I’m probably going to be breaking a lot of Mommy Rules by posting this, but when your best friend is expecting a baby just a few months after you, you sort of feel obligated to tell her exactly what to expect. I’m sure this is different from person to person, but there are definitely things I wish people would have told me to expect with my “new mom” status. (And probably some things that should have been obvious but I was just too wrapped up in my pregnancy glow to think about.)
Don’t waste your time on childbirth + pregnancy books. I loved being pregnant + loved learning about all things pregnancy! The first half of my pregnancy was spent learning about being pregnant – what I should and shouldn’t do, what I could and couldn’t eat. The second half of my pregnancy was spent learning about how to have the birth I wanted. The birth that will never go according to plan, no matter how bad you want it to. I am kicking myself in the butt for spending so much time on things that (1) I already knew about (pregnancy) and (2) I had absolutely no control over. Oh, if only I had spent some time reading up on actually being a parent and how to care for a newborn baby. While I have some childcare experience, I don’t think I ever really changed a diaper until I changed MacKenna’s, and Lord knows I had no idea how to give her a bath. I wish I would have spent more time reading about basic childcare and schedules, naptimes, etc. than on things that I could care less about right now!
Breastfeeding is hard. Don’t let the Le Leche League women fool you. Breastfeeding is no walk in the park. It is REALLY hard. Babies know how to reflexively suck, but that doesn’t mean they know how to latch. Getting a baby to latch onto your boob takes a lot of work. I feel really fortunate that I was in the hospital an extended period of time because I had the help of the nurses for 4 extra days than most moms get (believe me, that’s the only reason I feel lucky about it – that hospital bill SUCKED). Every time I fed her in the hospital, they helped me get her to latch, which sometimes took 30 minutes (not kidding). I wish I could have taken them home with me since we struggled once I took her home for the first few weeks. It’s extremely frustrating, but after the 3 week mark, things got much, much better. It gets easier, I promise!
You will live your life in 3 hour increments. I think I was just naive about this. Yes, I know babies need to be fed and I am their only source of nourishment. But, for some reason, I thought it would be different than this. Babies need to be few every 3 hours or so, give or take an hour or 2. And just like contractions, the timing starts from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next. So if your baby takes an hour to eat, you only have an hour or 2 before the next feeding. It’s no wonder it’s so hard to get anything done! Which brings me to…
Being a mom is the hardest job in the world. I have a whole new respect for stay-at-home moms. You think staying at home with your baby means you have all the time in the world to get things done. Ha! The days I get anything crossed off my to-do list is a GREAT day! But, most of the time, I get halfway through something during one of M’s naps and inevitably she will wake up screaming. For no reason usually, just wanting to be held. She needs constant care 24/7 (obviously) so many things are sacrificed – sleep, eating, exercising, personal hygiene. If you are a stay-at-home mom, don’t let anyone tell you your job is easy. But…
Being a mom is the BEST job in the world. There are good days + bad days, but every day is wonderful when I get to spend time snuggling with my little peanut! I have a little less that 3 weeks before I head back to work and I’m going to miss my Mommy full-time job. But, I’m glad it is a job I’ll always have, even if it pays in kisses + smiles.
The best piece of advice I received during my pregnancy was that being a parent is hard (and no one can really tell you how hard it is, you just have to experience it for yourself). There are days where you will feel completely helpless and clueless to what your baby wants and needs. But, just remember that everyone survives. My parents survived, your parents’ survived, our grandparents’ all survived. And when you have a night where you are up all night with an inconsolable baby, just think about how wonderful it is that there is someone that needs you that much.
I am not an expert, just a new mom figuring things out for myself. But, I promise, as hard as it seems, just know that it does get better.
If you’re a mom, what do you wish people would have told you before you had kids?
If you’re a soon-to-be parent, is there anything else you want to know about newborns + parenting? I’m pretty much an open book and would be happy to share my experiences. Like I said, I’m not an expert, but more than happy to help!