A Not-To-Do List for The New Mom

A list of things new moms should definitely not do.

The responsibilities are endless, once that baby joins the family. And, seemingly, it all doubles if you’re on to baby number two. While I’m sure your to-do lists are taking up all the memory on your phone, consider also what not to do — and not in the “don’t do this or you’ll hurt your baby” way, but in the “give yourself a break today” way.

Here are 7 things you should not do as a new mom.

1. Don’t clean the bathroom if you have a free hour. Don’t do the dishes. Don’t answer work emails. I know, I know, it seems like that’s what that time is for; trust me, that will come. For now, those hours are for sipping tea and watching the Gilmore Girls revival.

2. Don’t deny yourself the cookie on a day when everything is making you cry. There is scientific evidence supporting an improved mood after consuming chocolate. Giving into the cravings is purely science.

3. Don’t try to keep the onesie drawer organized. For whatever reason, this drove me so bonkers, I sorted and folded the thing once a day. But onesies are floppy and tiny, and you use three or more a day. Just let it go and consider it a small first step into embracing the mess.

4. Don’t stay at home all day. Only another mother understands that feeling of satisfied accomplishment when you get everyone out the door, dressed and ready to go. So whether it’s just to walk around the block or go to your favorite local coffeeshop, that’s a treat you’ve earned.

5. Don’t neglect your own essentials for the day. In 2017, we’re better at reminding ourselves and our girlfriends about self-care. But I’m not talking about a luxurious bath where you actually shave your legs. I’m saying, don’t forget to put sunscreen on your face. Don’t forget to grab a bottle of water. Brush your teeth, at least twice a day. Change your underwear. Roll on your favorite essential oil to feel calm and pretty at the same time.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff on days when you just can’t hack it. After a baby, the little things (and our emotional reactions to them) are heightened. If the baby’s socks don’t match, let it go. And I promise, the wipes are warm enough for the kid’s butt. Survival mode is not just an okay place, it’s a really normal spot to land as a new mom.

7. Don’t forget to pause. Love the toys scattered about, the lived-in rooms, the warm baby who only wants to be held. Those things can feel simultaneously frustrating, but the trick is to hold it all, to call it all good. And sometimes, all you need is to stop, take it in, breathe, and your perspective shifts.

We’ve all been there, and we all understand how overwhelming and isolating new motherhood can sometimes feel. Write down your NOT to-do list, and when you feel you’ve reached your limit, glance at it and remember that you are already doing enough.

Let us know what you’re including on your list in the comments below. 

Sarah Ann Noel

Sarah Ann Noel

Sarah Ann Noel is the wife of Trevor, the mother of Iris and Edith, and a freelance writer in Brooklyn. A prodigious over-thinker and an exhaustive over-feeler, Sarah loves to write essays about life and the things that move her—primarily lessons in love and hope and finding what’s good in the world. She is currently working on her first book, fueled by a hefty amount of caffeine. Read more at sarahannnoel.com.

Comments {4}

  1. yes!! needed this reminder. thank you!

    MommyHerrick
  2. Omg, I needed to read this…today and every day for the past 9 months of being a new mom. Thank you!!! I’ll go grab that cookie and glass of wine now…then brush my teeth.

    Filiz
    1. So glad we could make you smile, mama! That cookie (and wine!) is well deserved.

      Jessica Pallay
  3. Not to fold the laundry! That moment of downtime I can instead focus on lying down… just. Nothingness. That’s all!

    Desiree Durso

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