We’ve all dealt with them, and maybe even been them.
The ones that swear by this or swear by that, frown at you if you didn’t do this or did that, and slyly give their opinions whenever the opportunity presents itself. Veteran moms and moms with more than one child tend to do this more than others. Trust me, I’m not turning my nose at you because I have caught myself being one of these on occasion.
I have three children. Would I say I know more than I did after one? Absolutely. You learn as you go, but there is so much more to learn and other ways to do the exact same things we did. In my experience, the first year is a guessing game. Every child is different and what worked for one, sometimes fails with the others. Sometimes, when you’ve done something one way for so long, you get “stuck” and think there couldn’t possibly be another way:
“Seriously, why does this baby not go to bed at 7:07 like her brother did!?!?”
“Why doesn’t she like that swing? He loved that swing!”
If you’re not picking up on this fun fact, my patience has gotten thinner with each child. Not been the other way around. Insert, my fresh-faced first-time mamas. Oh, how I cherish you.
This past year, when my husband and I welcomed our third child, a HUGE handful of my friends had or were expecting their first. That’s when I realized how much I have to learn from them:
First-time moms remind me to slow down.
They take photos, all the time. Just like I did with our first, but after time have taken less. So I have TEN books worth of photo documentation of our first born, and I’m lucky to have one with the other two. I promise I love them the same. I just had two other mouths to feed, I so forgot to make time for this.
Then my girlfriends come over. They are taking photos and bleeding patience while I’m running around, sweating, trying to keep my kids on their schedules. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE schedules. They keep me and my family sane. But, it’s ok to take a deep breath and not clock watch. I can spend five more minutes taking photos, and enjoying the awake moments with my children. There are days that I don’t stop moving. Days where my Fitbit buzzed me for my 10,000 steps before lunch time. New Moms move slower, and so should we.
First-time moms remind me we have options…lots of them.
I admit I’m a bit hard on myself sometimes. If I skip a pumping, ONE single pumping, I swear my supply is going to drop ten ounces. If I put my kids down 30 minutes late, I think I’ve ruined their schedules. If my meal doesn’t have a vegetable, I must be stunting their growth. (Let’s be honest, they don’t eat them anyway.) Friends of mine have lost sleep over being unable to breastfeed, or put their child down for the night “early” enough due to their work schedules.
You know what new moms teach me? That some breastfeed and some don’t. That some put their kids down at 6:00 pm and some at 8:30 pm. That providing a meal of any kind is feeding your children. Sometimes a meal has every food group, and sometimes it’s cereal and cookies. The beauty is that we have so many options. So many options work differently for so many people. Most importantly, whatever we choose, we love our children the same.
First-time moms remind me that it goes fast.
Despite what I feel some days, that’s not a good thing. Especially with our third baby, it seems my husband and I are always saying, “It will be easier when she is in her crib,” or “It will be better when she sleeps X amount of hours,” or “It will be easier when we only have one in diapers instead of two.”
Easier maybe, but then those days are gone forever. New moms seem to be more sad about milestones coming and going whereas I find myself being relieved. Especially in this chaotic time of life. The truth of the matter is, when it sinks in that it’s the last first rollover, or last time we’ll have a newborn in our room, or the last time I change a diaper, I forget that it ever felt slow at all. Then, I realize that it flew by. I don’t want to let it fly by without cherishing all of it.
New mamas celebrate and cherish little things which, over time, I allowed to lose their value.
So thank you new and expecting mamas. You remind me to slow down, to take more photos, and to celebrate the small victories. You remind me to cherish not just the weeks or months, but the hours and minutes, too. Because rolling over is a big deal! And I absolutely need 12 photos of them laying in the same spot because their face changed ever so slightly!
One final thought for those of us who aren’t new moms:
Remember being a first-time mom.
I took a look at some photos of my first pregnancy and early months of being a new mom. I was fresh-faced and eager to tackle sleep-training tactics, fill photo books, and enjoy every milestone (no matter how small). I had a lot to offer, but remember feeling like I’d be speaking out of turn because I was “new at this.”
Tap into your first-time mom feels. Remember feeling plenty experienced in a sea of people who may have thought otherwise. More often than not, we come naturally into this mom thing. A fresh set of eyes gives new perspective and I believe this to be especially true of new moms.
Here’s to you, first-time mamas!
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