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New Mom Advice
We, as moms, get wrapped up in all the current parenting hot topics of the day. Breast verses bottle, co sleeping, attachment parenting, to vaccinate or not, etc. These topics can usually start a ‘mommy war’ in five seconds flat if your opinion is different from someone else’s.
Moms are passionate about their kids. It’s apparent. It’s fantastic. And as I think about all the hot topics of the day, I imagine what a new mom who is getting ready to deliver her first child must be feeling. Not only must she nurture her new baby in the uncharted territory of NewMomVille, but she also has all these topics swarming around her head to sort out so she can decide which team she is going to be on.
I think about what my ‘top ten’ list would be if I were to give a first-time mom encouragement to help her with the unknown. It wouldn’t be about breastfeeding, vaccines or some of the other popular topics. My advice would be for the time after all those decisions are sorted out. For the little things she will experience, such as:
1) This too shall pass. Cherish it. Cherish them.
2) It is okay to miss brushing their teeth one night if you’re too tired and you just want them in the bed already! Their teeth will not fall out and you will not get the stink eye from the dentist. I promise.
3) Eating dinner on paper plates is fantastic.
4) TV will not hurt them. Use it sometime. Or a lot of times.
5) Make sure you listen to the quiet ones. Often times, they get buried in all the squeaky wheels and commotion. Don’t let them feel like they are never heard because they aren’t as loud as everyone else.
6) When you get angry, and you will, stop and count to 10. Then imagine them as 20-somethings and no longer home with you anymore. After your brief urge to shake it like a tail feather, it will hit you deep in your gut that time goes by too fast. (And overlook the crayon marks all over the print in your new book. They were just trying to draw you a pretty picture.)
7) Close the door and you won’t see the mess. You can clean it tomorrow. It really doesn’t matter in the whole scheme of things. Five years from now, you are not going to remember leaving a messy kitchen, but you WILL remember the happy eyes of your child that night when you read them a story instead. And your child will, too.
8) Repeat rule #6. Always count to 10 first. Maybe even 178, if Sharpie markers are involved. Give yourself time to approach whatever happens with maturity, so later that night you’ll have no regrets about how you handled it. And always keep a hefty stock of Magic Erasers.
9) It’s OK to make mistakes and wish you could have a do-over. It makes you a real mom.
10) And the biggest lesson learned – There is no greater love felt than the love a parent has for their children. It’s an emotion you can physically feel inside your body that rises and falls between elation and fear.
I have learned that parenting is a long list of hit and misses. Sometimes you will go to bed with a smile because you feel fantastic as a parent. Other times, you will go to bed with tears, feeling like a failure. But the thing that makes you a good mom is when you have those tears, because it means you care. And for that, you are awesome!
Debbie frequently uses humor and illustrations on her blog, Wrinkled Mommy, to explain the chaos that occurs from being a mom of six, including one set of triplets. She left her corporate career as a senior account analyst to stay home and be a servant to her insubordinate offspring. In her spare time she enjoys…never mind, she has no spare time.