So… in my “old” age and YEARS of experience as a mother (sarcasm), I have a few tidbits of sage motherhood advice to share with the rest of the world (or at least, those of you who follow my blog). But don’t believe or follow my advice because that’s against my advice (point #3). So… just keep reading because you like me 🙂
1. Nothing can prepare you for motherhood. No amount of time spent babysitting your nieces or nephews or reading “what to expect when you’re expecting”. NOTHING. You just have to experience motherhood first hand to know what it’s all about.
2. When you become a mother, you will feel like “no one told me about this!” Well… that’s because 1) People didn’t want to scare you off from becoming a mother. Yes, motherhood is hard, but it’s infinitely rewarding. However, as mothers, we need allies, people we can vent to without being criticized for complaining, others to share our moments of sorrows and triumphs, and people to compare “war” stories with. Basically, we want friends in the same boat. 2) No matter what someone would have told you, the good, the bad and the ugly, you wouldn’t truly understood any of it until you went through it on your own (see point 1 above).
3. People will love giving your unsolicited advice. The problem is, advice is based on personal experience, and typically, everyone’s experience as a parent is different. What may have worked for one parent and child will probably not work for a different parent and child. When you receive advice, nod and smile. It’s not worth arguing over. Life is too short. At the very least, you can give them a piece of your own mind, unsolicited!
4. Stop reading every single parenting book ever written. You WILL go mad. They all offer conflicting advice and what may have worked for one author, may not work for you and your kid. Same goes for what may have worked for one of your kids, may not work for another. There are plenty of good books out there, pick a few that work for you.
5. You WILL be judged for your parenting choices. But don’t fret, you will judge others on their parenting choices. You will get to a point where you won’t believe that someone didn’t make their baby food from scratch, or use only organic food or that someone is still breastfeeding their three year old child or that people let their children cry it out or that someone has their kid on a strict sleep schedule or that people use dog leashes to control their kids… I mean, use a child leash. It’s okay – it’s human nature. How boring would life be if we all agreed on one way to parent and raise our kids. The debate and differences are healthy and needed in order to ensure we continue research in this field to provide the best for our children and future generations. Basically…
6. The HOW doesn’t matter. If you provide food, shelter, clothing, safety and love to your child (the basic necessities), the HOW of “how you do it” doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. Breast feed or formula fed, the key is that your child is fed! PERIOD. So don’t worry and don’t feel guilty…
7. You will feel guilty no matter what you do. Mother guilt is innate. When your child is born, guilt is born with it. We can’t help it. Like a toddler that won’t let you use the washroom alone, guilt will follow you everywhere you go on your parenthood journey. In fact, it will continue to follow you long past after your kids stop following you into the bathroom. FACT!
8. Remember the rule of THREE. Newborns have this rhythm that moves to the tune of three. Three weeks, three months, six months, etc… The first three weeks of a newborn’s life will be the toughest one on a parent. Once they’re over, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The first three months of a baby’s life are usually the hardest for them. Once those are over, you can both breath a sigh of relief. And then, six months come around, and more changes are headed your way which tend to throw your routine off. I don’t know why this happens, but it just does. Which brings me to my next point…
9. If things are going well, they will probably get bad and if things are bad, they will get better. Babies, especially within the first year of life, have no hard rules. They can be great sleepers for one month (or even three) and all of a sudden, they can be bad sleepers. Just remember not to brag when things are good and not to freak out if things are bad. Things will change, some for the worse some for the better. That’s a guarantee!
10. No one probably told you this, but there aren’t actually any mom of the year awards. Shocking, right? Well… it’s true. So stop worrying about how you’re doing and how you compare to other moms and stop feeling guilty. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s right for you and your baby! Not what someone told you, not what you read in a book and not even what your MIL told you. In your child’s eyes, you are the only mother that exists and as long as you love them with all of your heart, they WILL give you the award (theoretically, not actually, remember, it doesn’t exist).
What other “mom truths” would you add to this list?