house. Date nights are rejuvenating to the soul. Go out, or you can stay home and send the baby to Grandma’s house for a few hours, just be together, uninterrupted.
4. Join a moms group.
Seriously. I had both of my boys in the dead of winter and the isolation is killer. I was overly confident at the beginning and thought my husband would be enough to fulfill all of my relational needs, and that is not the case. You need to find friends, and it’s a bonus if they are also moms that get you. Trust me. This is crucial.
5. Leave your baby with your husband and leave the house.
I get that at the beginning, especially breastfeeding moms, this is tough to do. Feed the baby, hand them over to your husband and go to the grocery store or TJ MAXX for 20 minutes! It may seem endearing at first to be the only one your baby wants, but that will be very exhausting on you and other family members who want to help out. Your husband was half of creating this precious little life and nothing is sexier than a man that can handle a poopy diaper and some spit up, amiright? If your husband texts and calls, tell him he can handle it. He’s a smart guy, he married you right? 😉
6. Routine, routine, routine.
At the 6 week age mark you should be in a pretty similar routine of bedtimes and wake up times. Bedtimes are important because when the baby goes to bed at a certain time, you and your husband are free to have a few moments to exchange some words that don’t involve, “she’s hungry, or did you remember wipes and the butt cream.” Those words aren’t sexy. Lay the baby down, and sit on the couch (not in bed or you will fall asleep) for even 15 minutes of conversation that isn’t revolving around your baby. This also includes no more chores. I exhausted myself with chore upon chore after the kids went to bed, and while I do have a few things I do in the evening, after 8pm I do not allow myself to do anymore chores. It is hubby and I time. Take a bath, read a book, or watch your guilty pleasure TV show!
7. Eat well.
Make sure you have good choices of food for yourself in the house. I took really bad of myself after my first baby and my recovery was a lot tougher, and the weight lingered on far longer than I expected it too. If you eat like junk, you’re going to feel like junk, and if you feel like junk you’re going to act like junk. It’s a bonus if you maneuver that stroller you HAD to have and get out and enjoy some fresh air and take a nice little walk. It’s good for the soul and a bonus if you drop some stubborn post baby weight!
8. Give grace freely.
This new journey you’re on is freakin’ hard! Its uncharted territory especially if this is your first baby. Kids put us in situations we never thought we’d be in, and stretch us in ways we never thought. You never realize how a 30 minute car ride could turn into a very large fight between the two of you because of the screaming and crying from the backseat. Lord help me. But don’t be overly picky and critical on your husband, he’s doing the best he can.
Communicating is more than just talking at each other. Everyone wants to be the couple that makes it. But it isn’t easy. You’ve got to keep talking, and listening and really trying to understand the other person. Moments of uninterrupted talking are going to be further and farther between now. Cherish them, and don’t take them for granted.
10. Be a wife first.
This will be the hardest thing to do as a new mom because the baby is so demanding and so very cute. If you stay home during the day try your hardest to greet your husband with a smile when he comes home, don’t bombard him with all of the things that went wrong that day. Some days I am awesome at this, but most days I fail. I am constantly trying to be better at this, but I can tell the tone of our house changes dramatically when I make sure my husband feels welcome when he comes home, and not like I just want to unload on him as soon as he walks through the door.
What are some of your best tips for new moms who are having a hard time feeling like wives again? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!