Whether it’s solicited or unsolicited, advice for new moms-to-be isn’t that hard to come by! If I had to guess, this is probably because moms have so much wisdom and knowledge to share. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past seven months, it’s that every single experience is different. Every pregnancy is different. Every baby is different. Every mom is different.
Despite knowing this, I still asked all of the moms I know, both veterans and those who are new members of the motherhood club, for their best advice – inspirational, practical…whatever they wanted to share.
I was blown away by the advice, wisdom, and vulnerability that filled my inbox. Some of the emails even brought me to tears!
Because every mom had something different to share, it didn’t make sense to just copy and paste everything into one post. Instead, over the next few months, I hope to share all the advice I received one post at a time.
Today, I wanted to share the words of a former colleague of mine who is a boy mom…a twin boy mom at that! She’s just such a practical and realistic individual who looks for the silver lining in all situations, and I really appreciate that about her…and her advice!
With that, I hope you find the following bits of momma advice insightful/helpful!
1. Make sure to straighten up your house and turn things off before you rush off to the hospital. My brother/sister-in-law rushed off to have their first child and left dinner on their plates and in pots on the stove for about two days. Thankfully the stove was off
2. Eat before you check into the hospital, because once you check in, you will not be allowed to eat any food until you have the baby.
3. Be prepared for the birth experience to be completely different than you expected or planned. I had complications before and after the birth which completely threw us off and ruined our memories of the birth of our twins. It was sad for both my husband and I, especially when you hear others tell their happier birth stories.
4. You and your husband will be more tired than you have ever experienced. We lived with extreme tiredness and fatigue for the whole first year.
5. Be prepared for your baby to not be “the perfect baby.” It can be devastating to have your image of a perfect baby and the first year of life shattered, but in reality, you may experience things you never expected: a baby who is sick/colicky and won’t sleep through the night for months, not meeting expected milestones, etc. We always have images of being the perfect mom/dad with the perfect baby, and sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Make sure you are prepared for that mentally, and have a support system who is there for you.
6. Never be afraid to ask for help. Actually, ask for help often, from as many people as possible. Parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors, lawn care people, house cleaners, online meal delivery services. Use them all, and don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask!
7. Come to terms that you won’t be a perfect parent. There’s no such thing. You are going to be second-guessing all of your decisions for the next 18 years, so get used to it now. And don’t believe half of the people who claim perfect lives on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. They are either great storytellers or aliens from Mars. And on that note, Pinterest is both wonderful for ideas and evil at the same time because it has people thinking they have to do elaborate things to be the perfect mom (and later parent, class mom, party thrower, gift giver, etc.). Don’t fall into that trap!
8. Adult conversations with other moms will always turn into comparison/friendly competition sessions. Who had the longest pregnancy/labor; craziest delivery story; how long until the baby slept through the night; how much their husband helps/not helps; craziest thing a stranger said or did to them while pregnant/with the baby; who decided to stay at home/go back to work. I find it crazy that these stories still come up well into elementary school.
8a. The war between stay-at-home moms and moms who work an additional job (from home/outside the home) is a fabrication and completely destructive to all mothers. No matter which option you choose, the road is a difficult one. Just make sure to choose the option that is best for your immediate family, not what anyone else expects or wants you to do.
9. Be prepared for LOTS of unsolicited advice from family members, friends, (including ones with no kids), co-workers, and strangers. Some of this advice is good; other advice will downright irritate you. Most of it will be given to you with good intentions.
10. I hate to bring this one up, and I truly hope this is something you won’t have to face, but be prepared for your baby to be anything but “normal.” Both of our boys are on the Autism spectrum, and we began noticing little things very early on that we didn’t understand the meaning of until years later. My husband has said (as well as other friends with children with sensory issues, sever Autism, and food texture/digestion issues) that it was hard adjusting the mental picture of what my child would grow up to be like and be capable of doing. Not everyone has to make this adjustment, but as with anything in life, things don’t always work out as we plan.
11. The struggle of mommy brain is real! You will forget things. So many things! Sometimes the act of standing up makes you forget the thing you were walking across the room to get. Just know that you aren’t losing your mind. It’s a temporary condition that for me lasted the whole first year.
12. On a happier note, be prepared for a life-changing experience! Life as a family of 3 (or more) brings unexpected challenges (like packing the car for a trip with all of the baby gear). Your house may be difficult to keep clean, and you constantly have baby things on you or in your pocket/purse (pacifiers, toys, snacks, spit up!). Those great adult activities (nice restaurants, weekend getaways, movies) become occasional treats that you enjoy when you can get a babysitter, but the trade off is that you get to spend your time with you adorable, wonderful baby.
Happy Wednesday FROM ATLANTA!!!
6 thoughts on “Advice for New Moms-to-Be — Part One”
This is one of the best lists I have seen! I used to have to fight the urge to tell at anyone who told me to “sleep when the baby sleeps” because that was when I had to pump, feed myself, shower, wash bottles, etc. Love that it wasn’t on this list.
#5 is true for us unfortunately too, different challenges, but my baby would have been TOO perfect otherwise. She is more than I could ever have dreamed of and yours will be too for you.
If we have a second kid, I am going to meal-prep sandwiches the night before bc I never even had time to make them on maternity leave and often had just bread for lunch 🙁 so worth all the struggle though!
I also tell all new moms that they need Amazon prime 🙂 we were placing daily orders!
Love the meal prep idea…for mama! I’m definitely going to have to keep that one in mind.
And Amazon Prime is already our best friend…can’t wait to take our relationship to the next level when the baby comes!
This is a great list ! It was a good reminder to read even for a second time preggo mom here. The only other thing that comes to mind from that eventful first year is that I personally picked two – three things I wanted to do perfectly well , made sure my spouse was on board with these and was fully supportive and ignored all the others . So for me it was breastfeeding past one year ( including pumping and all that goes with it when I was away from the baby ) and doing a kick-ass job at work when I returned after maternity leave a little short of 11 weeks. For me, both these alone took up a lot of my time. So I outsourced cooking , cleaning and anything else I could. My house was never tidy or organized and I didn’t really get time to seriously exercise or anything else but somehow it worked out
Love that! I have a similar mindset in that I want to pick a couple of things that are important to me and do them well. And the rest of the stuff? Well, it can wait or it can be outsourced…like you said!
haha! As my baby’s 1st bday approaches I agree with all of these! Except for #4. People used to tell me this and it terrified me that I wouldn’t sleep for a year. I think that the extreme tiredness is only at the beginning approx 3 months, or sooner depending on baby of course. But I think that you just adjust to the new normal and your body adjusts to new sleeping patterns. Sure sleepless nights come after that, with sicknesses and other changes, but they balance out with normal nights. You just learn your new normal to get the amount of sleep you need whether its going to bed when your baby does or napping during the day. It’s just different! Also major yes to the eating before the hospital thing the one day I didn’t eat a big meal before bed was the night I went into labor and regretted it!! It was very tough, i had to beg for jello during labor lol.
Thank you for sharing your side of the story! The whole “you will never sleep again” thing really scares me! I expect a new normal but some of the horror stories out there are pretty intense!