You know, I tend to wince at the term "parenting expert" and I am certainly not one, but I do have a little bit of experience with my 3 babies. Here are a few simple things that were running through my head tonight - things I wish I'd fully understood right from the get-go.
Your baby needs *some* germs. Stop sterilizing every little thing. It's fine for a few weeks, but common sense is what will work best. Stay away from sick people, but don't worry about cloroxing the stuff baby won't even be touching for months.
Crying isn't dying. I'm not for sleep training weeks-old babies, or leaving them to wail just because, but if they cry the whole time you are in the bathroom, rest assured they are still going to be okay. Whether a trip to the restroom or a dash into the kitchen to make a sandwich, you have to take care of your body's basic needs, and the baby won't die in 30 seconds. Really. It's okay. Don't let a frazzled panic take over when baby gets upset. Which segues into my next point.
Stay calm. As much as humanly possible, just stay calm. When the baby starts screaming because they are hungry and you are in the Target checkout, at the very least over half of the people in your immediate vicinity are either parents, grandparents, or are closely involved with a niece/nephew/adopted-by-love-friend's-baby. They know. They get it. They sympathize. Sure the occasional grouch is there, huffing at your noisy babe and/or looking at your child with grave concern as if you can't hear them, or worse, you just don't care. But you will be happy to discover that most of what you will encounter is understanding and even straight-up kindness. Smile at your angry, irrational baby and talk to them; smile at the clerk and pay. It is okay. It's really, completely, totally okay, and you absolutely will not be the only mother to come through the store with a wailing child that day. I guarantee it.
Babies aren't the only ones who get overstimulated. It is perfectly normal to feel like you just want to go off alone and have NO ONE TOUCH YOU for an hour or so. It's NORMAL. Let Dad take a shift (I recommend leaving the premises for breaks as soon as Dad is ready to fly solo for an hour or two - a change of scenery is re-centering like you wouldn't believe). In that hour you will reset a bit and probably start to miss your baby and long to come home and sniff that precious little baby head. It's okay to let yourself miss them. I would even say it's a good thing.
And hey, good news, you probably can do it all. Seriously. If you want to. With the right level of commitment, you, my friend, can probably keep your home clean to a sparkle, your baby mostly clean, and cook three hot meals a day, coordinating the dryer to go off right at your available moments so that nothing EVER piles up. But you don't have to. And I recommend that you give yourself permission to not run around on a frantic mission to make your home look like there are no children or babies there. Choose your priorities. Let snuggling and sleep be among them. It isn't laziness to do the dishes once a day instead of making absolutely sure nothing ever sets in the sink past the end of a mealtime. Sometimes it's just more efficient that way. Asking your husband to help you fold things or stick something in the oven isn't a sign of your inadequacy. I promise.
This is a learning experience. Not because you aren't wise/smart/prepared enough, but because that is the very nature of parenthood. We go in expecting to be teachers; trainers, so we prepare for that role. Instead we quickly realize that it is us at the little desk watching the blackboard. It is really easy to feel like you are failing when others seem so confident and together. Rest assured that you are never seeing the complete picture, and we are all a little bit of a mess when it comes down to it.
Your job? It's hard. Usually in ways you never expected. We are *all* constantly confronting things we aren't sure how to handle. That is why it is so incredibly important to support one another.
Welcome to Club Parenthood. We're glad you're here.