Tanya Enberg: Unexpected Mother


3 Tips That Will Help You Survive Motherhood

Important Lessons from the New Mom Trenches

It gets better. During the first few months of our baby’s life, nothing was said to us more often (always by other moms and dads) than those very words.

For new parents wondering how you’re going to survive the exhaustive, day-to-day slog of raising an infant whose needs are constant, those three little words might guide you. Heck, they might even help you.

At first, we found them quite comforting.

Eventually, though, we despised them.

Exhaustion had taken its toll. Suddenly whenever someone said ‘it gets better,’ it was about as believable as Harry Potter’s flying broomstick and we could barely muster up lackluster half-smiles in return.

See, my hubby and I had assumed our baby would be super chill.

But, instead of an easy newborn, we met a baby who clung to me like Velcro, hated naps and had pipes so powerful he could make the entire house shake.

And there we were with those optimistic words hanging over us. It. Gets. Better.

‘When?’ I wanted to scream! ‘When does it get better?’

Then, it did.

How, you ask? Well, one morning at about six weeks, our small squish of a baby flashed his first smile. That cheery morning smile worked like powerful medicine remedying a long nagging cold we’d been unable to shake.

Thankfully our son no longer resembles the cranky newborn we first got to know. He is playful, curious, energetic and very kissable. Oh, and while he’s still not super chill, he does love napping.

So, I humbly offer new parents my top three tips direct from the parenthood trenches:

Your baby will come with a unique set of demands and you won’t have a clue what they are because, let’s face it, their language is more incoherent than the sloppy drunk at the local tavern. You may try to decode baby by diving into an insane amount of must-read baby books and Googling like a crazy person, but it really comes down to trial and error. You will derive the most valuable parenthood lessons from observing and getting to know the strange little human now sharing your home.

Speaking of getting acquainted with your infant, it’s wise not to assume your baby will come with a lovely temperament of your choosing. This might happen, but so might the big $50-million lottery win. If you’re expecting a calm, sleepy baby and instead get a hyper one raring to go around the clock, you’re in for a rude awakening. You may wonder whom this little person actually takes after, but that’s the point — they are their own person. They change constantly and will endlessly surprise you.  

And lastly, it does get better. I won’t say when, why or how, but it does. Maybe parents finally get their stride or babies realize that the big, scary place outside the womb isn’t so bad after all, but the exhausting uphill marathon starts offering some rewards.Yes, you’ll still be scatterbrained and frequently forget your name, but peppered throughout the stinky stuff is a good amount of fun, and I swear to you, moments of the purest joy you’ve ever felt.

So, whatever challenge you’re facing today, keep those words close to you because it really DOES get better and, before you know it, this very moment will be gone.