Dear First Time Moms,
Congratulations! You have joined the honored circle of motherhood. It may look like most mothers have it all together, but the truth is, they really don’t. Most of us are trying to stay one step ahead of our children. Remember this. None of us have children and motherhood all figured out. None of us have it all together.
Here is a partial list of things to remember as a first-time mother.
Don’t Compare. Those perfect pictures shown on Instagram, in magazines, and elsewhere are only a thin slice of reality. You have no idea how long it took to get everyone set up for the picture, or how long perfection was maintained after the picture. Remember, none of us have it together for more than a few minutes. Life is full of peaceful, clean, everyone dressed and smiling moments, only occasionally.
Every mother is different. One is calm and assured. One is nervous and unsure. One seems to have all the right answers, then baby two comes along and nothing works. All of us are similar and yet different. And what works for one mother, fails for another.
Every Child is different. One sleeps through the night. One screams through the night. One loves to be cuddled, the other doesn’t. One loves tummy time, the other detests it. One is eating everything, the other is allergic to everything. One loves the new and interesting surprises of life, the other loves the established routine. One walks at 9 months, the other at 19 months. One crawls, the other never crawls. One newborn poops 4 times a day, the other once a week. There is a wide range of normal.
Trust your intuition. When your baby is not sleeping through the night, you will be tempted to turn to Dr. Google, the fount of all knowledge. And you will discover 5,391 different methods people claim work for getting their child to sleep through the night. You may try a few, and none may work. Or one may. Just remember you know your child, home, and baby better than any internet person. Trust yourself and your instinct and do what is best for you and the little one. And if some technique sounds too good to be true, it often is.
Babies have been raised for thousands of years with just common sense and no internet or plethora of books. It involves the “feed the baby when she is hungry, change the baby when she is wet, let the baby sleep when tired” method. And then cuddle and love the baby.
Enjoy the little one. Babies are meant to be loved, cuddled, and enjoyed. You are a gift to your child. Your child is a gift to you.
Take pride in being a mother, life-giver, and life sustainer. This is a hard job, and it will stretch you to within moments of sanity, but it is so worth it. Motherhood will take you on a ride you will never forget.
Don’t sweat the small things. Perfection is not possible with children. Don’t stress about a dirty home and that you’re still in your robe at 5 pm. Your first job is the little one.
Don’t stress that on your last grocery trip your chest started getting warm and your milk started letting down in the dairy section. In ten years, this will be a funny story.
There will be rotten, no-good, horrible days where you will lose it and feel like resigning. Days you cry in the closet and feel like a horrible mother. Days where you wonder if you will make it ten more minutes. Days where nothing seems to go right. This is all part of normal motherhood.
Give yourself and your child grace. Remember every day is a new day. A fresh start. Never judge yourself as a mother based on your day, your child, or how you are feeling.
There will be wonderful days where everything seems to go right. Often, they happen when relatives are not visiting, and no one is there to notice. So, notice them yourself. Treasure them up, for when you need the memories.
Celebrate the small things. The days both of you are dressed and clean. The trip to the store that doesn’t involve nursing in the car twice. The day you don’t cry. The day baby first smiles and your heart breaks in two from so much love.
You have got this. You are smarter, more capable, and stronger than you ever thought. Because motherhood reshapes and reforms you into a better you.
So, welcome to motherhood!
Delight in your child and who you are becoming.
Delight in your new life and role.
Bio: Theresa Boedeker unwraps life with words to encourage, entertain, and bring forth laughter. A positive and enthusiastic lover of life and its graces, she blogs at TheresaBoedeker.com She is a mother to two children, 15 years apart. She has a podcast, Life as it Comes, because everyone needs a smile, perhaps even a laugh. She can also be found on Instagram.