There is no such thing as the perfect mom — you hear this long before you give birth, from everyone you ask about parenting strategies.
Though it’s true that perfect parenting doesn’t exist, there are certainly right and less-right ways to do certain new mom activities. Mistakes are bound to happen with your first baby, and as long as everyone comes out happy and healthy, you shouldn’t feel guilty about making a goof every now and again.
Still, before your baby comes, here are five big mistakes you should try your hardest to avoid — but you probably won’t be able to.
1. Never Leaving Home
You might expect a new mother to avoid leaving the house because she wants to soak up the glow of her brand new baby — but you’d be wrong. In reality, plenty of new moms want desperately to get out of the house for an hour or so, but it takes so much time to get you and your baby washed, into clean clothes, and out the door with all the necessary supplies that most moms are exhausted just by the thought.
However, fresh air and new scenery is important for you and your baby. You can start with small trips around the block to adjust to outside adventures; then, when you know you’ve packed enough supplies, you and your newborn can take journeys to the grocery store or mall. As long as you have your baby nearby, you won’t even get strange looks for neglecting showers or fresh clothes.
2. Refusing Help
New parents can be proud — in fact, they can be too proud for their own good. New moms receive countless offers from friends and family; loved ones generously want to give time, money, food, and baby stuff to help ease the transition into parental life, but new parents will likely turn a vast majority of these offers down due to politeness.
To survive as a new mom, you need to break that humble habit fast. This is one of the few times in your life when you will be sleep-deprived, hungry, hurting, and utterly bewildered, which means it is entirely socially acceptable to ask and receive help.
3. Failing to Budget Properly
No matter what grades you got in math class, you don’t have the skills necessary to calculate how much a baby costs. Even though your nursery is probably filled to bursting with baby seats, clothes, diapers, and more, you simply don’t and can’t anticipate everything your baby will need. New parents spend more than $10,000 extra in their child’s first year — and that’s just the average.
Once you burn through your previous budget in a matter of days, you might want to turn to tried-and-true methods of saving money. Coupons, especially online coupon repositories, offer unbeatable discounts on the items you need. However, it can be tempting to justify wanton spending with the phrase “the baby needs it,” so try to limit your shopping excursions to absolute necessities.
4. Ignoring Your Partner
Your relationship is more important after you have your baby, but too many new parents focus all of their energy on their child. Worse, the stresses of a newborn — just like any immense stress in life — will inflate pre-existing issues in a relationship. What results is an untenably weak relationship which may fall apart with the slightest provocation.
Babies as young as three months can recognize emotions and behaviors, and their understanding of the world may be influenced by such intense negative vibes surrounding their parents. Instead of repressing your feelings or engaging in frequent fights, you should be aware and appreciative of your partner every day. Your relationship will change after your newborn arrives, but that doesn’t mean it should change for the worse.
5. Fussing Over Baby
After you give birth for the first time, you will be more insecure than you ever were or will be — and it won’t be about your hair or waistline. You will worry your baby is spitting up too frequently, isn’t hitting milestones as soon as expected, is getting both too much and too little stimulation. And, above all else, you will worry that you aren’t soaking it all in, making enough memories to cherish when your baby is grown and gone.
More often than not, a baby born healthy is going to stay that way for its entire life, and excess anxiety won’t help the kid thrive during the first months on Earth. The best possible advice for new moms is to take breaks, breathe, and relax when it comes to almost every aspect of parenting.