I’m spent some time today with a new mom. She was looking for encouragement from a seasoned mom. “Seasoned…” that’s a nice way to say old. 🙂
That conversation got me thinking about a good blog conversation for us to have. Seasoned moms—not “old” but simply defined as a mom with an older child or two or more children—what wisdom would you share with a first time mom?
What did you wish you would have known with the first child that you now know since you’re a little farther down the road?
What do you wish someone would have told you when you were pregnant or navigating this parenting thing for the first time?
Let’s share encouragement with moms who are just starting on this mothering journey!
Want regular encouragement?
Subscribe to get Jill's latest content by email.
For the first two weeks, do what it takes. Then get on a rountine SOON! Make it a priority to spend time with your husband. My dr wrote an RX to go on a date without baby before her 2 mo check up. Also, go out with girlfriends. We need that girl time!!!
When I look back to when I had just one child (I now have three), I see how I "over-did" everything. Over-researched which baby products to buy. Over-thought about what other babies were doing. Over-compared how other mothers were parenting. Over-stressed about how the baby was sleeping (or not sleeping), eating (or not eating), and pooping (or not pooping). Over-disciplined during the toddler years. Over-obsessed about everything relating to my child.
The only thing that freed me from all that was having a second child. I wish it was more spiritual than that — but whenever I see a new mom, I always want to take her aside and say, "It gets easier, LOTS easier — the second + time around."
(I found the same to be true about adopting as well. I obsessed with the first one, yet the second one is barely even on the radar screen of stress.)
Motherhood is a full-time job, but first-time motherhood is a full-time job with a STEEP learning curve. *smile*
Take all the rest you can get! You will need it as time goes by.
Do not forget your husband who kind of feels left out because you are breast feeding. Now he has to share some anatomic details that belonged only to him before the baby came!
God bless all your relationships and marriages
Every once in a while, lean back, take a deap breath, and laugh at yourself. And DON'T compare yourself to other moms. Mom envy is one thing Satan really uses against us. By this I mean, don't look at other moms and wonder why they have it all together. Wish your kids would act like thiers, wish you could keep your house clean like them ect. Because first of all God did not call us to be a mom like them, He called us to be ourselves. Only YOU can be the mom God meant you to be!
Also you never know what is going on with the mom who looks like she has it all together. She may not.
Just relax and take it one day at a time. Jesus is taking every step with you!
I wish someone would've told me how ALL CONSUMING the first MONTHS of breastfeeding would be! I thought I had prepared for it to be hard, but I had no idea. To be honest, I'm not sure if anyone can really prepare you.
I agree with PP's – One day at a time! 🙂
Wow, I'm totally smiling at the fact that I'm now considered a "seasoned mom"…a nice way of saying old, too funny. That's just it, with four children later it makes my heart so sad to think that people are so right when they say enjoy them, they grow up way too fast. When you're in the mix of having kids, changing diapers and breastfeeding you feel so over-loaded at times and wonder will this stage ever pass? Will I be changing diapers and pads forever? In reality it does go by really fast trust me!! So my advice to new moms,write down your memories, record them on video and take a ton of pictures. You might feel that this is a phase that is long but in reality you're only in it for a short time. Children are a blessing, enjoy them now and embark on this journey from the Lord knowing no-one is perfect, only you are for your own children.
This is what I tell new moms as they are discharged from the hosp and they have told me it is valuable and gives them perspective. Be a momma cat in your box. Be with your "kitten" and leave the box only to eat ,drink , and potty . Scratch anyone who gets too near the baby or anyone who disturbs you. It has to be about you and the baby in the first weeks. Hopefully someone will put your water dish and food near the box.
Try not to be perfect -babies and children are resilient. they survive.
As for references I like anything by Dr Sears and Focus on the Family. Focus has a good family medical guide- which you need on hand if you are a new mom.
If you don't have friends find a good Christian moms group. if your partner (husb) is a dork – take care of yourself. Learn about marriage (I call it marriage 101) even if he won't go to a class or read books- you be functional even if he is not. Kids do better if parents are ok. Gaurd your heart from bitterness -it leaks out!
Finally – take time with God everyday -even if you have to keep your Bible in the bathroom. The Word is living and will help you even if you think you are too tired to absorb anything.
Especially if you are staying home, find a moms group like MOPS or a ladies Bible study to be part of. (Not right away, but in a few months.) You need that adult conversation!
On a fun note…It happened that my babies (now ages 9,6, and 3) were born on Thursdays. So it was a tradition in our family that we took a Thursday picture the first year. I didn't do it as well with my first, but we did with the other two and I wish I had known how neat it would be with the first. That was really fun to watch them grow. It doesn't have to be every week. I have heard of people doing it every month and with the same stuffed animal or in the same place so you can see their growth.
Most importantly, no matter what is going on good, bad, or dirty…set your heart and mind on Jesus. That will help sort through a lot of the craziness!
You aren't a bad Mom if you don't feel gooey happy feelings about being a Mom all the time. Sometimes it is hard and you feel sad/mad/grumpy/overwhelmed. But the times when it is happy and gooey help to make up for the times when it's hard.
Comparison breeds discontentment. Be the Mom that you are.
My advice is that there is no perfect way of doing anything. Trust your mother instincts and do what you think is best for your kids. If you need help, ask because others are always willing to share their advice with you! Pray daily for your children and teach them the ways of the Lord so that when they grow older, they will have a firm foundation to build their own lives on.
Love and Hugs ~ Kat
Don't let family, friends, etc… make you feel guilty about going back to work (if you do)whether by choice or by circumstance. Know that you are doing what is right for you & your family.
Don't be afraid to ask for help – either from family, friends, your spouse, etc… take time out for yourself.
It's ok to bottlefeed every once in awhile if you're planning to breastfeed (pump if you want/need to)
Funny I was talking to another mom at church about the fact that we were "old" mom's in relation to how we could help all the new moms poping up in our church and she kept bristling when I would talk to her until I finally realized she thought I was calling HER old when I really meant she had older kids. (mine is older than hers!) Also, Monday I had a new mom for lunch and felt this same sense from her that she was waiting for me to drop all this wisdom on her.
My favorite bits are…forget the first 3 months. You can do nothing but care for the baby, have low expectations of that time. I know that sounds negative but it is just reality, you are tired, you are transitioning, etc. My husband and I were barely speaking to each other by the time our daughter was 3 months. Amazing what a little sleep can do for a relationship.
Second is to believe in yourself and your ability to be your child's parent. I think mom's today are looking too much outside of themselves for the answers. God gave me my children because I am uniquely equipped to raise them and meet their needs. Yes there is good stuff out there to help us but we need to trust ourselves as mothers as well. Sometimes the answer goes outside the normal parenting advice books. I do what works best for both me and my child based on who we are.
And my mom's parenting advice: "Melanie, YOU are the parent!" Simple and to the point.
Rest when the baby does and realize you aren't going to "spoil" a baby by holding him or her. Newborns need to be held so don't be afraid to hold that baby often.
You must decide for yourself what is best for your baby. It's hard not to listen to everyone that tells you what they think is best. You know your baby, do what you and your husband decide is best for your family.
Enjoy the little moments, take lots of pictures and videos. It goes so fast and people always say that but it's really true. You'll be glad to look back at the memories in the pictures and videos and remember a fun time. You may think you'll remember but some things you won't so take a picture or write it down.
TRY to relax. Don't sweat the small stuff. Enjoy that baby! They do grow up so fast. Also, still go on dates with your husband. The best gift you can give your children is a strong marriage. Sleep when the baby sleeps. The dishes, laundry, etc. can wait.
I wrote a little book of helpful hints and gave it as a gift at my nephew's and his wife's Baby Shower. (I wish I had received something like this from a seasoned mom for my shower 16 years and 7 kids ago!) I don't have enough room here to share everything but here a couple things to think about. . . God entrusted those children to you. You may not be perfect, but you are the perfect mother for those children. Remember that He will be there to guide you on your journey. Always make time to talk with your kids; listen to your kids; laugh with your kids and pray FOR and WITH your kids. Make sure that you take some time for YOU so you can refresh and re-charge your mom batteries!
Spend all the time you can with your baby. I rememeber days when I'd feel like there's so much to do (around the house) and get worked up about it. All I wanted to do was hold my baby. You're never going to get this time back. Believe me the house work can wait!
When family and friends offer to help in any way (meals, cleaning, a date) – TAKE THEM UP ON IT! Don't just say "that's alright" or "I'm fine"! You will love this help even though it's hard to accept it – initially.
Take tons of pictures and video, and journal! You will forget! I laugh daily at something my boys have done but I couldn't tell you what they said or did yesterday to make me laugh. They change so much in such a short period of time.
Definately make time for your husband! It's just that simple (or not). For the first child he will feel "left out" and not attended too.
Pray! Pray! Pray! That may be all the time you have to spend with God – but do it! I love the earlier idea of having a bible (or book) in the bathroom :o) We all have to go!
One more thing: Sometimes our mothers, mother-in-laws, and maybe even sisters and grandmothers, need a reminder that this is our baby and while we love their advise, we reserve the right to make our own decisions in caring for our infant – and that's OK!
I agree with Heart2Heart she said…"there is no perfect way of doing anything. Trust your mother instincts and do what you think is best for your kids"
I myself have read many books… EVERY CHILD is different so you can't put in nutshell what is going to work for every child.. You have to get to know your child… I have 5, 1 young adult, a teen, and started all over w/ 3 young children now… THEY are all different what worked for one may not work for another! Each has his/her OWN personality… OWN little Spirit… remember the verse I am fearfully and wonderfully made… Made special, unique.. God's one and only…
Also, I have met many a person that has regretted NOT taking more time OR enjoying the little things when their kids were young… BUT have never met anyone that has regrets TAKING THE TIME TO ENJOY THEM! IT GOES BY TOO FAST!
Enjoy every second! Everyone tells you that they grow up quickly. It really is true!
Don't neglect your prayer and Bible time. Some of my sweetest memories are nursing while reading my Bible in the middle of the night. I placed my open Bible on the arm of the chair before turning in for the night so it was ready for the 3am feeding.
Also,memorize Philippians 4:13. There will be MANY days when you will need to recite it MANY times:)
I wish someone would have told me how intentional parenting needs to be! The idea of sowing and reaping is pinnacle. I have a great desire for my children to grow to become godly, compassion, spiritual leaders (who doesn't want that?!) but that requires me to sit at the feet of Jesus every day and let him pour into me so that I can in turn be purposeful in my pouring out into my children. Deut. 6:4 is hung in my hallway – this parenting thing is NOT a sprint- but a marathon. Day by day by day by day….
Wow…this wisdom is incredible! Thank you all! If you think of more, just post it here!
It always bugged me when people said, "enjoy them, they grow up so fast." Did they have any idea how many times in a day I looked at a clock, wondering when it would be bedtime? Then a woman at my parents' church re-worded it to me this way, "The days are long, but the years are short."
I liked it. It fit my experience. Yes, the years go by quickly when you look back later, but it's normal to feel a day dragging by! And though you must TRY to enjoy each day, you're not going to enjoy every moment! I tried to find things about each age and stage that I enjoyed, then focus on those things, not the negatives of each age and stage.
Also, don't borrow trouble. Each day has enough of its own! God's grace is there for you right now, in your situation. Worrying about tomorrow or 15 years from now will only rob you of the joy of today. Pray & Plan, but never Worry!
I'm a new mom. Reading these comments are very encouraging to read. I regretably, have neglected my time with God and the Word. I am struggling right now with that, but desire to come closer to Him. Thank you…
When I had my first child I was scared and excited at the same time. I kept asking the nurses for direction and only one answered…she said all you need to know how to do is fallow your heart, if you know it in your heart ,that is the right thing to do, be etc.
That nurse was so right….all you need to be a great mom is to fallow your heart..