How many times have you heard people say “Enjoy every moment” while you were pregnant? Or how about “Enjoy the time alone with your husband that you have because you’ll never have it again!” I remember A LOT of people saying these things. However, I truly believe that you really don’t “understand” what they mean until you have experienced the actual moment. For example, my bad habit is not “enjoying the moment.” I’ve done a lot in the last two years since having my daughter that MAKES me enjoy the moments. For one, I blog about it, it’s a lot of the reason how Momma’s Meals started :) I often said when my daughter was an infant that I realized I’m not an “infant” person, meaning it wasn’t really the stage I enjoyed the most, I couldn’t wait until my daughter could walk and explore the world. I then quickly found myself baby proofing my home. Then I couldn’t wait for her run and play, now I find myself locking the fridge, toilet and cabinets, I spend my days putting her cloths away 20 times at the least since she loves emptying her draws! I just said this summer, I couldn’t wait for her to start talking so she could tell me the things she wanted instead of crying and whining them, well I’m not wishing for anymore stages. I’m trying to enjoy the stage I’m in now because I know three months from now I’m going to miss it. That’s how quickly it goes by. I already miss the infant stage, do I miss the sleepless nights, heck no, but I do miss going to the bathroom by myself, being able to eat when I want to eat, or getting more accomplished in a day besides a load of laundry and dinner on the table. I miss making funny noises and faces just to get a smile from her. I miss having her lay on the couch beside me and just be content. It’s not that I didn’t listen to other mother’s (mine specifically!) when they told me to enjoy these stages, It’s simply a part of life to experience them to really learn from them. I can give any new momma lots of advice, will she follow them, maybe, maybe not, but that’s OK, I often think back to the advice that was given to me. Some I followed. Some I didn’t. I think the best one that all Momma’s should know is that you really do have to do what works the best for your family. What works for your family may not work for mine. I learnt that hard, I thought I was a bad mommy because I wasn’t doing it the way I was “supposed to” or because my child wasn’t going through the stages that my friends children were going through. Bottom line, all children are different and you have to make choices that work best for you and your family.
One more piece of advice from me. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t love 100% of motherhood. That was my biggest battle when I first became a mother, I thought I was “supposed” to love the sleepless nights, I thought I was “suppose” to love that I was never going to be able to come first again. It was a big adjustment for me because I didn’t love EVERYTHING. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are a lot of moms out there that are cursing me saying of course I love everything about Motherhood, well then hunny, you are lucky very very lucky because I don’t love everything. I love A LOT, and the A LOT ALWAYS outnumbers the everything else, but I’ve finally accepted that some parts, stages or days just suck. That’s my thought process at least. AND it’s OK. I’m OK with it, I don’t care what anyone else thinks of my thought process :)
OK, with that let’s move onto other tips shared by some of my Momma friends!
Sleep when the baby sleeps or accept/ask for help when it’s needed or offered!!! Your never alone. When help is needed, ask. I second this suggestion. I wouldn’t sleep at first when Madison slept during the day, I was a terrible “day” sleeper. What worked for me and my family was the first three weeks we were home my husband home with us (yes we were very lucky) he can sleep during the day with no problem. (or on a picket fence) so he did the night shift for three weeks straight because he could sleep during the day. I couldn’t. So I did the day shift. It worked for three weeks, and after that I did learn to sleep during the day because, well my body needed it and I would force myself to lay down. Asking for help, yes yes yes. I was bad at it, I still am, but I’m getting there. I don’t hesitate in asking my mom to take Madison on a random Sunday when my husband and I are just exhausted and ready to rip each others eyes out :)
New moms of more then one kiddo don’t expect the children to be the same….Things are so much different. This advice is good for me, I need A LOT of advice for what to expect when your on #2! I know I would probably assume that it would be the same with a new infant, he/she will act the same, sleep the same, have the same personalities, but I know this is NOT true. Scary but true.
Don’t let yourself get flustered by people telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. Follow your instincts and listen only to those who you value their opinion and that you have asked for their opinion. When you become a parent people often feel that this gives them permission to give their opinions freely and often it is, while with good intent, not helpful at all. This goes back to what I was saying earlier I think. A lot of people offer advice but what they don’t realize sometimes is that they are making you feel worse than you already do. A lot of the time I started to not ask for advice because I was realizing that I was comparing, and that made me see that I can’t do that because it often lead me to be upset with myself.
Sibling rivalry IS a given; a mother ALWAYS has enough love to go around. This is a question I asked my mother when I interviewed her last week. I remember a lot of moms that were going on #2 that was worried about being able to have enough love to go around. I guess it’s natural, just like it is when you have your first, mommyhood does kick in. I will have to take this advice since I only have the one :)
Keep “dating” your spouse…every month make a date even if it’s only going out to have dinner. This one is big for me and my husband. The first year my daughter was born (and I mean the whole year) we had date nights planned at least once a month. We would line up a babysitter and make the plans in advance, another thing we did was for each birthday, anniversary or holiday instead of getting each other a physical gift, the gift would be some sort of Date. A few baseball games, dinners at our favorite places or tickets to a comedy show. We’ve actually been not so good with this on the second year, we really need to revamp this up again! I know date nights can be expensive but we’ve thought of ways to keep the cost down. During the summer my sister would take my daughter over night at our summer camp and my husband and I would stay home and just watch a movie. Don’t have a sitter, that’s ok too, pick one night a week, put your child, or children to bed and have dinner just the two of you alone. I’m big on family dinners but one night a week isn’t going to hurt your child to eat alone. I even sit with her while she eats, then I start cooking and my husband puts her to bed, we get a hot meal, quiet time to talk.
I think moms need to remember to take care of themselves and be okay with not being able to be super-mom. It’s amazing what a few hours or caring for yourself and relaxing can do for your disposition! It seems like its hard for moms to give themselves a break and I think all moms deserve them! I could haven’t said this better myself. Honestly I’m getting worse with this. When Madison was an infant, I did make time for myself because I was a SAHM and I NEEDED it. I was going to go insane if I didn’t get out at least two nights a week. Then it got expensive. Now, Madison goes to school 2 days a week so it helps me more though I spend most of those hours doing other things for my family or writing, but it’s something for me, it’s something I enjoy. I also ask my husband and best friend for pedicure gift certificate’s and things like that. It’s so easy to get comfortable. I’m comfy in my yoga pants and T-Shirt why leave home after dinner when I’m tired? Well once every few weeks I make myself because I need it. I love getting together with my mommy friends, no one knows it better than them so even if you are just talking about your family and children, who cares, it’s nice to get dressed, put some make up on and treat yourself! This week, I started back to the gym, I hate going at night, I bit the bullet though because I forgot how good it made me feel. I know it’s easier for SAHM’s to make time for themselves (well most) working moms I imagine would be tougher because they only get a few hours a day with their little ones and the weekends, it’s hard to break away and take that time. I promise you it’s always worth it. I as a mother “need” to miss my daughter, when I got home from the gym last night, my daughter ran to me!!! Usually it’s my husband when he gets home from work, it felt amazing!
Enjoy your children and please (my mistake) don’t feel like your house must be perfectly clean. Children won’t remember how clean the home is they remember the times together. It’s so true……so so so true, sometimes I wish I wasn’t so anal about having a clean house, it’s really something I can’t control, there are times when I envy friends that can sit still for more than 15 minutes. If this is the case for you, make it fun with your kiddo’s. I let my daughter “help” me. She has her own broom and it still gives us time together. I let her bake with me, it’s a bonus, we get yummy treats but also some good laughs in between. Can’t sit still like me? Go to the park, go outside and throw a ball around, those are the moments I want my daughter to remember.
Always try to remember how short of a time they are little. You will be tired from sleepless nights and have a to do list that is a mile long that just never seems to get done but trust me this time will go too quickly. Stop and enjoy the cuddles, you won’t regret not doing the dishes more but you will regret not holding them more. Seems like us Momma’s may be learning a thing or too, because this piece of advice is pretty similar.
Again, it’s really hard to learn these things by listening to people rather than experience them yourself, but every time I think of these words of advice I do stop and enjoy the moment. When your having a bad day, no sleep or just want to cry. Look at your baby and think “OMG, I created this life.” It always cheers me up!!
Thank you to all of you Momma’s that gave advice, don’t stop giving it, remember they may not listen, but every time you pass it on, you remember to follow your own advice again.