The transition into life as a First Time Mom {FTM} is the greatest one I've experienced in the last thirty years- the polarity between my new life and my former being so vast, I couldn't possibly have anticipated the reality of the changes that would take place. Throughout the last fifteen weeks, I've navigated through the growing pains- some days more painful than others- and learned some valuable lessons along the way. Here are the ten words of wisdom that make my ongoing journey into motherhood a little easier:

1. Sweat as soon, and as much, as you can: Seeing as I couldn't work out the majority of my pregnancy, this was huge for me. In the weeks leading up to my six-week-check, I took as many walks as I could. As soon as my doctor gave his blessing, I signed up for the first Soul Cycle class I could take. Fifteen weeks post-partum, I still make sure to work out every day; I've shed all the baby weight, and then some, and I've never felt healthier- giving me the energy I need to care for my little one.

2. Get dressed, every day: For those of you not yet a FTM, this might sound strange; but the struggle is real. Forcing myself to get out of my pjs, take a shower and put on "real people clothes" made me feel human again. A little makeup doesn't hurt either.

3. Mommy time: I need it. Even just fifteen minutes a day- to go for a walk, make a phone call, take a bath, or get a manicure. Those few minutes to restart lead to hours of extended sanity. I'm grateful to have a support team- my husband, friends and family- who often take the wheel.

4.  Find joy in every moment, even the tough ones: I made a point to practice this from day one- telling myself she won't be this small forever and to enjoy every second I get to hold her. I repeated this mantra to myself as I rocked her to sleep in the early weeks- when she weighed five pounds and would only sleep when held.  Fifteen weeks later, arms turn to jello after minutes of holding her, and I fight through it; knowing someday soon she won't want me to carry her anymore. 

5. Drink coffee, but not too much: After forty weeks of no caffeine, I went a little nutty for it when Maddie came- times that by ten when I finally gave up the struggle to nurse, giving me license to go caffeine-crazy. Coffee was necessary- I went days without sleeping; and when I did, worry wreaked havoc on rest.  Coffee kept me going, but it also made me feel wired, jittery, and I'm pretty sure the seven cups a day were to blame for my high blood pressure at my six-week-check. Drink caffeine- nespresso if you can- but moderate that 'ish.

6. Be organized: Every night I lay out a fresh burp cloth, two single serve bottles and nipples, and get my boppy ready- making impromptu mid-night feedings as painless as possible. I restock diapers on my changing table at least once a day, and make sure to do laundry every other day. It can be exhausting at first, but keeping organized makes life that much easier- and you need it to be.

7. Laugh: Your baby's crying hysterically while simultaneously peeing all over herself and you? Laugh. If you don't, you'll cry too.

8. Take pictures: Lots. There are never enough.

9. Ask for helpThis one continues to be difficult for me, but knowing when it's time for a break {see number 3} or to ask for advice can be a game changer. 

10. Be patient: With your husband. With your baby, and most importantly, with yourself. You're all just learning to exist in this new, beautiful world.