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The 4 biggest misconceptions about new parenthood

Dear new mom, rest assured you are not alone.

The 4 biggest misconceptions about new parenthood

So, you’re sitting there with a babe that still fits in your arms, and every single day you are being fed a steady diet of misconceptions. I’m going to do you a favor and just be straight with you because I have a hunch that right now you are feeling a wide range of intense emotions, and not all of them are not positive ones:


You are in utter awe at the depth of your love for that little one...but wow. You had no idea it would be this hard.

Who can you tell that to, though? You don’t want to seem ungrateful or like (gasp!) a bad mom. Maybe you think the rest of us didn’t have all of those crazy feelings or struggle quite that much.

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Dear new mom, rest assured you are not alone.

You can be grateful for your baby but still feel overwhelmed.

You can be in total love but still feel sad. Every single emotion that is swirling through you right now is 100% okay.

Your hormones are whacky, you’re sleep deprived, and your world has shifted—so honestly, it’s fine to feel all the feels. You aren’t weird, bad or wrong. You’re normal!

If you can’t shake the sadness or feel overly anxious or depressed, talk to your doctor, but please know that you aren’t alone and you don’t need to feel ashamed.

Becoming a parent is the biggest of all big deals. Your entire universe has been toppled over onto its head, and it’s no wonder you haven’t found your footing yet.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but motherhood is ever-changing, and just when you think you have the hang of it, it changes again! It’s okay though. You probably won’t find the assured footing you had pre-kid, but you’re going to learn how to dance through this life. Dancing is exhausting but way more fun.

Here are four lies we need to discuss, mama.

Lie #1: You just need to find balance

Balance is like Bigfoot, okay? There are reports of sightings, but no one has any substantial proof that it exists. If you get caught up in finding balance, you’ll chase that rabbit down a hole of discontentment.

I know some people make you feel like you should be able to breastfeed on demand for exactly 27-hours-a-day and still find time to keep your house immaculate, your husband satisfied, and your yoga poses on point. Forget it, sweetheart. If you have a friend who is actually attaining that, I’m pretty sure they’ll want her for scientific study because she’s not human.

Do you know what’s good enough? The best you can do for that day. Whatever that looks like! I’m not saying don’t reach for good goals. You can inch toward a more balanced life without trying to attain the unattainable.

Lie #2: If you rub that baby down with lavender-scented lotion, she’ll fall asleep in seven seconds, sleep through the night, and wake up dry

Commercials are a joke, and we all know it, but in your sleep-deprived state, you might actually start to believe this should work. You may become discouraged thinking that babies actually sleep like that.

In reality, if you wipe your baby down in lavender lotion, she’ll smell good while she’s wailing her head off and keeping you awake. A good smelling screamer—that’s what you get.

Bad news: Your baby probably won’t actually “sleep like a baby.” Studies on infant sleep confirm what you’re about to find out and what every mother before you has learned the hard way—babies wake a lot and they usually need your help to get back to sleep. Toddlers may also wake through the night.

Good news: This too shall pass. Hang in there.

Lie #3: You should love every minute

No, you shouldn’t. Motherhood is beautiful. It’s amazing, wonderful, spectacular, humbling, breathtaking, profound and awesome. It’s also heartbreaking, challenging, exhausting and complicated.

There’s always something to enjoy, but it’s not all enjoyable. We all love our kids to pieces, but sometimes we want to run away a little bit. That’s perfectly human for you to feel.

Lie #4: This parenting formula/method/system is sure to make everything perfect!

This is the mothership that all of the other lies ride on. The idea that if we do a particular thing, we are assured of a particular outcome is intriguing, but I’m sorry to report that this is fake news.

No one can possibly figure out what one thing is going to work every time for all of our babies, and you should really beware anyone who claims to have done so. We buy into these lies because we’re exhausted and we want some easy answers. This is too good to be true. There are no guaranteed methods. You’ll just have to wing it like the rest of us, sister.

There a lot of lies you may end up hearing, and you’ll probably figure them out pretty quickly with that amazing intuition of yours. Learn early to listen to your gut, and if something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t.

There are also some pretty amazing truths that you are learning right about now as well.

The truth is that a mother’s love really does know no bounds.

The truth is that you could lie there and watch her sleep all night, partly to make sure she’s breathing and partly because there is nothing in the world more beautiful to look at.

The truth is that there is nothing that compares to the heart-exploding feeling you get when your baby smiles and coos at you.

The truth, mama, is that your incredible journey has just begun, and it’s going to be the most amazing ride of your life. The old “it’s all worth it” cliché? That one is no lie. It is. It really, really is.

After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

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