Warning! Warning! The five daily goals for brand-new moms that
you are about to read are semi-shallow and possibly quite degrading
in nature. Please excuse them. They mean no harm. Yet, against all odds, these tips miraculously managed to keep me productive, engaged and semi-sane during the
first few months when I myself was a brand-new mom. So I now hereby pass them on to
you, new mom club members, with lots of love and fabulous sleep-deprived
You've heard how Navy Seals are required to make their
beds "perfectly" every single morning so that they can start their day with
purposeful vigor? Well, there's no need to do it perfectly by any means—you
just gotta do it. It WILL help you be purposeful, I promise. (And I HATE making
my bed. Always have. Always will.) But forcing myself to make my bed every
morning proved to set me off on the right foot.
How to do it with a baby? Put
the baby IN the bed as you make it. The baby giggles, you laugh and somehow become mildly motivated to do it (almost) every day as part of your new morning routine (just to see that little face watch you run from side to side of the bed to pull the covers up). I also challenge you to not
feel empowered when you walk into your bedroom during the day and see your
put-together bed. Bam.
2. Resurrect your 'non-mom' underwear
You heard what I said. True, granny panties are known to be most suitable after delivering a baby, but try to make it a
point to open your underwear drawer. For kicks, start with just looking at those frilly, sexy (and/or trashy!) panties you used to wear. When you're ready, try 'em on, even if it's only for one minute. You might even be compelled to do a
full-on purge of the postpartum designs at some point when you're ready. I did. With my 1-year-old.
3. Ditch your duties
All of us who've been around a few years—or more—will tell you: The baby will be fine!
Leave. Your. House. Without your baby. This is not a suggestion. This is a requirement. Get a sitter or a family member or a friend. Think of it as a postpartum step toward better health. Some first-time moms
can only leave their babies for five minutes after months and months of
contemplating and soul-searching. Some first-time moms feel perfectly
comfortable leaving their babies for a few hours just weeks after
delivery. Whatever your timeline, MAKE PLANS to leave the house without the
baby (it really doesn't matter how long, as
long as you do it). The baby will be fine. (Many new moms don't seem to believe
this, but all of us who've been around a few years—or more—will tell you:
The baby will be fine!) A babyless breath of air will refresh you
in the first month. For me, I voluntarily signed myself up to
speak about career options for a bunch of local high school students weeks
after I delivered my second baby just to have an event that I couldn't back out of.
(But I'm notorious for being extreme.)
4. Cook something new for dinner
This might not happen in the first month or even the
second, but force yourself to try making something new for dinner in the
first few months. A new recipe? A new twist on an old recipe? Try it, even
if you just grill the veggies instead of doing your usual nuke in the microwave. Cooking is a creative activity, and no one's asking you to pull a
Julia Child or anything. Doing something "new" will kick your brain back
into gear a bit (beyond mind-numbing diaper-changes and feedings). Trying new things can reinvigorate
your energy on a surprising level. You
should've seen me when I roasted Brussels sprouts for the first time. Oh man.
How sexist and condescending. But before you start throwing razors at me, consider that this has nothing to do with the beauty factor or antiquated man-pleasing philosophies. It has to do
with proving to yourself that yes, you do have time to actually do it. (Even
though I personally remember thinking, I don't have time to shower, brush my teeth, anything! I have a baby! There's no time! No time!)
You do have time, and so did I, but I had trouble finding it at first. All of us with children who now walk, run, talk, scream and spill things
all over the place on a minute-by-minute basis will tell you to take advantage of the fact that your child
is not yet mobile. Shave your legs within the first month of your baby being
born just to prove that pockets of time actually do exist. (Hey, you can even exercise naked, too.)
Because, soon, that little baby (or babies) will be smack-talking you on all sorts of things, and then you're going to wonder why things seemed so challenging before the bundle was so verbal.
Did you commit to doing something for your soul as a new