So you’re gonna be a mom! What! Amazing! Something many of us spend many hours dreaming of. What you don’t know is all of the scary-crazy-new-amazing-mindblowing stuff that comes with caring for a tiny human. Because I don’t care who you are, what you did up to this day, how many books you have read, or how many classes you have taken — nothing fully prepares you for becoming a mommy.
When I look back on my first baby I find myself saying “I wish…” I stop myself and remind myself that everything happens for a reason and that my time/choices/etc. with Harrison were just what they needed to be in that time. The second time around things are SO different. A lot of my very near and dear friends are starting to have their first babies and I am finding myself in the position to share some of my experiences as a mommy of 1 and then 2.
Things I wish someone had told me the first time:
- newborns make a lot of noise, very weird and sometimes scary noises, especially when they are sleeping and especially when you FINALLY fall asleep. Don’t worry we have all recorded them and shown them to the pediatrician, he/she won’t judge. And chances are the noises are normal baby noises — kids start hazing their parents the day they are born.
- swaddling is not a form of torture, they really do like it, you just have to find the one that works for your little. Tip: Borrow from friends and try for at least 3 days (a week if you can) before you move on to another. (Personally my kids LOVED the Miracle Blanket, I cannot sing it enough praises.)
- nursing is hard, it is a commitment, but it is not the only way to feed your baby. A fed baby is best. Do what you can, try and nurse if you want, ask for help, talk to lactation consultants, but at the end of the day you need to do what works for your family and only your family. There are too many pressures on parents already, do not add more.
- emotions are real man… one minute you can be full of frustrated tears and the next sobbing with huge smile on your face because your baby just looked at you with those sweet eyes and chubby cheeks — this is part hormones part just being a parent
- make time for you everyday. Even just a 5-10 minute shower or sit and stare at the wall, whatever you need to do do it for you.
- ask for help/accept help. If someone wants to bring you dinner, let them. If they want to fold your laundry (even if it’s not how you like it) let them. If they want to wash your dishes – let them. See the trend here? Let people help you. For some reason we moms (raises hand — guilty right here) think we can do it all, well because we can. But we don’t HAVE too. That is the key, we can but there is no reason we should do it all. The saying “it takes a village” was said for a reason. This kid raising business is meant to be a team deal.
- your partner and you are in it together, be a team, communicate, both of you need to keep your head in the game. This is crucial. It is very easy to put your relationship on the back burner and stop communicating with your person. Make a point not to let this happen. Talk to each other. Do things together. Be a team. A team raising your baby(s) and doing life together. Y’all chose each other for a reason, remember that, honor that, keep that front and center. Tip: talk about what you envision for your family & your roles.
- find a caregiver (babysitter or family member(s)) that you are comfortable leaving your babies with. This doesn’t just have to be for date nights. Sometimes you may need to go shopping without your kids, see a movie, go to moms night, doesn’t matter — find this person and treat them well, they care for your babies as if they were their own. Tip: A great place to start is asking other mom friends for recommendations. I personally know that if my girlfriends trust them that says a lot!
If you take away only one thing from this little read, please always remember: no matter what anyone else does, no matter what works for them, no matter what advice they give, you always need to do what works for your family and your family alone. You know your babies. Trust your gut.