My Advice for New Moms
I came to realize when I was pregnant, every mom out there wanted to find me and tell me their story. It’s natural desire to make another woman’s life easier by sharing hard-learned lessons. However, from the other side, the new mother’s side, at least for me, it felt like the CIA was watching me with satellites and spies, and dispatching Moms to tell me, ‘Did you know this diaper can hold this much pee, but that one is so much better with poop?’ ‘Breast or Formula?’ ‘Let me tell you about the best brand of…..”
My husband is a volunteer EMT. As a new mom I would hear dispatch radios sounding in my sleep. When I used to walk through the door of a shop, a restaurant, a baby store, or into a park, in my head I could almost hear the dispatch tones then a disembodied voice saying, ‘New Mommy Alert!!! New Mommy Alert!!! Alpha Team Dispatch! Diaper patrol— Go! Toy Safety patrol— Go! It was completely overwhelming. But, honestly, am I any better? No. Only difference is, I’m posting it and you’re reading it here instead.
In the end, the best advice I got was from the women closest to me, my ‘Trusted Advisors.’ Those women are, my mom, my sister, and my amazing and close-knit group of girlfriends. So here’s what they told me, as well as what I have learned along the way – the best of the advice I have for you to come to me and freely take. As much or as little as you want. It’s OK … I was there, so I understand.
- If somebody offers to help you, say yes. This was advice from my friend Karen, and it was invaluable. Nobody is judging you. Nobody is thinking that you aren’t a good mom. Just. Say. Yes. (and, “thank you”).
- Every child is different. Every. Single. One. What worked for another child may or may not work for yours. Stop comparing yourself. It will drive you nuts. That, I guarantee.
- As best you can, keep to a routine. It helps keep you sane.
- People will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. Hey, don’t worry! The baby will do their best to wake you up, so grab some winks when the opportunity presents itself. Just don’t beat yourself up when this doesn’t happen. When the baby sleeps, you may feel compelled to get other things done. If this makes you feel good – do it.
- The less stressed you are, the less stressed they are. Calm down. If you’re upset or angry, take a time out for yourself.
- Although there are milestones doctors look for, and that you should keep in mind, not every child is going to sit up, crawl, walk, or even start making sentences according to those schedules. Have I mentioned that comparing your child to others will drive you nuts? Our pediatrician was getting concerned that my son wasn’t walking yet. His schedule said he should have started walking last week. I was wrought with worry and guilt. I was amassing lists of specialists. Three days later, he stood up and wobbly walked across half the living room. Was he listening to the conversation? Did he have a deeply evil plan to drive me out of my mind? Shortly, and I mean shortly, after this, he began his Olympic training. We’d go somewhere, and he was on his feet, running away. I’m not the most coordinated person, and I must have looked ridiculous attempting to run after my little athlete. Bottom line, know the schedule, and be aware of how your child is progressing. Always listen to your doctor’s concerns and advice, but don’t let all of it control you. It can be all in the timing.
- If you like – rock your baby to sleep. It is an incredible bonding experience. You will hear “don’t rock your baby, they will become dependent on it”. I say, rock your baby. You’re going to miss it when all of a sudden they don’t want to any longer, and that day will come (I’m dreading it, myself). Every night I’m thankful I took this advice (thank you, Dawniele). Rocking together and signing lullabies is one of the most magical parts of my day.
This post could literally go on and on and on. But in the end, my biggest piece of advice for you as a parent is to listen to your gut. Nature gave you an inner voice for a reason. My husband will tell you, his EMT training, as with paramedics, nurses, and even medical doctors, is to ignore all of their training that tells them that nothing is physically wrong if the patient is insisting that something is very wrong. You have that same sense. If something feels right for your baby, then seriously consider it. If it feels wrong, then seriously listen to your inner voice! There are all sorts of resources available to you. Doctors, nurses, educational experts, etc., are valuable members of YOUR team. Good team players want to work together. These people who will help you navigate as a parent towards what’s best for your child. You, however; are the team leader. The Captain. You’re in the driver’s seat. Don’t be intimidated and just blindly go with what they think is best. Sometimes, believe it or not, they are wrong. I’ve learned that the hard way. Sometimes you need to share how you are feeling, and what you think is best to help guide the conversation, and advocate for what will work best. If someone doesn’t feel like the right fit for your team, trust your gut. You know your child, and you are their biggest, most important advocate.
What’s your best advice for a new parent? Share below – I’d love to hear it!
– xoxo Joyfully Mom