Experienced Moms Advice To New Mothers
By Rachel Gulotta
Motherhood is a mysterious institution to those outside of its walls. It is also confounding to women who find themselves suddenly standing on motherhood’s doorstep with numerous questions – and a mind and body too fatigued to knock.
The first few days with a newborn can be chaotic. Life with a 2-year old and 16-year old can be too. Here is some advice to new mothers from experienced mothers on everything from those nerve-wracking first days to the many happy days of mothering that follow.
First Days At Home
You start as you intend to go on. Meaning, create practices you think you can follow throughout your baby’s childhood. Don’t start a practice that will become a habit you might have to break later.
– Catherine Schramm
The crazy hectic part passes pretty quickly, in retrospect.
– Elizabeth May
Things You May Not Know
Don’t wake a sleeping baby. There was a big difference between my first and second child. In the hospital, they make you feed your baby every two or so hours. They even call your room to check in and make sure the baby is fed frequently. My first baby still doesn’t sleep through the night. With the second baby, when she was sleeping, I was sleeping because it’s the only sleep you’ll get. They’ll let you know when they’re hungry.
– Christy Quebedeaux
You raise your children for other people, not yourself. If you spoil your child, you’re not doing them any favors. Even if you think they are great, they still have to be acceptable members of society.
– Catherine Schramm
Love Those Babies
Above all else, trust yourself! Enjoy every minute and every age and stage, because it goes by in the blink of an eye.
– Tara Bienvenu
Love your baby. Relax and love them; it’ll all work out.
– Joyce Fraiser
You Are Not Alone
You hear a lot about the terrible twos…and they are pretty terrible. But, nothing prepares you for a ‘threenager.’ As you approach the last days of ‘two,’ ignore the hype and buckle up, because if two is really just a battle of wills, three is a war of the worlds.
– Bree Alleman
As a single mom, if I don’t get ready an hour before my son and I’m not ready to go in the morning, the whole day is out of whack. You have to learn to prioritize and pick your battles. Just know that you won’t be perfect, but your kids will still think you’re great. They won’t remember that load of laundry you didn’t get to or the dishes you left in the sink overnight. They will remember you spending time with them. You just have to find what works and what’s important to them and roll with that. Don’t feel left behind by other moms who look like supermoms on the outside. On the surface they look great, but they all have moments when they want to pull their hair out. You don’t have to be a hero/supermom all of the time, and don’t believe women who claim to be. When you’re in the grocery store, don’t judge other moms thinking, ‘Oh, I would never.’ A few years later you see yourself doing the same thing. I used to say I would never let my child eat candy for breakfast. Sometimes if he’s persistent enough and it saves us from having a 20-minute argument I just let him go for it. It’s all about give and take.
– Lori Clark
Motherhood Is…Words Of Wisdom From Popular Motherhood Blogs
Ah, motherhood. It’s glorious isn’t it? Full of kisses and hugs and baking cookies. Perfectly crafted art projects. Clean and organized rooms. Haha!
Although motherhood (or mommyhood as I usually call it around here) really is beautiful and full of heart bursting moments that make you wonder how you made it through life without them, it often looks a lot less glamorous. Abundantly less glamorous.
So, for me… on the average day… this is what motherhood looks like:
• Catching snot in your hands.
• An array of fruit snacks scattered at the bottom of your purse.
•…And Chuck E Cheese Coins.
•…And an unpaired sock. (???)
• Always having an audience in the bathroom.
• Having someone continually step in the pile of dirt you just swept up.
• Hiding in the kitchen to eat your chocolate because you know if the kids see you they will devour it… and you’ll be lucky if you get a bite.
• Always being the last one to sit down for a meal.
• …And when you do, the minute your butt meets the seat someone will ask for something.
• Fishing binkies out of the toilet.
• Planning birthday parties for babies who could care less.
• Getting peed on.
• Getting vomited on.
• Matching Thor tattoos.
• Developing a strong coffee addiction.
• Knowing dozens of children’s books word by word.
• Understanding a very specific language that your toddler has created.
• Being able to look at any toy or article of clothing and remember where and when you bought it and if it’s a gift, who it was from.
• Always running late.
• Developing the most amazing sense of hearing that even a quiet whimper in the middle of the night wakes you out of a dead sleep.
• Not recognizing your own body anymore.
• Hysterically laughing at the things they say and do each day.
• Feeling guilty that you are the reason they say “damn it” on occasion.
• Wondering what you ever did to be so lucky to call them yours.
A momastery.com favorite that went viral on the motherhood-related web, suggested to us by Bree Alleman, entitled “2011 Lesson #2: Don’t Carpe Diem” is a must read. The following is an excerpt:
…I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn’t enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn’t in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn’t MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I’d wake up and the kids would be gone, and I’d be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.
But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here’s what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:
“It’s helluva hard, isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She’s my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime.” And hopefully, every once in a while, I’ll add- “Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up– I’ll have them bring your groceries out.”
Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn’t work for me. I can’t even carpe 15 minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.
Here’s what does work for me:
There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time, it’s one minute at a time, it’s staring down the clock till bedtime time, it’s 10 excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it’s four screaming minutes in time out time, it’s two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.
Then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. Kairos is those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day, and I cherish them…
These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don’t remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.
If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.
Carpe a couple of
Kairoses a day.