I’m going to be honest. I was thrown to the wolves when I had the twins. I was a first time mom, and had rarely been around children. And, I was having two babies at once. I’ll admit that being a first time mom comes with a lot of trial and error, no matter how many babies you are having. The good news is you just figure it out. But, since new parenthood is full of surprises, challenges, and frustrations, I came up with ten things I wish I would have known as a first time mom.
1. Phases come and go.
Seriously. Nothing and no stage lasts forever. Every age, comes with a different stage. The good and the bad- It all goes by too fast. I remember the sleepless nights, where I would wonder when I would get sleep again. Now, my kids are almost 2.5 years old, and onto the do-it-themselves stage. It’s hard, but cherish them and those moments at every phase, whether good or bad. Eventually, they’re going to be teens, onto adults, and moving on to have a family. Yes, it really does happen that fast. And trust me, you’ll be reminded of that by every older person you come across.
2. It’s ok to not know what the hell you are doing!
Expectations. So many expectations. So. Much. Pressure. I don’t know what it is, but moms get a lot of pressure. I feel like they are expected to know and do everything, all while being calm, collected, and cool. Trust me- majority of first time moms have no idea what they’re doing. Even second and third time moms are thrown for a loop. But, your baby will be ok, and you will be ok. Trust your instincts, and if it’s anything medical that you’re questioning, call the pediatric nurse line. Don’t worry about annoying them- IT’S THEIR JOB.
3. Someone, somewhere, will say you are doing it wrong.
Whether you breastfeed, bottle feed breastmilk, feed formula, stay-at-home, work 40+ hours a week-Whatever it may be, someone will always have an opinion about it. Unfortunately, some people will even share their opinion with you. Yes, even complete strangers will feel absolutely compelled to tell you that you are parenting your child wrong. With this, you have to develop “thicker skin”. Even though it is hard, let the comments roll off your back.
4. You are allowed to have a life!
Again, those expectations- the ones you have for yourself and that society has for you. Did you catch my post about burnout? Burnout is a real thing, especially if you are constantly catering to your family. You. are. allowed. to. have. a. life. For the sake of your family and your sanity, you need to be able to go do activities you enjoy. For the first year, I was pretty scared of what would happen and what people might think, if I did things for myself. Just know that it’s okay to fulfill your needs.
5. It won’t be what you expected.
Pregnancy, birth and motherhood all won’t be what you expected. Sometimes moments exceed expectations, and sometimes, you feel disappointed. No matter the books you read, what your friend tells you they experienced, or those classes you take, you won’t understand, until you are in the midst of it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have expectations or try to prepare yourself. I know so many people who have birth plans, or have thoughts about what they would like life to be after birth. Just know that it may be a roller coaster, and to expect the unexpected!
6. You will change.
You will change, even if you don’t exactly notice it. The way you think changes. Your first priority becomes keeping these tiny humans alive, and life tends to revolve around them. You’ll find yourself skipping a night out, to spend the night in with your baby. You’ll go to the store, finding yourself shopping for food and clothes for your kids. You body also changes. Stay tuned for my next post-the ways your body permanently changes after a baby.
7. Sleep when the baby sleeps!
I know this sounds so cliche. Every parent hears it a million times, but, seriously. SLEEP! You’ll always have a ton of things to do, once you become a mom. Just let those things go, and sleep. If baby isn’t sleeping, but is quiet and/or entertained, rest.
8. Self-care is so important.
But really, did you catch my blog post about mom burnout? I’m making this two points, because it’s one thing to have a life, but it’s another to take care of yourself. Before having the twins, I didn’t even understand or think about this. I remember seeing people going out without their kids, and thinking “really?”. It wasn’t until becoming a parent that I realized how important it is to do these things. I didn’t realize how important it was to take care of yourself- for your sanity and for your family. Even if that means going out for dinner or drinks for an hour, going to a concert, traveling, shaving your legs etc. Do not put yourself on the back-burner, just because you are a parent now.
9. No child is perfect.
I hate to break it to you, but kids do some downright gross, painful and annoying things. They may hit, bite, pull hair, scream, throw a tantrum, or may not meet milestones right on mark, but that doesn’t make you a bad parent (how you handle the behavior makes the difference). But truth be told, outbursts in the most inappropriate locations, crying, not eating, and so on, all come with the territory. Also remember, it is totally ok to not like your child sometimes.
Ps. I know social media is one of our biggest influencers. I know it’s hard not to feel influenced into posting as if our children are well-mannered, best behaved, and have never done anything wrong. We think that we have to post like we enjoy every second of our children’s being, or else we may get scrutinized. But, let’s be real. Our children are not perfect. No one’s child is. And, don’t think it’s expected for you to act like they are.
10. The older your children get, the more expensive they become.
Save now, and save often. When you are expecting, you think about the cost of typical necessities (diapers and formula are the top that come to mind), and how expensive those will be. You only think that about that, because most know that infants go through a TON of diapers. What most people don’t think about is when children get older, everything gets more expensive. Toys get bigger and more expensive. Clothes get more expensive. They eat more- usually, unless they are toddlers ;). Diaper boxes come with less diapers, but are more expensive. There is birthdays, holidays that call for gifts, and the list goes on. So, start saving money now, as much as you can. And yes, start a savings fund for your child, because a first car and college are expensive, too.