The handmade booties from your great aunt, the trendy stuffed animals you picked out on a leisurely Saturday afternoon and the softer-than-anything-you’ve-ever-felt baby blanket you kept petting during your pregnancy to remind yourself this whole thing is real, are all great to have. But they’re about as useful as a hand towel in a tsunami when the first year with your first baby actually gets going. What you need is a personal strategy to batten down the hatches of your life and stock up on resources to turn that tsunami into a fun-filled day at the water park. What you need is the forecast. I’ve heard more than a few moms talk about what they wish they had known that first year. In the quest for your life to normalize, and even more than that, to reach a new level of satisfying energy and the larger-than-yourself joy that parenting promised, I suggest giving prioritized focus and gentle awareness to five key areas, enabling you to become the balanced and beautiful mother that you knew you could be as soon as you peed on that stick. I’m telling you what we all wish we could have told ourselves.