New parents, including those who have done this a few times before, have all these grand ideas of what it will be like to have a new baby. First timers especially fall prey to high expectations, thinking it only takes sheer will power to have the family life they want. But even those of us who have been down that road before continue to delude ourselves and we really should know better. More times than not parents quickly realize something about their grand scheme has to give because they can not do everything they had planned.
So when something has to give, what is it? I admit I had high expectations, even this time around. School was not going to be interrupted, we were gonna have enough frozen meals to not have to eat out, and I was gonna be up and about and ready to shop in no time. But at least I knew enough to realize I might get over my head, and to prioritize what was really important and what I could give up - before the baby got here.
So if I had to give my advice to expecting parents it would be to be honest with yourself and realize you do not have it all figured out. And then to prioritize what is really important for you. For me that would be establishing good breastfeeding, making sure everyone else is fed and has clothes to wear, the house isn't dangerously dirty and that above all else I rest. I will gladly give up my homemade meals and cloth diapers, full on grocery shopping trips and a sparkling clean house to make sure those things happen. Are those other things important to me? Yes, but not at the expense of the more important things. I know if I don't take the time to heal properly I will be laid up for longer than I need be. Its hard to not push yourself, especially when you are used to pushing yourself, but I have learned from experience what a mistake that is.
And when you get to that point where you realize something has to give please don't beat yourself up. Don't feel guilty and don't be embarrassed. We have all been down that road.