Advice for New Moms – 10 Things New Moms Need to Know
Hey there, new mama. Let’s talk. I’ve got some advice for new moms I want to share with you.
Look . . . You already know it won’t be easy. I’m sure plenty of folks have told you that. You know it will be worth it. Lots of people have promised you so.
Those two things are true and I found it helpful to be validated and reassured in that way as a new mom. However, there are other things I wish someone would have told me when I was a new mom. I want to share those things with you today.
And don’t worry – “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” (or any of these four things we should stop telling new moms) is not one of the ten things on my list.
10 Things All New Moms Need to Know – My Best Advice for New Moms
You Can Do This
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 fall in love with that squishy little bundle you’ll be fearless. And rightly so. You can create and nourish life! Superman who now?
The Pain is Only Temporary
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard in general is a great piece of advice for new moms: The only way out is through.
This advice 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. Then pat yourself on the back. You did it!
Supermom is Not So Super After All
You know that mom who actually makes all of the recipes and crafts she pins on Pinterest 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.
So, mama, you do 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 won’t know anyone else’s story until you’re 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.
Your Child is Not the Only One
Whatever your child does that’s socially unacceptable or annoying or embarrassing, he’s not the only one. Many of the things we’re quick to punish children for are absolutely age-appropriate.(Age appropriate doesn’t always equal socially appropriate, but that’s a whole other article!)
Most of the behaviors we find difficult to deal with are ones that children eventually outgrow with or without any punishment attached. Discipline (teach) your children as necessary in the correct way to behave, model good behavior for them, and stop worrying that other moms are judging you when your child misbehaves. Most moms are just glad their child didn’t pick that moment to do exactly the same thing!
Sleepless Nights Aren’t Even the Hard Part
Oh, yes, I was well warned about the first few months of parenthood. But, I wish someone had warned me about three-year-olds. Yeesh!
Do yourself a favor and get this whole set of books so you know what’s coming and can be prepared:
Judging Other Parenting Styles is So Last Century
I shouldn’t have to say this, but judging other moms for parenting the way they prefer makes you feel bad and won’t help you get the support you need when your preferred style of parenting falls short. (Because no single parenting method is perfect or easy.)
I understand how it breaks your heart when another mom you care about decides to parent in a way that’s in direct opposition of your parenting ideals. I know you feel sorry for her children.
You might think to yourself, Everyone knows that ______ is the best way to parent. Or, Science says ______ determines how smart/healthy/happy children will be. Mama, you’ve got to 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 what you do Otherwise start a blog, write a book, or be quiet about it. 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.
Pick Your Village Carefully
Maybe it does take a village to raise a child. In my first few years of parenting, I scoffed at this overused phrase. I’d seen the village and I didn’t want it raising my child! I was a hardcore attachment parenting mama and I could give my baby everything he needed, thank you very much. (You should check out my article on my attachment parenting results, regrets, and lessons after eighteen years of parenting.)
And then I had three children under five and I realized I needed help.
At some point, you’ll need to leave your child in the care of someone other than yourself or your child’s father. Look for a caregiver who’s willing to adhere to your ideals. This will help you to release the idea that your child feels abandoned because you have to work/run errands/take a hot bath – alone.
Parenting is Not 50/50
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 the children than their partners do.
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 interrupt you for something he could have easily taken care of.
This will happen more than once. You’ll 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’ll give in and accept that being mommy means always doing all the things.
Your Child is Probably Normal and It’s All Gonna Be Okay
At some point during your child’s childhood you’ll sincerely believe he or she 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 front of grandma!
Yes, at some point you’ll be certain that your child will eventually end up in the slammer because of his or her behavior. It’s incredibly likely that you’ll be wrong. (I hope.)
It Gets Easier
I know, I know. I said I wouldn’t tell you this here. But mama, it gets easier.
No, really. It does. When I had three kids under five, I asked a mother whose kids were a little older than mine if parenting ever got easier. She answered, “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 all teenagers, 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 simply a lot of hard 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!
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