Nine years ago I was sharing the excitement with family and friends that we were going to have a baby (And that this time it was going to work). I think back at myself nine years ago and I can still remember the fear and excitement I was feeling all at the same time. I was going to be a Mom! Although, like most first time moms, I really had no idea what was about to happen. Oh sure you hear about no sleeping, and colic, and sick babies, etc… but you don’t really “get it” until it happens to you. Experienced Moms would try to clue me in on the reality of what is going to happen, but I didn’t hear anything. I was in new Mommy bliss. After the first baby, and on to the second baby and for us a third baby, well the reality button of life is flashing red. But man, I loved that bliss of not knowing anything with the first pregnancy. Just being happy that I was going to have a baby. That was all I really needed to know at that time.
(2004, meeting Ethan)
After a new baby enters the world, it doesn’t take much time for reality to sink in. Suddenly you realize that being a parent is a lot of work. And it’s not many days after baby gets settled questions start to roll in from the new moms to the more experienced moms. Questions about breastfeeding and bottles, formula, and pacifiers, and how to get baby to sleep, and why baby won’t stop crying, etc. Most experienced moms are more than willing to share what worked for them to new moms who are trying to figure it out. And sure after three kids, I could rattle off what brand of diapers we used, what car seat is best, and 101 ways to get baby to fall asleep But I think most of all, new moms need encouragement and support from Moms that have been through it.
(baby Owen 2006, above. First time seeing Zooey 2010, below)
So here is my advice to new moms who are just trying to figure it all out.
1. You are good enough. Some days you might not feel like you are good enough to take care of this little person. But you don’t have to be a super mom. Do not feel like you should be cooking home cooked meals, crafting cute baby things from Pinterest, all while keeping your house clean, the baby book up-to-date, while you and your baby are wearing the most stylish clothes while sharing it all on Instagram. The truth is YOU are good enough. The baby doesn’t care about all that extra stuff. He/she just needs their Mommy Love and hugs and kisses. That is all they need. They just need you.
2. Learn from doing. There is never one answer on how to do anything. Your baby might like one thing one day and not like it the next day. What works for your friend’s baby may not work for yours. So just try things. If it doesn’t work for you and your baby, then move on and try the next thing. Keep trying until you find something that does work for you. This is an ever evolving situation. Once you figure out one thing, another issue will come up. Roll with it.
3. Have fun! I know I don’t want my kids to look back and remember a grumpy, stressed out mom. Get on the floor, get outside and play with your kids. Let things go. Let them see you smile and be silly and have fun. Talk to your baby, sing to your baby, be happy. Enjoy this time for both you and them.
4. Be flexible. I do like a nice schedule, this is true. But don’t be so strict with your schedule it stresses you out. Of course your kid needs to eat, baths are good and a reasonable bedtime is a must. But the truth is, your baby is going to run your day. You start your day with plans, things to do, place to go, but at the end of the day nothing turned out the way you planned. This is normal! Don’t’ be frustrated with this. Tomorrow is always a new day, and most things can wait. Your baby is only the small once, soak it in.
5. Let love rule and trust your gut. You know your child better than anyone. Sure its great to listen to advice from everyone. But in the end, you know what your child needs. You know them the best. Better than anyone. So just go with your heart and trust your gut when trying to decide what is best for your child and it will never lead you wrong.
Around here, we are getting to the end of the baby stage. Zooey is less a baby and more a big girl everyday. And with each stage I know there are new things to learn about this Mom-thing. There is so much more I still have to figure out. Luckily for me I know a lot of experienced Moms who are always around to give me advice. But I believe the 5 little lessons above will carry me through this crazy adventure of Motherhood. Through every stage and everything it brings.
What advice do you have for new moms? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!
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