Seven years ago I became a first time mom. At the age of 23 Karson was born and like many others I sought advice for new moms. My husband and I had no idea what we were doing. The one thing we did know, like many first time parents, was we were going to be better parents than our parents were. By thinking this way I put more pressure on myself and ultimately made things much more difficult.
(Check out journey to motherhood to see what I went through)
There are so many blogs, friends and family, pediatricians, youtubers even, who all have “the best” advice for new moms. As a first time mother I actual researched how to bath your infant, when to start sleep training, and even how to be a good mother. I had such high expectations for myself and for my child that I drove myself into depression.
Even with researching advice for moms, I allowed my own insecurities to overcome me…
Being the perfect mother and the perfect wife became an obsession and my child had to be perfect because of it. He couldn’t cry or play or even move in public, to be honest. He was to be seen not heard. If he did anything else I was completely embarrassed; mortified is probably a better word. Blaming myself trying to figure out why he wasn’t this perfect angel. Obviously I was doing something wrong, I didn’t love him enough, or I wasn’t teaching him proper manners. Something, it had to be something and I was determined to find it and fix it.
I looked at other people’s children, my niece and nephew especially, and how well behaved I perceived them to be and it would only draw me deeper into depression. What was I doing wrong? Why did my child not act like his cousins? Why wasn’t my child well mannered, well behaved, and so quiet and polite all the time? Probably because neither were they!
Children are just that, children. That is how they will act. Like any advice for new moms will tell you, we are to train them and teach them. I was denying them the opportunities to have fun and enjoy life because I was too consumed with what others may or may not think. That was just down right cruel. I behaved that way in public and at home.
So here’s my realization and advice for new moms:
Babies are humans, they make their own decisions, albeit with the help of their parents. Until they reach the wonderful age of 2 when all manners, respect and just plain politeness are thrown out the window because its raining outside and the ground is wet (insert parent’s confusion and toddler’s total meltdown). The sooner you realize it, the better.
I have always prided myself on living my life how I wanted to. With no regard to how others viewed it or felt, but yet here I was basically destroying my own child’s younger years on my own insecurities of what others may think of me as a mother. Go head, laugh at me, I know I am. So seven years and four children later, I want to help another first time mom with advice. If you find yourself in this place, stop. Do not pass go, do not collect $200 (sorry, we played a lot of Monopoly growing up, LOL).
Life as a mom is a daily challenge, an adventure but most of all, its just plain beautiful. I never thought my experiences would take the turns they did, but I don’t regret it. Now I am able to help other moms and hopefully keep them from falling into the same traps I did.
So my NUMBER 1 piece of advice for new moms is:
“Do not worry about what other’s think. Do what works best for you. Being a first time mother is hard enough, so if you plan to take any advice please let it be to do what works best for you.”
Do what works for you. Do not stress yourself out because your baby isn’t sleeping how the pediatricians says he should be sleeping, even though you’ve tried multiple times. Do not worry that your son can’t sit still for longer then 10 seconds even though his cousin has mastered the art of circle time. You don’t have some cookie cutter child that acts exactly like every other child. You are the mother, no one else. You know what works best for you and your child, you have a mother’s intuition, use it.