Our readers are a wide range of people from partners trying to share advice, homeschooling questions, girlfriends chatting about what goes on during diaper changes to new Mommies looking for resources. When I became a new Mommy I continuously thought I was on my own. I didn’t know any other new Mommies of twins. As I got out of my social awkwardness and started to join play groups, expanding my circle of friends to other parents, I found often people all had situations they got a good laugh at, questions they needed help with, or advice they’d share. It makes me think of the game played during baby showers where people give advice to the new parents.
Not everyone has access to a group of Mommies to ask questions or listen to. So I thought I would reach out to some of my personal Mommy friends. Asking them, what piece of advice they’d give new parents; from sex to child-birth, from diaper changes to what IS that? Nothing was off-limits.
Here is their guidance:
Crystal from Tacoma: take all advice in and you yourself choose what to use. It is your child in the end and realize that you will make mistakes. No parent is perfect! The other thing I wish I had known is probably TMI but I can’t do certain positions anymore with the husband thanks to my insides rearranging. The only advice I really was surprised about was sleep when the baby sleeps even if your house is falling apart. And if you can’t sleep when something needs cleaning then limit yourself to only one chore that will take a max of 10 minutes and then go lay down. The first six weeks are pretty hard on some women because they don’t get enough sleep and it makes having patience harder for when the baby is crying and you are crying because you can’t figure out what the kid needs. This totally doesn’t work when you have more than one but for sure on that first. Oh and the other one I remembered was if you have a bad experience of giving birth the first time around don’t let it taint your hopes for having another one. The second time around you know more and at least for me was the better experience of the two. Oh that and nobody told me that the second time around you feel your uterus contracting afterwards a whole lot more than the 1st time around! That was incredibly painful!!!! As for listening to the professionals I don’t mind doing that for the most part but if you feel in your gut something isn’t right then keep making your point or change Dr’s.
Danielle from Gig Harbor: Do research not Google. There is a big difference in Goggling things than researching. Don’t ask mom groups or websites if your child is sick. If you think so then go for it. You will learn more by going in and seeing your doctor and hearing from professionals. Understand a book called “what to expect when…” Is something just to scare the living day lights out of you and you should speak to your mid wife or doctor. Understand you are a mother for a reason and the instincts are there, you need to trust them. Don’t always rush for the medicine cabinet, the pharmacy, or any other medical way of dealing with things. Stop and know that you can fix many things naturally.
Kami from Tacoma: Be flexible! That seems to be the hardest learning curve for some moms. They do their research and often seem to get stuck with one mindset on how they want things to go, from birth to sleep training and any other parenting situation. It is great to do your research and have a plan, but life and babies are unpredictable and each one is a different experience. There are also a million different “experts” for everything baby with completely contradicting opinions/data, so it’s up to you to take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt and find out what works for your family.
Kimberly from Tacoma: It is impossible to not do it but try to not do it all the time. That is comparing your babies and children. Each child is unique and special in their own way. I had expectations of my 1st based on my niece and expectations of my 2nd based on my 1st. It is really hard when you start asking why isn’t my child talking, walking, reading, riding a bike, getting teeth, rolling over, hitting the milestones, growing as fast, etc. The thing is don’t think that there is something wrong when it may just mean that your unique child is growing and learning in their own way and style.
Rhoda from Puyallup: Trust your instincts. Once you make it through whatever you are questioning yourself on, you will realize you probably knew what to do all along. When you do need help, make sure you ask. People are more than willing to step in when you need help.
I have known these women for a few years, so I can tell you they’ve helped me through some rough patches. Worrying when your child is sick, or something isn’t quite right is nerve-racking and it’s great to be surrounded by a community of women who support each other. We’ve also laughed – that’s right laughed – over in-laws, exs, babysitters, awkward parenting situations, romantic endeavors gone wrong with our partners and tons of other topics.
What’s my personal advice I’d share? It’s three fold. First is: Know thy self. Know what you are and are not capable of. Being a Mommy is a remarkable privilege and while your child thinks you are a super hero, with super human strength the reality is – you’re a human. Yes, that’s right, a human. You need rest and nutrition to function properly. If you aren’t caring for yourself, you can’t care for your little one. And by the way; no that doesn’t make you selfish. Second is: Trust thy self. Trust to know that no one knows your child as well as you do. They are a part of you. When you become a mother you get a 6th sense that will never fail you. If you “think” or “feel” something is not quite right, believe in yourself enough to know you know your child better than anyone else. Trust that no other parent, no matter how old (mother in-laws) or how young (whipper snapper), ought to ever tell you what you “should” be doing as a parent or woman. Third is: Community is key. When they say it takes a village to raise a child, it truly does. It also takes a community to help us through motherhood. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve personally been exasperated and only needed someone to listen. Or was feeling down and someone said a supportive and uplifting word. Or was overjoyed because our daughters did something small, but amazing to me; I shared it with our community of parents and received support. A great community of parents helps you stay linked, feel less isolated and supports, as well as loves, without judgment. Humans need connection and support, great parenting communities give that. You can do it on your own, but wouldn’t that be awfully boring? Why not have a few great people in your community to laugh, cry and share everything with. You may have more in common than you think.
So there, you have it, our two cents…. Now, what’s yours?