On Mothering Magazine’s website, I found a thread where someone asked moms to give their best piece of advice for new mothers. When you hear “new mom advice”, you often get things like “nap when the baby naps”, or “put the baby down awake”. Those practical tips can be invaluable. But even more important than the logistics of getting through the baby day is the big picture: How do you deal with the massive undertaking of having a baby, with all its complexities and challenges?
I was so happy to see that the advice these moms had to offer was full of insights on the bigger issues that come up in early parenthood. I’d even consider bookmarking this so you could keep it on hand as you embark on your own version of motherhood…so many nuggets of wisdom here that could help you get through the early months!
My three favorites:
1. Trust your gut. You know your baby best. Tell your MIL to stick it.
Whether it’s your actual mother in law or someone else in your life who just fits that bossy stereotype, you’ll probably have someone in your sphere who’s brimming over with unwanted advice about what you should do with your baby. If this advice sounds good to you, great. If not, you can politely decline, simply ignore, or yes, tell the offending adviser to stick it. But I might not try this last one with your actual mother in law.
2. There is no one moment in time that defines you, or your child. This too shall pass.
I remember when my son was a newborn. He was fussy. He wouldn’t sleep except on somebody’s body. He woke constantly. I wondered what the hell I’d gotten myself into. If this was motherhood, I was not into it. But “this”, whatever it is, is not what being a mother is about. Your baby, and life with him or her, will change hundreds of times in just the first year of life. You’ll experience highs and lows on a moment to moment basis. But being a mother to a newborn is not like being a mother to a toddler which is not entirely like being a mother to an older child. Your experience as a mother will evolve with your kid, so don’t judge how you feel about it by any phase or moment.
3. Accept as much help as is offered. Remember that attachments to other people do not detract from attachment to Mom, attachment is not a finite resource.
Might there be moments when seeing your baby giving love to another caregiver could sting a little? Sure. But you will always be the mom, no matter who else helps you with the day to day care of your child. And the alternative: 24 hour childcare with zero support, is tough for many moms to handle, and can even be emotionally dangerous. Remember: being a happy mom is an important part of being a good mom.
See the complete list here.