Being a mom is a rewarding yet, exhausting journey. It stretches you in ways that you’ve never been stretched and challenges you in ways that, if necessary, require you to be prepared to stand alone in the decisions you make for your little one.
For me, motherhood has been a whirlwind of emotions ranging from joy to inadequacy. However, through it all, I have learned many important lessons and gained valuable takeaways from my experiences so far.
1. You Are The Only True Expert On Your Child
Once you have a child everyone suddenly has ALL the answers regarding how you feed, nurture and parent your child.
While all advice isn’t bad advice, the overload of opinions can be overwhelming and leave you wondering if you were even ready to become a parent.
But once the initial blur of being home with your little one passes, your ‘mommy senses’ have already kicked in and whether you realize it or not, you are taking inventory of everything your little one does.
This knowledge instantly becomes word vomit the second anyone makes an observation about your child.
For example, If your little one gets upset, someone may suggest that they need a bottle, however, you already know that they simply need to go down for a nap.
This isn’t a bad thing mama!
Think about it, not only are you the mother of your child but you’re their voice until they can speak.
I mean, of course we don’t know EVERYTHING and it’s okay, especially if you’re a first-time mom!
Besides, I think that first-time moms get waaayyy too much flack and are treated as uninformed, unprepared apprentices who would rather everyone tell them what to do and how to do it.
This is NOT the case.
So Mama, take pride in the fact that you are the only true expert on your child. Although, people may “mean-well”, don’t be afraid to ALWAYS do what YOU feel is in the best interest of your child.
2. Everyone will have opinions on your parenting
Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle feed, start solids at 4 months or wait until 6 months, E V E R Y O N E will have an opinion.
These crucial decisions are already daunting enough without different opinions constantly pouring in. Everyone parents their children differently and no one parenting style is superior over the other.
It’s all simply a matter of preference and circumstance.
A mom may be criticized for formula feeding her child, however, she could have made that decision after many failed attempts at breastfeeding/pumping.
The important thing is that her child is fed, healthy, and thriving.
Sometimes listening to everyone else’s opinions will cause you to second guess yourself but remember, you made the decision you made for a reason.
The last thing we need as mothers is to constantly spend time second guessing ourselves.
Ask your parents about your childhood and why they made the decisions they made, it’s likely that their response will be something like
“We did the best we could with what we had.”
3. No, you are not spoiling your baby
If I had a nickel for how many times I have heard this, I wouldn’t be a millionaire or anything, but I’d have a nice chunk of change.
When we think of ‘spoiled’ children, we think of children that have been overindulged and as a result, they may have a ridiculous tantrum when they don’t get their way.
But how exactly can a baby be spoiled? Their communication skills are quite limited and therefore, it’d be pretty impossible for their behavior to be negatively affected by affection.
Let’s use a little logic here, shall we?
We give birth to our babies and from that moment on, they look to us to meet all of their needs. Comfort, being one of those needs. A baby that feels safe is less likely to be anxious.
I believe that this quote by Robert Shaw, M.D. sums this up perfectly
“The more the child feels attached to the mother, the more secure he is in his acceptance of himself and the rest of the world. The more love he gets, the more he is capable of giving. Attachment breeds self-control, self-esteem, empathy, and affection, all of which lead to an increasing ability to develop literacy. We don’t know why, but it seems to be true. Attachment is as central to the developing child as eating and breathing.”
-Robert Shaw, MD
So hold and love on that baby as much as you want. Besides, they won’t be this little forever.
4. Be present in the moment
As a millennial, it is almost second nature to spend the great majority of my time on social media (which I personally use primarily on my phone).
Who knows how many times I’ve had my nose in my phone while he’s made a new discovery or picked up a new skill.
So often we are so busy looking at the lives of others on social media that we miss out on the things happening in our own lives. Children are extremely observant and the last thing I want to do is make social media a priority over my own child.
I know some of you are thinking “How could you put social media over your child? What kind of parent are you?”
It’s easier to do than you’d think.
For example, I love taking pictures and videos of my Ju, however, if I stick my phone in his face every time he does something new, am I really engaged and present in that moment with him? or am I just documenting it?
Mom’s, don’t get me wrong, videos and pictures are great to have! Who doesn’t like to go down memory lane from time to time and relive those precious moments? I know I do!
I also know that I want to be engaged in those moments with my little one. So the next time your child is playing or when they reach that next milestone, instead of pulling out your phone to record it, put the phone down and cheer them on!
5. God Has Given You Grace For This
In the midst of it all, it has helped me tremendously to remember that God gave my child to me for a reason. I won’t always be the perfect mother but I can rest assured knowing that God has graced me for a time such as this.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
– Psalm 127:3
As I strive to provide a nurturing, safe environment for my son to grow and thrive in, I’m also aware that I will make mistakes on this journey.
I won’t always be kind.
I won’t always be understanding.
I won’t always know what’s best.
However, I will always try my best to do what’s best and I have no doubt that God will honor that and help me every step of the way.
So on those hard days when all I want to do is cry, I try and remember that God knew there would be days like this and that He will give me the grace I need to raise my children