Thursday, April 8, 2010

First Time Mother

I know at least 10 family members and friends that are all expecting babies right now. For some it is their first baby. It makes me look back on the births of all my babies but I especially think of the birth of Na. She was my first, she was the one that made me a mother. I had worked in childcare for 4 years before I had her and I was a Marriage, Family, and Human Development major at the time. I had taken parenting classes, infant and child development, marriage enhancement, etc so I felt I was prepared. I was prepared to be a perfect parent. I was ready to do everything by the book. I was going to breast feed until my kids were a year old, they were not going to have pacifiers or suck their thumbs. After all, I was armed with the tools to do/avoid those things that annoyed me so much with the children at the daycare.

Well, if I could redo being a first time mom I would keep the parenting books on the shelf. Sure they were great for giving me ideas but they also made me think what I read was the only way things could be done. I had such high expectations for myself and my child that it only led to guilt when I wasn't doing things "by the book."

Eight years and 4 kids later I have learned that flexibility is the key to good parenting. Some things like a pacifier, bottle feeding, and co sleeping are a necessary evil to get through the first several months, at least for me. Being a little relaxed with the less important stuff is okay.

I have also learned that no 2 children are the same. What works for one child does not work for another. I can't compare my child to the child of my best friend. It used to bother me that another child the same age as mine reached a milestone first. You know what, eventually they all hit the same milestone.

It is also not a good idea to give unsolicited advice to other moms. Since I was a "pro" at parenting I found myself telling other people what they were doing wrong. It was fine if they asked for advice but most of the time if they didn't it wasn't received well. Other parents, like me, just have to figure things out on their own via trial and error.

If I could redo being a first time mom I would do what ever I felt I needed to to make sure both my baby and I were happy and worry less about what other people think.

My advice to you if you are going to be a first time mother is, do what is best for you and your family. If that means co-sleeping then do it. If you need to give your baby a bottle instead of breast feed, then do it. Don't worry about what other people think.

Mama's Losin' It


  1. Well said! I have 3 - oldest is 13, and totally agree with putting the books on the shelf. I really felt lost when my first wasn't doing exactly what the books said! Finally by my 3rd, I stopped comparing and started enjoying!

  2. Oh...thank you! I'm not a mother yet but I will remember this!

  3. I couldn't agree with this more!

  4. I loved this post. I've thought about it a lot over the last 8 months. I made a goal that I would never give unsolicited advice to a new mother, and that I would be very careful when giving solicited advice. I'm probably not great at keeping that goal, but I try. Being a mom means spending much of your time in survival mode, and different people survive (and thrive) in different ways.


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