Every parent wants to have knowledge at their fingertips to better help them thrive in parenthood. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to give new moms all the advice that I could! Preparing for the Challenges of Motherhood begins with you!
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ADVICE FROM THIS MOTHER STARTS HERE
Becoming a mom happens overnight and you are only given nine months to prepare. HOLY POPSICLE STICK BATMAN. That is not a lot of time. From knowing what you need to pack in your hospital bag to how to give your baby his first bath! Let’s not waste any more of it and get straight to the nitty-gritty of it.
1. FIND YOUR MOM TRIBE
Being a new mother doesn’t have to be tough. You just need to find a few moms that you can call upon when you have questions or worries.
- Why is my babies poop green? yellow? black?
- Is my baby supposed to be sleeping this much?
- HELP! I just need someone to talk to
2. I’M SERIOUS! ACCEPT ALL THE HELP.
I get it, you want to do it all on your own. You don’t think that you need any help, or you just don’t want to admit that you need any help. Either way, accept all the help you can. Nobody is perfect, and you can’t do it all. I don’t say that to be harsh, I say it because it’s the truth. You don’t want to suffer from mom burnout.
3. ADJUSTING TO MOTHERHOOD TAKES TIME
You just went from being able to do what you want, when you want, to having a small child control everything you do. Breathe Momma. Take it one day at a time. DO LESS. And by that I mean don’t try to do everything. LET the laundry pile up, and the dishes. They are not on the top of the priority list anymore. Your number one priority is more than likely in your arms as you are reading this. Taking Care of a Newborn is an adjustment that all mom’s go through.
4. DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR PARTNER
Don’t forget about your partner and making time for just him. Make him just as much as a priority as the baby. You are right to worry about your babies wants and needs, but your partner has wants and needs too! He still wants to be seen! He wants to be a part of the parenting story, let him help calm down the baby too!
5. IMPERFECT MAMA, YOU ARE PERFECT
You are not always going to make the right choice. Parenting is a learning curve. Just remember when setting boundaries now and in the long run to stay consistent. Your baby is going to see you as the most amazing person in the world. Every mom you meet, is going to have a different way of doing things. BUT that doesn’t mean your way is not the right way for you and your family.
6. PUT YOURSELF IN TIME OUT. THERE I SAID IT.
There are going to be moments when you break down. Moments where you wish you knew what you were doing, and mom guilting yourself to the end of time. WALK AWAY. Give yourself time to collect yourself. Remember that you are your child’s role model. Your baby is going to learn how to act through you. I’m not saying that you can’t lose your cool every once in a while, that is a way of teaching your child about emotions. I AM saying take 5 minutes and give yourself some sanity.
7. TO THE NEW MOTHERS OUT THERE – TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Don’t forget to eat, or stay hydrated! As a new mom you’re going to let things slide. Like how often you take a shower. Or how often you do your hair and makeup. BUT a momma who takes care of herself is a happier momma. A happier Momma is going to have an easier time parenting, than an unhappy Mom.
SELF CARE FOR NEW MOMS
- Attempt to wake up before the baby and steal the morning with a HOT cup of coffee
- Shower like you just got peed on (this might actually happen).
- Set aside some you time every day. Start small if you have to. Give yourself just 5 minutes and then work your way up to 20 minutes.
8. WHILE YOUR BABY IS NOT MOBILE – GO OUT
I can count on one hand how many times my husband and I went out when our son was just a newborn. I WISH we had gone out more. The older our son got, the harder it got. Trying to keep him in the high-chair, and then the booster chair. Next came making sure he didn’t get food all over the place. (it will happen).
While your baby is still a baby go out to eat, newborns sleep a lot. Take advantage of it. We all know you’re not getting sleep, doesn’t mean you can’t go out, and enjoy the restaurant ambiance.
9. READ TO YOUR CHILD EVERY SINGLE DAY
This probably should have been my number one advice to new moms, but here we are. Reading to your child is so so so important. It is never too young to start reading to your baby.
BENEFITS OF READING TO YOUR CHILD
- Increase their vocabulary
- Helps them learn to interpret emotion – read with a silly voice, show the emotion that is being portrayed!
- Promotes bonding between the storyteller and child – cuddle and kiss your tiny human while reading
10. MAKE SURE YOUR PHONE HAS AMAZING STORAGE
Being a mom comes with the new, maybe not so new, territory of PHOTOGRAPHER. Take a billion, gazillion pictures. Your baby will grow so so fast. In the blink of an eye that newborn onesie will become a 3 month onesie, and THEN a 6 month onesie. AND THEN you will be crying. UGLY crying. Looking at the photos in your phone which will just seem like days ago wondering how your baby grew up so stinking fast.
11. DON’T FORGET TO BE PRESENT – A MOMENT IS FLEETING
While you are getting used to be a photographer, don’t forget to just be present. Live in the moment. There are no repeats of your babies firsts. First roll, first army scoot across the floor, first crawl, and then first steps. After your baby gets the hang of it, it will be easier to get photo proof anyway. Just live in the moment. Snuggle your baby close to you. Give as many kisses as you can.
12. DON’T BE AFRAID TO IGNORE UNSOLICITED ADVICE – NO MATTER HOW WELL INTENTIONED
Every mother will receive unwanted advice. Advice that they did not ask for. The best thing that you can do is to move forward and ignore it. No reason to start a war over it – I mean unless you are into drama then by all means go right ahead – I myself have gotten more unwanted advice then I knew what to do with. My favorite is “You are going to spoil that baby by holding it too much.”
One day my son will be running to his room, slamming his door shut and be a cranky teenager who wants to be left alone. Let me have my time with him.
13. THE LAST PLAN THAT WENT AS PLANNED WAS MY BIRTH PLAN
Planning as a parent is a whole new ball game. Planning was my thing – oh how I miss planning – when you become a mom you have to have a plan, behind a plan, behind ANOTHER plan. You never know when there is going to be a diaper blowout or when your baby is going to have a complete meltdown. Or you accidentally leave the diaper bag at home 50 miles away. . .*sigh*
BE PREPARED FOR EVERYTHING
- Keep a spare diaper bag in the trunk of the car
- Always pack a change of clothes
- Keep a Travel Baby Medicine Ziplock Bag in the Diaper Bag – along with a dosing guide!
14. BREASTFEEDING IS NOT AS “EASY” AS YOU WOULD THINK
For some LUCKY Moms it will be easy, for most moms it is a learning curve. Is baby latching correctly? Is your body still producing just colostrum or is it starting to produce milk now? WHY does the baby keep acting like it’s hungry?
I have been breastfeeding now 22 month – my brain just exploded as I typed that – and I have learned so much that it is actually one of the reasons that I started The Radically Adorkable Mom.
15. BUY YOUR BABY SIMPLE ITEMS
When it comes to buying things for your baby, make it easier on yourself in the long run. Here are a few suggestions. Do what you will with them.
- A high chair that doesn’t have a lot of nooks and crannies, that makes it easier to clean!
- Teething rings that you can throw in the freezer
- A bath petal for the sink during the newborn days – so you don’t have to sit on your knees next to the bathtub – knee pain is real.
- Don’t buy the most expensive swing! Unless it’s the Mamaroo! Most babies will either love or hate the swing you pick.
16. ACT LIKE A KID AND BE SILLY
Show your child that it is okay to be silly. Show them that life can be fun and it doesn’t’ have to be serious all the time!
17. FACE YOUR PARENTING FAILS WITH A SMILE
You’re not always going to do the right thing, or say the right thing. Sometimes you might even lose your cool. The most important thing to do with these “fails” is learn from them. You are human, nobody has it all figured it out. Take it one day at a time and smile.
18. CREATE YOUR OWN MINI TRADITIONS
You have a family now! What traditions do you want to do with them?
- Do you want to bake a home-made cake each year for birthdays?
- Do you want to open a Christmas gift together on Christmas Eve?
- What about singing every morning? – My mom used to sing this annoying song “Good Morning, Good Morning, Good Morning, it’s time to rise and shine!” BUT it makes me smile now thinking about it.
19. YOU ARE DOING AMAZING! YOU ARE LOVED!
That tiny human was with you for 9 months listening to your voice, and your heart beat. There is no place they would rather be than with you. No matter how bad you think you are doing, you are doing an amazing job!
You have heard enough from me now, let’s check-out what some other moms have to say!!
ADVICE FOR NEW MOMS FROM OTHER MOMS
Don’t listen to everyone’s advice, do what’s best for you and your baby. Nobody knows that baby better than you!
Love your body, no matter how it looks compared to how you looked before. Looking in the mirror at yourself in disgust or frustration harms more than yourself. The voice you use to talk about yourself will become the inner voice that will guide how your children see themselves and other women.
Let go of how you expected it to be and focus on the things you can control. Sometimes new motherhood isn’t fun, it usually lacks glamour and is almost always utterly exhausting. It’s like this for everyone, and you’re not failing. If you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed occasionally, it probably means you’re doing it right. The great news is that while it might not feel like it, this is going to be a short phase. Before you know it you’ll be playing together and sleeping through the night. You’ll even get a sense of routine and normalcy back. But for now, heed the words of Elsa, and let it go.
This is a tip I’ve used since my daughter was a newborn. When that “witching hour” of 4-6pm rolls around and nothing seems to calm a crabby baby or toddler… Just add water! Whether it’s having a bath, showering with mama or water play for toddlers. Being around water seems to calm kids down.
If you love to travel, don’t let parenthood stop you! Travel can continue to nourish your sense of self and bringing your baby along is a great way to weave your family lore. Even though it may seem hard at times, it gets easier with practice and you’ll cherish the experiences and memories forever.
Monitor and budget your spending on your child. Kids are expensive! It’s easy to go overboard and buy all of the cute clothes and different toys available. It doesn’t make you any less of a parent if you only get the essentials or buy used items or hand-me-downs. This just means you have more money on hand to spend on your child’s long-term development and education.
Let your expectations go. And then let them go again in 5 minutes…. and again. Just drop expectations of how ANYTHING should go on your motherhood journey and you will be much happier and relaxed. Kids are chaotic and there is no rhyme or reason to things. Light and love momma. ❤️
You are going to feel like you have no idea what you’re doing…and you know what? You don’t! Every single person that is born into motherhood learns it one day, one dirty diaper, and one cry at a time. Don’t be afraid to ask other moms for help and advice! Moms are a TRIBE and there is no shame in reaching out for help, guidance or support. Love your baby, and the rest will fall into place!
All the advice in the world isn’t enough to prepare you for what is to come, BUT it’s always nice hearing from other moms. Learning from their experiences. You will have your own experiences here soon and you will begin sharing your own stories with friends and family!