Jonah is about 5 months old now, and I feel like I have learned more in such a short time than ever before. When he was first born, my mom was a God-send helping me figure things out with a new baby at home, and I was absolutely terrified for her to leave. I just kept thinking, "It's crazy that anyone would trust us with a baby by ourselves!" Somehow we've made it through and, for the most part, pretty successfully if I do say so myself. Here are some tips and tricks for any other new moms out there:
1. LEARN THE 5 S's. Drum roll, please. Swaddle, side-hold, shush, shake (gently), and suck. I don't know that we would have survived without this! When Jonah was about 3 weeks old until about 8 weeks, he would cry several hours each day. I was upset, he was upset, and I thought I might rip my hair out trying to soothe him! One day, I stumbled on this video, showing Dr. Karp (a.k.a. One of the Greatest Men to Ever Have Been Born) putting his "5 S" philosophy into action (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6KnVPUdEgQ). Once we saw this, we never turned back. Combined, these five steps work like a magical baby drug that puts your screaming child in a Zen-like trance. And I have NEVER been more attracted to my husband than when he could calm Jonah down in 8 seconds flat. Seriously. You can thank me later.
2. DON'T RESIST THE PACIFIER. I was determined not to give Jonah a paci because I didn't want to be sticking it in his mouth a thousand times a day. But as Jay pointed out the first time we got Jonah to take one, there is a reason they call it a "pacifier." I will say that we don't allow Jonah to have it during naps or at night in the crib. And as it was pointed out to me, when they're two years old, it's easier to take away a pacifier than it is to take away a thumb!
3. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. Everyone thought I was crazy when I took Jonah to Wal-mart when he was about a week old. I think I have a psychological problem that causes me to go nuts when I stay in the house too long. Before Jonah was born, I told my friends that they would not be seeing less of me, because I made a resolution to leave the house at least once every day. They doubted me, but I was determined. Whether it's going to the bank/post office/grocery, visiting Jay at work, having lunch with friends, or strolling around the world's smallest mall in Greenwood, Jonah and I are on the go! I really believe this helps me keep my sanity.
4. LET OTHER PEOPLE HOLD YOUR BABY. Because Jay and I are in ministry and we are a part of a super-friendly, loving church, we knew Jonah would be popular. And boy, is he ever. He is passed around like a hot potato on Sunday morning. I teach at a tutoring center here in town for an hour or two every afternoon and Jonah comes with me (which is such a blessing!). He loves being held by the other teachers there and I love how much they dote on him! I hope that this will help him be comfortable around other adults in the long run, and not clinging to me and screaming anytime someone else wants to hold him or we need to leave him with a babysitter. Jay and I were both raised to be pretty independent, and I hope we can instill this in our kids as well!
5. REALIZE THAT YOUR JOB IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE YOU COULD ASK FOR. Going from working a full-time job to staying at home can be an extremely difficult transition. There is no recognition, and you spend most of your day talking to someone who doesn't talk back. It is so easy for me to feel like I'm failing. But really, I have never been more blessed. My job is to show love, patience, and kindness to my son. My job is to teach him to love Jesus and to know that Jesus loves him. My job is to make our home a warm, inviting place for my husband. There is no other job that will ever be more important than this. I pray daily that I will remember that it is an honor to wash these dishes, do one more load of laundry, and get down on the floor to play with my sweet boy.