*The below applies to new moms past the first few weeks, because the first few weeks are reserved for extreme sleep deprivation and newborn purple raisins that scream so loudly, inexplicably, and consistently that you question your very existence.
**If you have twins or more than one child in general, disregard the below. Congratulations. To me, your life is one very extended episode of “Naked and Afraid.” I have no idea how you do anything, and you are the best.
1. Do something creative every day.
You don’t have to be an artist and it doesn’t have to be good, but make something. Make a healthy 20 minute meal that you’re proud of during a nap, or figure out how to sew something. Write in a journal about how insane you feel. Take the XL tshirt you still fit into because you still look pregnant (anyone?) and write “OH MY GOD DON’T TALK TO ME” across the front in puff paint and draw a little emoji that is crying. Make a little effort until it comes naturally for you to take a little time each day to do something that makes you feel productive, cool, and like yourself again.
2. Don’t feel guilty, about anything.
When your kid is napping, don’t feel guilty about lying in bed and playing Candy Crush for an hour. Don’t feel like you should really be cleaning the house instead, even if giant dog hair tumbleweeds are blowing across your dining room floor, which is what my house looks like. Don’t feel like a bad mom because you let your baby watch 20 minutes of Baby TV on Hulu Plus at 5pm because your partner’s not coming home for three more hours and you need a damn break. Don’t feel like you have to serve a side salad with a frozen pizza. Remember, tomato sauce is a vegetable.
3. Don’t try on your pre-pregnancy pants and don’t go pants shopping.
The expression “muffintop” will take on new meaning, and should really be changed to “enormous bakery scone on two toothpicks.”
4. Ask for help.
Need a break? That’s okay. Ask your mother-in-law to come for a few days and spend some time with your spawn so you can really devote yourself to crushing candies. Tell your partner after they come home from a long day of work that they need to watch the kid for the rest of the night. Take three hours off on a Saturday to go see Pitch Perfect 2 alone (wear your elastic waist maternity pants and get extra butter on your popcorn, please). You deserve a break, so take it.
5. Don’t doubt yourself and don’t overgoogle.
It takes a few weeks or months (or years) for the newparent instincts to really kick in. Until then, try your hardest to trust your gut. You know how to take care of this baby. You won’t know right away how to tell the difference between a hungry cry and an “I shit my pants” cry, which is normal, despite what the internet says. The internet will always and forever tell you you’re doing it wrong. Is your baby breathing? Then you are the best. It is totally normal for babies to cry/ not sleep/ be weird looking. You googling it is only going to make you also become weird looking, because your eyeballs will eventually pop out of your face in frustration and hate. Don’t google.