The night that I became a mom, I was instantly initiated into that club of people who feel like they should know everything automatically. In the first few weeks, I was extremely conscious of not seeming like I didn't know what I was doing, reticent to ask for advice or admit I really needed help. As the weeks went by, I started learning about that universal new-mom feeling that we have something to prove, and I realized there are so many things you should never feel ashamed to ask for as a new mom.
I was a nervous new mom. Not because I'm that kind of person, but because I entered motherhood at warp speed after waiting for years to start our family. We got a phone call one morning and that night, well, I was a mother. And the whole time I was waiting, I didn't prepare out of some sort of ridiculous superstition that if I did buy the baby books or stock up on adorable outfits, we would never become parents and I wouldn't be able to bear it. Not rational, but I think fairly common.
The most confirming and reassuring conversations I had as a brand new mom were with other moms and involved asking for help or advice. While I had been nervous that they would view me as a fraud who should have cracked open What to Expect: The First Year once or twice, they were eager to initiate me into the club that quickly goes from clueless to "I got this."
It is absolutely OK, dare I say imperative, that you ask for a break. And that's if someone doesn't offer it. Ask for a break, walk around the block a few times, or run to a coffee shop for a 20 minute caffeine infusion and brain break. I wasn't ready to leave my daughter for long, but I desperately needed fresh air and a change of scenery every so often.
Or 20 naps. And all of them put together shouldn't cause you a single minute of guilt.
Or whatever your guilty pleasure of choice happens to be. Trashy magazine? An hour to zone out on Instagram? No shame in that game, friends.
I wasn't breastfeeding and I hadn't just given birth, but there's something about taking care of a tiny person day and night that makes you insatiably hungry. Take seconds, and feel free to keep a stash of crackers near the rocking chair.
Even if you did read all the baby books and study up on newborn rules and regulations, it is healthy and helpful to ask for advice from veteran moms. And I'll add that asking your mother and mother-in-law for advice on topics that you do actually need advice can keep them from chiming in with unsolicited opinions later.
Thanks to Amazon Prime, new moms can have almost anything delivered within a few days. Still, there were times I really could have used an extra pack of wash cloths we forgot to buy or a different size diaper without having to bundle our tiny new baby into the car and venture into germ-infested Target with her. Feel free to ask a friend to pick up a thing or two on her trip to the store. Download the Venmo app so you can pay her back without worrying whether there's cash in your purse.
There is no reason to be ashamed that you might need to text your mom friends at some ungodly hour in the middle of the night, asking for baby rocker recommendation or for diapers that actually contain newborn poop, or a thermometer that actually works. Ask away, we've all bought the wrong thing before having a baby and had to go searching for things that really work when the going gets tough.
Peace and Quiet
With a newborn baby typically comes visitors and a little extra hubbub. It's perfectly ok to ask for a little peace and quiet
Sometimes all you need to hear in those first few months as a new mom is that you're doing OK. While I wouldn't typically ask questions that beg compliments, I desperately needed to hear someone confirm that I was doing a good job keeping my tiny new treasure alive.
A Conversation NOT About Your Baby
We all know you're smitten with her, but man, sometimes you just need to talk about anything other than the baby for an hour. There's no need to be ashamed and everyone will probably be relieved!