First time parents often read all the baby books, buy all the must-have gadgets, take the parenting classes and try to ignore the well-meaning yet unasked for advice and criticism from friends and family.

Welcoming a new baby into the world is very exciting, but those first few days, weeks and months can be extremely stressful and exhausting. Babies are often awake at night, which means parents don’t get very much sleep, and during the day, when the baby is napping, parents struggle to stay awake as they do housework or go off to their jobs.

While some people might think there are rules for parenting, there really aren’t. There are suggestions. There are things that we assume most parents do or do not do, but there are not hard and fast rules. What’s most important is finding a way to survive.

A mom named Britt LeBoeuf felt prompted to write about the struggles of raising a newborn when she saw a picture pop up on Facebook. It was a memory from three years earlier shortly after she had given birth to her second child.

The photo is of a newborn baby sleeping soundly in a laundry basket filled with laundry. There definitely aren’t any baby books that would tell you to put your newborn in a laundry basket, but LeBoeuf shared her thinking at the time.

When the photo was taken, LeBoeuf not only had a newborn but she also had a 4-year-old running around the house. We can relate to the chaos she describes.

“Whether it’s baby number one or number five, the juggling of life, work, family, recovering from delivery and everything else is real and incredibly daunting.

So, we put our babies in the laundry basket for 20 seconds while we change the wet clothes from the washer to the dryer, with our babies never more than an arm’s reach away.”

LeBoeuf went on to describe the other sacrifices new parents make, like skipping hanging out with their friends and canceling doctors appointments because they’re simply too tired to go. She explained that all that matters is surviving.

“We do what we have to do to get through the sleepless nights and the adjustment of this new person in our hearts and in our homes. Those early days are hard. Do what you’ve got to do, mama.”

LeBoeuf’s honest advice is very helpful. We’ve had more than one person tell us that we need to savor the days when our children are young because children grow up so very quickly. While we are sure this is true, it’s not exactly helpful when you’re an exhausted parent. Having someone tell you it’s ok to put your baby in the laundry basket for a second if it makes your life easier, that’s practical and relatable advice.

“Motherhood doesn’t come with a manual. There is no right or wrong way to care for your new baby, as long as he’s loved and taken care of.”

Do you find LeBoeuf’s advice helpful? Can you relate to the exhaustion of being a new parent? What parenting advice would you give a new mom or dad?