Our fall favorites are here! 🍂

Dear Brand New Father,

I remember the day my husband and I brought our first little girl home from the hospital. We walked up the broken concrete steps to our 700-square-foot, one-bedroom shack, gingerly pulled her from her car seat as though her tiny body might crumble in our very hands, and just held her. For the next year. Which might explain why she didn’t walk until she was sixteen months old.

Since she’d been in the NICU the first three weeks of her life, we thought we were prepared for the whole parenting gig. We’d watched others take care of her for 21 whole days before they handed her over, and it didn’t really seem too complicated. We’d often walk in to find her lying quietly in the incubator, usually sleeping, occasionally looking around the room, eyes wide. She never really cried.

So we were shocked that very first night in our home when she cried for two straight hours.

And then, when I was sure she’d never quit, she spit up EVERYWHERE. All over me. All over her. All over our bed. And that’s when I knew it. She was dying. There was no other explanation. I’d never seen such a tiny living thing produce such a large amount of fluid. What have we done to her?

Turns out, she didn’t die. Also turns out, she’d put on one heck of a show for all those NICU nurses.

The next several months was more of the same. She cried. I cried. She spat up. We stunk. It didn’t take me long to realize I wasn’t the mom I thought I’d be and my husband wasn’t the dad I thought he’d be. And when I wasn’t mad at myself for sucking, or mad at the baby for crying, I was mad at him… for everything in between.

We hadn’t found our balance. We didn’t know our roles. There was no ying and very little yang.

Dad, I don’t know if you feel lost navigating this new role of yours, but if you do, or if your wife tagged you in this because unbeknownst to you, you do, here are a few tips on how to love your wife well after she’s had a baby (even when she’s acting crazy):

1.Let Her Sleep – Her hormones are doing a number on her right now, so that might partly explain why she’s constantly looking at you like you just ate the last donut. But besides that, she really, really needs sleep. Tell her to go take a nap. Tell her you’ll take a night shift or two. If she’s nursing and doesn’t want to miss a feeding, tell her to bring you the baby after she’s done and you’ll get him back to sleep. Tell her to just go lie down for a few minutes because YOU GOT THIS. (And you do. You’re the dad, and you’re awesome at being the dad.)

2.Make Her Leave the House – She’ll probably come back. When that baby arrives and needs her mom every 2-3 hours just to survive, your formerly young-wild-and-free wife might have a “what the …” moment. Like, this is my life, forever forever ever, attached to this little person, all. the. time. Then, when she watches you leave the house while she sits in her nursing chair (again), she might cry (again). She LOVES that chair, and she LOVES that baby. But she also craves just one hour to herself. Give her that.

3.Compliment Her – Her hair probably looks like she soaked it all night in olive oil, the kitchen floor is definitely a little sticky, pump parts are piled high in a bubbly bowl by the sink, and you don’t have any clean underwear. BUT. She kept the baby alive another day. This is fantastic news. Tell her how awesome she is. She might not have the juggling act down that she will in a few months, but when we moms start out, NONE of us do. The goal is merely this: survive. And she did. Give her a freaking award, or at the very least a “You’re doing an amazing job.”

4.Clean the House or Hire Someone Else to Do it – Just because the house is always a mess, doesn’t mean she likes the house always being a mess. However, tread carefully here. There’s a fine line between, “Oh, I could kiss you right now,” and, “Um. Excuse me? You don’t think I’m perfectly capable of cleaning my own house?” The key is in the presentation. This is all about lightening her load, not about having a clean house for you to come home to.

5.Don’t Get Easily Offended – The woman you knew a few weeks ago, she’ll be back. She’ll even be an improved Mom.0 version. But until then, don’t take offense to the shade she throws at 3 am or the PG-13 names you heard her call you over the monitor. Ear-muff the baby, take a deep breath, swallow what pride you have left, and ask her how you can help. She just wants to know she’s not doing this alone.

You’ve got this dad. And rest assured, it will get easier. The two of you will be old pros in just a few months. Just in time to have another. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Jordan Harrell

Jordan writes about the days with her three kids and wonderful husband to help her get through the days with her three kids and wonderful husband. She's really good at eating chocolate, over-analyzing everything, and forgetting stuff. In 2017, Jordan founded fridaynightwives.com, a blog and boutique that serves as a ministry for coaches' wives. You can find her at jordanharrell.comFacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

The Letting Go Happens Tooth by Tooth

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy smiling missing a tooth

There is something about a toothless grin. Not the gummy smile of infancy, but the wide-gapped delight of a child who has newly lost a tooth. Today’s was not the first tooth my son has lost—the first was over a year ago—but today, the fifth tooth, was a top one, and today his smile seemed to announce with an oh, so in my face clarity, that he and I had better make room for adulthood (or at least, pre-tweendom?). He is shedding his babyhood. Those teeth that kept me up at night on their way in have outgrown their use....

Keep Reading

To the Parents Facing a Child’s Illness: You Are Strong

In: Grief, Kids, Motherhood
Toddler with cast and IV looking out window

If you are the parents who just sat for hours in a cold doctor’s office to hear that your child has a life-threatening illness, you are so strong.  If you are the parents who can’t bring yourself to decorate or celebrate the unknown because you don’t know if they’ll ever come home, you are so strong.  If you are the parents who travel or relocate to deliver your child in one of the best hospitals with hopes it will change the outcome, you are so strong. If you are the parents who learn all the medical terminology so you understand...

Keep Reading

I Am a Mother Evolving

In: Grown Children, Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Mother and child walking by water in black and white photo

Those who mean well squawk the refrain— “The days are long, but the years are short.” They said I would miss it— little feet and newborn baby smell nursing in the wee hours with a tiny hand clutching mine. Tying shoes,  playing tooth fairy,  soothing scary dreams. They were fine times, but I do not wish them back. RELATED: Mamas, Please Quit Mourning Your Children Growing Up I rather enjoy these days of my baby boy suddenly looking like a young man in a baseball uniform  on a chilly Wednesday in April. And my Amazonian teenage girl  with size 11...

Keep Reading

Kids Need Grace and So Do Their Moms

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Woman touching child's forehead

We were having a hard morning. Our house was overrun with toys, I hadn’t had a chance to get dressed, and my stress level was increasing by the minute. To top it all off, my 3-year-old was having a meltdown anytime I spoke to her. Even looking in her general direction was a grave mistake. It was one of those days that as a parent, you know you’re really in for it. I was quickly losing my patience. My frustration began to ooze out of me. I snapped orders, stomped around, and my attitude quite clearly was not pleasant to...

Keep Reading

As a Nurse, This Is How I Prepared My Daughter for Her First Period

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Woman wearing sunglasses with hands on the sides of her face and smiling, black and white photo

I don’t remember my first period, which means my mother had me well prepared. This doesn’t mean I was okay with it. I remember feeling awkward and tense each time. And honestly, for many years, shopping for feminine hygiene products filled me with unease. But wait a minute! There shouldn’t be anything shameful about something that will recur for about half of a woman’s life! Who decided it was to be a sensitive subject? Aren’t we all supposed to show empathy toward each other when it comes to this?  I say, pass the Midol around, sister! I knew the time...

Keep Reading

With Grandkids, It’s The Little Things

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Nine children sitting on a couch together

We had just pulled into the driveway when our youngest grandtwins, 3-year-old Ellis and Brady, came running out the front door and down the steps to hug us. “Let me see your earrings, Grandma,” Ellis said, reaching up to pull me down to his level. “The green M&Ms!  I told you, Brady!” “Those are the ones our brother Adler picked out for you!” Brady yelled as he ushered us into the house and started going through the tote bag I always carry for them, filled with favorite books from our house and three little bags of snacks in the bottom....

Keep Reading

Childhood Is Not a Race

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Two young girls playing in creek bed, color photo

Sweet child, I know you want to grow up. You want to get older and do more and more. I see you changing day after day. You are no longer a little girl, but you’re turning into a young lady. You’re becoming this wonderful person who leads and cares for others. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. But don’t rush out of your childhood. It’s this beautiful season where wonder and discovery live. It’s this beautiful time when you don’t have to carry the weight of adulthood. It’s this beautiful time. Savor it. Slow down and enjoy it. Breathe in...

Keep Reading

There’s Something Special about Band Kids

In: Kids

There is something incredibly special about band kids. The hours of practice that begin in elementary school. It’s the squeaking and squawking of a new alto or the flutter of early flute days, high-pitched honks from a trumpet, constant and consistent tapping . . . drumming on everything. And gallons of spit too, until one day a few years down the road, you realize all that practice time has turned into an incredible melody and skill. The alarm that goes off at 5:35 a.m., and before most people are awake, band kids have sleepily found a quick breakfast bite, grabbed...

Keep Reading

You’ll Grow So Much In Kindergarten and I Can’t Wait to Watch

In: Kids
Two young children in backpacks walk toward a school building

On her seventh day of school, my kindergartener doesn’t cry. It was a long road to this day. For the first six days of school, we experienced varying degrees of screaming, clinging, running back inside our house and slamming the door, and expressing general displeasure with the whole idea of school. “I wanna stay home with YOU, Mommy!” “But Charlotte, you are bored out of your mind every day of the summer. You hate it.” “No I don’t. I LOVE IT.” “Well we can spend every afternoon after school and all weekend together. You’ll be tired of me in five...

Keep Reading

Six Feels So Much Bigger

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Little girl with horse, color photo

Six . . . Six is only one number more than five,  one grade, one year . . . but it feels so different. Five is baby teeth and new beginnings. Five is venturing out into the world, maybe making a friend. Meeting a teacher. Learning to ride a bike. Six took my breath away. Six looks like a loose front tooth—tiny and wiggly, soon to be replaced by a big tooth, one that will stay forever. Six looks like a bright purple bike zooming down the driveway. RELATED: When There Are No More Little Girls’ Clothes Six looks like playing...

Keep Reading