I love brand new moms who are expecting their first baby. I don’t know what it is! It’s like when someone is trying a new food for the first time and you’ve already tasted it. You get to watch their reaction (good or bad) and attempt to explain the best and worst parts before they even taste it. I don’t think there is really any way to prepare to be a mom, you just have to learn as you go and take one day at a time hoping that everything will feel natural. Except… a lot of things for me didn’t feel “natural”. Maybe for most moms it does, but for me it has become a learning process. If I could go back in time to my little pregnant self, these are some things I would tell myself (and I still tell myself every day!)
1. Relax. You don’t have to be mother of the year to be a good mom. My baby has fallen on his head multiple times (and I’m a paranoid mom you guys!), but somehow we still make it. It’s okay if they happen to lick the airport floor (true story) or draw permanent marker all over their clothes to be a “zebra”. I’m pretty sure poison control knew my number by heart since I called them multiple times a week. I’ve learned slowly that it’s ALL gonna be okay… relax. Babies are tougher than you think they are and it’s impossible to place them in a bubble their whole life so just embrace the dirt on the binky, wipe it off and move on.
2. Stop believing everything you read. Ha! I feel like I’m telling you to not believe what I’m writing, but I was one of those moms who read every breastfeeding book, every sleep schedule book and article out there! Tips are great, but you are a mom for a reason. You know your child more than any of those books do. I remember wanting to be on a perfect schedule with a great sleeper and by following those books it was working. Then one day I realized that all I wanted to do was rock my babe and snuggle him. So I tossed the books out the window and I do it my way. I’ve never been happier and I have grown to trust myself a little more.
3. Put your phone down. I’m guilty of this. We’ve all seen those commercials about how technology can get in the way of relationships and it’s true. Even with your babe. I started to put my phone away for little things like when I rock him or if we go to story time or splash parks. They grow so fast and you rob yourself of time with them if you spend it all on your phone.
4. Stop taking too many pictures. Now, before I get hate mail on this one, I for one am a HUGE picture taker. I document everything…and I probably did a little too much this passed year and a half. I’m pretty sure I have over 100 pictures of my child doing the same pose on the same day. I get it. It is so good to document because pictures are amazing keepsakes…BUT there are times that are too special for a picture. And there are times when the moment is so precious that if you whip out your phone to take a picture, that connection or moment is gone. The best part about being a mom is that you have the front row seat of watching your child learn and grow. Some moments are just for you to hold in your heart because no picture could ever describe the love you felt.
5. Spend time for yourself. Do what you love and take a break once in awhile for yourself so that you can recharge in being a mom. Even if it’s a trip by yourself to the grocery store or a drive up the canyon. I know I’m a much better mom if I take a moment just for myself. Moms need it.
6. Have a sense of humor. I’m the girl at church with yogurt somehow in my hair from little hands or random stickers on my leg. I remember one time my husband was wearing a nice suit and our baby did the worst spit up right onto his crotch in the middle of church. We both looked at each other and busted up laughing. You’ve got to have a sense of humor to survive the crazy. Because sometimes the crazy really is pretty funny.
7. Accept help. We all need it. It really does take a village to raise kids and sometimes as moms we think we got it all taken care of. I’m also talking about accepting help from the Man upstairs too. Since I’ve become a mom I’ve realized a new relationship and help I have if I just say a prayer. I’m a total worry wart and that has been my trick into surviving it all and feeling peace. I love the quote that says, “There are few things more powerful than the prayers of a righteous mother.” (Boyd K. Packer) and it’s true. I’ve felt a special kind of help since becoming a mom that I couldn’t live without.
8. Take it in. Yes. Take it all in. The colicky baby, the spit up, the painful breastfeeding, the sleepless nights. Take it all in. It’s okay if you feel like you want to jump out the window. It’s okay if you want to eat a whole bag of Oreos and hide in your closet. It’s okay if you feel like you’ve lost your identity in becoming a mom. Because one day your baby will throw their arms around your neck and you will know exactly who you are and won’t want to be anywhere else in the world. To the moms who are about to give birth, take it in. There is nothing like it.