3 Things Every New Mom Should Know
What I envisioned being a mom to be like and what it’s actually like are very different things: In a good way! When you dread “getting no sleep” as a new mom, you also don’t realize how peaceful it is to sit up with your little one and how in love you are as you watch her sleep in your arms, even if you’re watching her through exhausted eyes. It’s impossible to express the love and devotion you will feel. Before I had my daughter, I read far too many articles that aimed to warn and frighten me about being a new mom, and I never found that helpful. Conversely, here are a few tips that I have learned that I promise won’t scare, discourage, or lecture you about this new exciting phase in life!
1. There’s No Such Thing as “Prepared”.
I remember when I was preparing for our daughter, I decided to make a spreadsheet of how many diapers and wipes I thought I would use each day. I wanted to know exactly how much money we would be spending, so I thought a detailed spreadsheet would be the best route. Being a mom is something that you try very hard to plan for, only to realize you can’t really adequately “plan” for a baby, at least not in the way you thought. If my baby has a diaper that is kind of diabolical, you won’t find me counting wipes. I am going to use as many as she needs to get clean! Looking back, lots of the advice I read about “how to be a mom” ended up not helping me because my baby was simply different than every other baby. There is only so much prep work you can do until you meet your baby and get to know his or her unique personality. Some sleep methods that work great on many babies may not work on yours. Your instincts will take over when you need them to, and if you REALLY can’t figure something out, just Google it at 3:00 a.m. like pretty much every other mom does (or me… is that just me?).
2. Everything Is A Phase
My Dad taught me this piece of advice, and it’s 100% true in the parenting world! Just when you think you’ve figured something out, or you’ve tried EVERYTHING you can think of to fix a problem, the baby throws you a curveball and grows a little. I mean this all in a great way, though! The pregnancy, the fatigue, the sleep training, the spit up; everything is a phase and it is such a brief moment in your life. I try to keep this advice in mind as often as possible when I am trying to get through a hard spot (teething, at the moment) because it’s easy to lose gratitude for the everyday tasks. I know one day I will look back and wish I had these precious days back. Midnight feedings don’t last forever, and someday she won’t need me to feed her at all. Keeping things in perspective is one of the most important and healthy things you can do for yourself, your marriage, and your baby. Just keep in mind: This too shall pass.
3. You’ll Question If You’re a “Good Mom” A Lot. It’s Okay. You Are.
You know how I know this? You are reading about how to prepare to be a mom! You care about what kind of parent you will be. Studies show that when parents simply seek out information on how to be good parents (reading books, articles, etc.) it’s a high predictor of those people being “good parents”. Not because they learn all the technical ways in which babies work, but because they care so much about the journey of parenting and raising children. On that note, you will often times find yourself caring so much that you will feel guilty about things you don’t need to feel guilty about. “Mom guilt” is a real thing and it’s way too easy to get trapped in. Sometimes babies cry for reasons we can’t figure out, and it’s easy to feel responsible every time your baby isn’t smiling. A friend told me once, “guilt is not from God.” It’s true: God does not want you to feel guilty. He wants to give you grace and confidence in your abilities. Remember that you carry so much more strength with you than you give yourself credit for.
Babies are a gift. When you look at anything in life as a gift, that thing starts feeling more like a gift. Yes, babies are like every other part of life: they challenge you sometimes. But, you have instincts that will guide you and endless love for your baby that provides you strength. You are already equipped. A baby will change your life in every way, and I promise most of those ways will be amazing and wonderful.