First Time Mamas – here’s a little something for you! Becoming a parent can be exciting and frightening all in the same breath. You want to get things right, you want be the “perfect” parent and provide the best life for your child but the reality is, things never happen the way we think they will, especially when you are preparing for or have kids. There is an overwhelming amount of information to take in but I wanted to share these 15 little nuggets of information that were important for me as a first time mom.
- First things first, EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT! So spare yourself the time and do NOT start comparing your pregnancy or journey to the next person. No two experiences will be alike and while I think it’s extremely helpful to hear other people’s stories, both successes and failures, don’t try to make their experience your own. Take me for example, when I’m pregnant I show all in my belly, my first pregnancy was extremely smooth (not so much for this second one), I stopped working almost a month before my daughter was due, I had a home birth and Steele was born right next to our bed, I was in labor a total of 12 hours, Steele was born 10 days late and was 9lbs 22.5 inches long, I have an abdominal hernia because of how big she was, I went back to work when she was 6 months old and Ryan has stayed home with her since then, and now….at the age of 2, she still sleeps in the bed with us the majority of the time, goes to bed somewhere between 10:30PM – 11:30PM on a pretty regular basis and still wants “Milk On Mommy”. Although there are some pretty common things that happen across the board, we all have different paths and take different avenues towards reaching the same goals – raising amazing little beings.
- Research, ask questions but ultimately do what you feel is right for YOU. No matter what you do, there will always be someone offering up unsolicited advice (or even solicited advice) but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what you think and how you feel. Trust you gut and always follow your instincts!
- You will never know everything…and that’s OK! Perfection does not exist and parenting is nothing but trial & error. No matter how many books you read, how many searches you have up on Google, how many people you’ve consulted with, there is always a new lesson around the corner – something you never thought you would need to know. I truly believe our kids are here to teach us more about ourselves then we’ll ever teach them so be open to learning on the fly & trying new things.
- Embrace your feelings. The frustrations, the happy moments, the times you feel bothered and annoyed or even straight up mad. These emotional ups and downs are an important part of the process. No one is happy ALL THE TIME and it’s imperative that we except the lows with the highs as an integral part of parenting. Your feelings are normal so don’t dwell on them too much. Be conscious of them, address them, sit with them for a moment and then move along.
- There’s no shame in asking for help! I have always been a “Miss Independent” type women (I’ll thank my dad for that) but I learned rather quickly that it really takes a village to raise children. No ones village will look the same but allowing yourself to be vulnerable to those around you and asking for help when needed will totally benefit you in the long run. We’re not the first people to become parents and reaching out for help doesn’t make you less of a mother — remember that!
- Throw away the “I’ll never do this” and “I’d never do that” – 90% of the time you’ll end up doing most of the things you said you wouldn’t do. I learned this the hard way. At this point, probably half of the things I thought I’d never do, I’m now doing. And if you’re that person sitting there judging me (don’t be that person lol), wait until you have a kid who asks you for the same thing 50 times times in a row when you are trying to do something productive.
- Half the things you think you need for a newborn, YOU DON’T. After having my daughter, I realized all the little gadgets, toys and clothes that I got to prepare for her weren’t necessary at all. We didn’t leave the house too much the first month, so there was no need for a ton of “outfits” and half of the rockers & toys we either only used a few times or never used at all (fortunately I was able to pass them on to other friends and family who were in need). I know the feeling of wanted to be prepared but don’t waste your money feeling like you have to get everything.
- Stay active during your pregnancy. That doesn’t mean you need to go out and get a gym membership or start taking classes out of the blue (although prenatal yoga was extremely helpful and relaxing for me) but try to at least do little things that keep those limbs and muscles moving. Try going for a walk, doing movements around the house (I’ll share some of my favorites soon), or even sit on the floor and stretch. At the end of the day, it all helps.
- Kegels are your friend – do them….regularly! Enough said. If you don’t know what kegels are or haven’t heard of them, open a new browser page and hop on Google. They help tremendously.
- Do NOT feel like you need to take everyone’s advice. You are in control of your own life….Point – blank – period!
- Don’t dwell on the “fear” of giving birth. We’ve seen so many images of what birth should look like from movies and popular TV… but let all of that go. They aren’t always a true depiction of how things play out when women are in labor. The one thing I made sure I did when I was pregnant with Steele (especially choosing to have a home birth) was to get rid of all negative associations I had with birth. I didn’t think about the “pain” or project negative thoughts on my soon-to-be experience and I think that made a world of a difference.
- Choose your battles & do stress over the small stuff. When it all comes down to it, the small trivial things won’t matter so focus your energy on making sure you are doing everything you can to keep yourself in a good place… everything else will work itself out.
- Make time for SELF. This is soooooo important in my book. I’m not saying go out and hit the club every night but take as little as 5 mins to meditate or 30 mins to read a book that you’ve been wanting to catch up on. It may require some planning or you may have to get your creative juices flowing but the time you give yourself is really important for your own personal growth.
- It all goes by SO FAST! Everyone will tell you this but not many moms actually soak this one in. Time flies and one day you’ll look up and you newborn won’t be much of a newborn anymore. Hell, you’ll look up and you kid will be a toddler with a full blown personality who tells you NO all the time (yep, that’s me!). Enjoy every moment, take lots of pictures/videos, document the journey and love on your baby like there’s no tomorrow!
- and finally…. this too shall pass! Pregnancy, child birth, parenting will all pose different challenges for you but it gets better so having a positive mindset will keep you sane. No matter what you are going through, it gets better and at the end of the day, you have a precious gift that is your child…and that’s a blessing in itself!
Hopefully this helped someone…. or at least made someone laugh. Laughter is good for you, you know?! Feel free to add any other advice or tips that were helpful for you mamas in the comments.