10 Important Things New Moms Need to Know
10. You can do it. No matter your age, your financial situation, your education, or your relationship status, you’ve got this, mama. It’s what you were born to do. Once you go through labor and have fallen in love with that squishy little bundle, you will be fearless. And rightly so. You can create and nourish life! Superman who now?
9. The pain is only temporary. The only way out is through. This applies to childbirth, child rearing and eventually to letting go when they leave the nest. The pain doesn’t last forever. Take a deep breath and plow through it.
8. Supermom is not so super, after all. You know that mom who actually makes all of the recipes and crafts she pins and whose child never has a hair out of place? Her life isn’t perfect. Trust me when I say that not a single one of us has it ALL together. I promise. Go be YOU.
Do what you do and be grateful for the life you have. Stop silently competing with other moms and instead be real with them. You don’t know anyone else’s story until you are real enough for them to be able to share it safely. This doesn’t mean that every “go-getter” mom you meet is hiding a big secret, but it does mean that even the most seemingly rock-awesome moms have something that causes them to struggle in some way.
7. Your child is not the only one. Whatever your child does that is socially unacceptable or annoying or embarrassing, he is not the only one. Many of the things we are quick to punish children for are absolutely age-appropriate. (Age appropriate doesn’t always equal socially appropriate, but that’s a whole other post!)
Most of these behaviors we find difficult to deal with are ones that children eventually outgrow with or without any punishment attached. Discipline (teach) them as necessary the correct ways to behave and model them well and stop worrying that other parents are judging you when your child misbehaves. Most parents are just glad that their child didn’t pick that moment to do exactly the same thing!
6. The sleepless nights of the first few months is not even the hard part. Oh, yes, I was warned heartily about the first few months of parenthood. But, I wish someone had warned me about three-year-olds. Yeesh!
5. Judging the parenting decisions of other moms is so last century. I shouldn’t have to say this, but judging other moms for practicing their preferred method of mothering will only serve to make you feel bad and will not further your vital community of fellow mothers.
I understand how it breaks your heart when another mom decides to parent in a way that is the direct opposite of your parenting choices. I know you feel sorry for her children. Everyone knows that ______ is the best way. Science says ______ determines how smart/healthy/happy children will be. Get over it. Worry about your own children. Parent them the way you think is best and feel great about it!
If someone asks you about your secrets to supersmarthealthyhappy children, tell them. Otherwise start a blog, write a book or be quiet. Even your best mom friend isn’t interested in knowing your amazing ways. Unless she asks. And then tell her only what you do and not what she should do.
4. It really does take a village. In my first five years of parenting, I scoffed at this overused phrase. I’d seen the village and I didn’t want it having any part in raising my child! I was a hardcore attachment parenting mama and I could give my baby everything he needed, thank you very much. And then I had three children under five and I realized that I needed help.
At some point, you will need to leave your child in the care of someone other than yourself or your child’s father. Your child will be fine! Sure, he or she may cry and will most certainly miss you, but allowing your child to bond with other trusted caregivers will not weaken his or her bond with you. Also, your child will not be scarred from the experience. Look for a caregiver who is willing to adhere to your philosophy of caregiving and nix the idea that your child feels abandoned because you have to work/run errands/take a hot bath–alone.
3. When it comes to the basic care of your child, you will do more work than your child’s father. It’s true. Naturally, if you are a stay at home mom, this makes sense. But even working moms typically spend more time caring for children than their partners.
There will come a time when your little darling will refuse to let daddy do anything. Mark my words. One day you will be in the middle of *insert important project here* and your children will walk right past their father, who is sitting on the couch watching the game and doing absolutely, positively nothing, and interrupt you for something that he could have easily taken care of.
This will happen more than once. You will question it with a little bit of crazy in your eyes as you demand to know if they can see daddy sitting.right.there. For the next couple of days your husband will be a little more alert and try to head them off, but they will insist that “No! Mommy does it better!”. Eventually, like the rest of us, you will give in and accept that being mommy means always doing all the things.
2. At some point during the child-rearing years you will sincerely believe that your child is headed for juvenile delinquency and beyond. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t mastered using his words and not his hands. Or maybe she tells her preschool teacher to stop bossing her around. Maybe he lives dangerously and won’t brush his teeth or take a shower without being forced. And just wait until the day when she picks up a new word at school and decides to use it in the presence of grandma!
Yes, at some point you will be certain that your child will eventually end up in the slammer because of his or her behavior. It’s incredibly likely that you are wrong. (I hope.)
1. It gets easier. No, really. It does. When I had three under five, I asked a mother who was a little further along than I was if it ever got easier. She said, “Well, no. It gets . . . different.” I received this same answer from a dad with adult children. It’s disheartening, right? Now that my children are 15, 13 and almost 11, I want to tell you, sweet mothers of the tiny ones, that parenting absolutely does get easier. It gets different, as well. But, it certainly gets easier.
Eventually, your relationship with your little ones will be less work. Toddlers and preschoolers are a lot of work. They bring a lot of joy, but it’s balanced nicely with lots and lots of work. It won’t always be that way. Soldier through this important time of growth and bonding with your children and you will reap the benefits as they get older.
One day you’ll realize that long gone are the days of struggling to get them to sleep, eat, use the potty, use their words, clean up their toys, hold your hand instead of bolting across a parking lot, do anything without having a tantrum first . . . you know the list. Hang in there, mommy! Cause, remember–you’ve got this!