This post was originally published on the blog . You can find it here.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I find myself thinking a lot about motherhood and my own experience as a somewhat new mommy. Having a baby is one of the most amazing experiences ever.  Holding your baby and looking into their eyes for the very first time is a moment that you will never forget. Motherhood is a true blessing and full of many joys. Those first few days of bonding with your baby are so special… exhausting… but special. The first year of motherhood is full of so many changes that sometimes it will seem like just when you get caught up or figure things out, they go and change on you again! Welcome to parenthood! Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you quickly learn that there is still so much to learn. The first year of motherhood will be one of the most amazing but challenging years ever.

I’m not an expert in motherhood, but I learned so much in my first year of being a mommy. I want to share  8 tips that will help you survive that first year. Soooo…. here we go!! 🙂

1. Don’t be too hard on yourself

Becoming a mommy is one of the most rewarding but challenging things you can do.  It is definitely something you can never really be completely prepared for. You can do all your research beforehand, but you don’t really know what motherhood is really like until you have a baby. Having a baby will completely change your life, (and sometimes even your mind) and that’s okay. There will be some days where you will wonder if you can do this  “mommy-ing” thing, but believe me you can. If things don’t go exactly as you want them to for the birth and after, don’t be discouraged. Don’t blame yourself for things that might not go the way you had planned.  Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be “wonder mom” and get EVERYTHING done! If the laundry has to stay in the dryer one more day, that’s okay! Feeling like you can barely keep up is normal.  If you need to sleep all day (while the baby is sleeping) do it!! Bringing another person into the world is one of the hardest (but most amazing) things you have ever done, you deserve a break or two, or three. ?

2. If someone offers to help…take it

When someone you know and trust offers to help … Let them!!  You don’t have to do everything by yourself! Let your friends come over and help watch the baby so you can nap, or clean, or just take a few minutes to yourself. If you’re anything like me, cooking will not be something you are thinking about, let others cook for you. If someone offers to do something helpful… say YES!!!!  Believe me, you’ll be so happy you did!!

3. Take advantage of new mommy benefits, discounts and freebies

You’ll only be able to use the “expectant/new mother” parking spots for so long, so go ahead and use them proudly. Also, there are many freebies and discounts available for new and expecting moms. Take advantage of them! There are so many products and coupons for so many items to choose from, that you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store. You can find some here and here. I wish I had known about these when I had my baby, I’ll definitely be checking them out when baby #2 comes.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

I was so blessed to have my mom in town for two months after we had the baby. It was a HUGE plus that she had flexibility in her schedule to come for such an extended amount of time. Having her around was soooo helpful and I don’t know how we would’ve made it without her.  When she left we were a little nervous about doing things on our own, but thankfully her being there helped us to get to a place where we felt confident enough to do this parenting thing on our own. Even though grandma was gone, we were so blessed to have friends who were like family that were available to help as needed. Another great resource that you should tap into is your community of friends. There’s a lot that goes into having a baby, and it can be hard. If you need help with things around the house or taking care of baby, don’t be afraid to ask. Friends are there to support and help each other. I know that there were many times that I called the friends who were like “Aunties” to help out with the baby, and they were so happy to help. So if you have a network of friends and family who are available and willing to help as needed, definitely utilize that resource.

5. Take some time to rest and recharge

This is very important! You cannot give to others if your cup is empty. The demands of motherhood can be draining and exhausting, and I should mention never-ending.  It’s important that you take care of yourself so that you can be recharged. As a new mommy, it can be hard to separate yourself from the baby for a little bit, but believe me, you need the space. This is one thing I wish I had done more during my first year of motherhood. My little one is now going to be two years old and I’m always looking for ways and opportunities to get some time to myself. Not because I don’t want to be around her, but because I need time to rest, refocus and recharge.   I shared some practical  ways you can do this in another post called 8 Ways Simple Ways To Refresh and Recharge.

6. Plan ahead as much as possible

While it’s impossible to plan ahead for EVERYTHING, it’s important to plan as much as you can. One way you can do this is to set up a nightly “to do list” for yourself. Doing this will make a HUGE difference in the first year. Between pumping, packing diaper bags, laundry, cooking, and more you will find that having a routine in place of things that need to be done daily will help out tremendously! Set aside time every night to pack the diaper bag, get yours and baby’s clothes ready, etc. so that in the mornings you don’t have to rush around and things will go MUCH smoother. I’m an ultimate planner and some weekends when I can, I’ll plan out my daughter’s outfits for the whole week. I know it’s a bit overboard, but that’s one less thing I have to think about over the week and a little more time available during the week to spend with my sweetie pie. That’s just one example of how planning ahead can help. As time goes by you’ll find other ways and things that you can do to help simplify your life.

7. Make time for fun

This one is also very important in the first year of motherhood. Make time to do things that are fun for you whether it’s a date night, girls night, me time, shopping, mani/pedi, whatever it is… make time for it! Yes, “mommy-ing” is VERY important, but don’t let that be the ONLY thing you do! Make sure you sprinkle in some fun!

8. Enjoy every moment

This first year really goes by so fast.  Before you know it, you will be planning your baby’s first birthday party! Take time to enjoy each moment as it comes. Don’t be so wrapped up in what needs to be done, or what you are not getting done that you miss out on the special moments with your baby that you only get once. Once your baby grows up, those special moments are just memories, so make the most of them while you can. Also, enjoy the silly and fun moments too! Take time to laugh and take as many pictures and videos as you want! Trust me, you might have over 3,000 pictures and videos on your phone, but you’ll look back on them and be so happy you did!

My first year of motherhood was one of the hardest, but best years of my life. Learning how to adjust with a new little person (whose arrival completely turned everything upside down) was a challenge, but brought so much joy into our lives! By doing these tips, and trusting the Lord to guide you as you navigate these new waters, you can not only “survive” your first year of motherhood, but actually really enjoy it too!

So dear moms, what are some tips that you can add to this list? I would love to hear your ideas!! Please share in the comments below!!

Gr8fully Yours,