Thursday, October 4, 2012

12 Things I wish I knew before I became a mom

Several women I know are getting ready to become moms for the first time and I could not be more excited for them. I love being a mom! It is such a crazy whirlwind of an experience that I started to recently think back on when I was first pregnant and what I wish someone had told me about becoming a mom. This list originally started as a top 10… but it quickly bloomed into 12. Here goes:

1)      Everyone is different. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery can vary from person to person and although people love to share their stories; that does not mean that your experience will be anything like theirs {do not be freaked out by everything you hear, but do be smart and educated about what is happening to you.}.
2)      Sleep will never be the same again. Cherish every minute of relaxing uninterrupted worry free sleep that you can. I had no idea {no one ever really does} that 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep would be so incredibly hard to achieve -post children.
3)      Babies sleep a lot at first, but it is only in about two-to-three hour increments. They need to eat every two-to-three hours, so you will have to be awake to feed them when they wake up. So in the early days YOU are only sleeping in two-to-three hour increments as well. This is normal. I have found that I can do a lot of things on very little sleep. I may only speak gibberish and come off as a bit loopy, but I can change an explosive diaper at two am without batting an eyelash and go right back to bed as if nothing happened. You can get used to things you never thought you would be able to get used to.
4)      Do not be intimidated by registering for a baby shower. I know this is easier said than done and I was extremely overwhelmed when it came to registering for my baby shower. I took my mother with me to register and it helped me a lot, but I also thought only about the one baby I was having and not the longevity of the products I was registering for {for example – I registered for a travel system with a stroller that would only ever accommodate one child at a time. I wish I would have gone with a stroller system that had the capability of expanding with my family.} I have also helped others register and they have told me that it was extremely helpful having someone who knew about baby stuff help them register for baby stuff.
5)      It is okay to ask for help – I still struggle with this. There is no such thing as a perfect mother. While it is true that some people have fantastic mothering instincts, everyone struggles and no one knows everything. It is okay NOT to be supermom.
6)      Bathroom time will no longer be private time. I cannot remember the last time I took an uninterrupted trip to the bathroom.
7)      There are all kinds of moms {stay at home moms, work at home moms, working moms, and a gazillion other variations in between}; don’t beat yourself up over which category you fall under and don’t judge others based on what they do. No one is better than the other. It is all about what works best for your family and for you. I am blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom. I love what I do, but I know women that would go bananas if they stayed at home instead of going to work. I also know women that have to work, but wish they could stay at home. Remember that everyone’s choices and circumstances vary. Don’t beat yourself up over your choices, but don’t think that you are any better or worse than anyone else either.
8)      When all else fails, laugh. As a mom you are bound to be pooped on, peed on, spit up on, vomited on, and God knows what else! Some days you are just so tired that you want to cry {crying is perfectly acceptable by the way} and you don’t think you can handle any more poop. And then – WHAM- its 2am and you get the joy of changing an explosive diaper that covers not only the baby, but you and the bed that you are changing the baby on… laugh. This happened to me and I started laughing so hard I woke up my husband who was sound asleep next to me. Although he looked at me like I was crazy, I could not stop laughing. I laughed the entire time I cleaned up my baby, I laughed the entire time I stripped and remade the bed, and I laughed the entire time I cleaned myself up. Then when I was all laughed out I crawled back into bed and went back to sleep. Looking back on this event, I still laugh.
9)      Trust your own instincts. Everyone and their mother will offer you advice. Advice is all fine and dandy {and sometimes there is someone who will actually offer you good advice}, but YOU are mom. This is YOUR baby and YOUR family and if you think something is wrong, there might be something wrong. You are your child’s advocate.
10)  Everything takes about 10 times longer to do when you have children. There is no quick trip to the grocery store. You will have to pack a diaper bag with essentials to take with you to the store {diapers, wipes, ointment, pacifiers, bottles, toys…}, you will have to prepare yourself as well as your child/children for leaving the house {bathing, clothing, socks, shoes, car seats…}, you will have to care for your child while shopping {load and unload from the car, pacify throughout the store…}, and you do all of this while trying to look/feel sane – yeah right!
11)  Motherhood is not super easy, but it is not the end of the world either. Life changes, people grow, and things happen. Facts of life. Yes, your world will never be the same again, but you should still carve out some time for yourself. Do something just for you, be it five minutes alone with a cup of coffee hidden in your closet while reading a new best seller or a fitness class with girlfriends once a week. ME time DOES make you a better mom. Have some guilt free mommy ME time.
12)  Being a parent is expensive… seriously. No… I am not joking at all! Being a parent is ridiculously expensive. Baby stuff is not cheap. And even when you think you are getting a deal, it is still not cheap. All the little things add up and the big things are crazy expensive too! Aside from a crib and car seat, there are a gazillion other things that you will spend money on {diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, baby laundry detergent, food… the list is endless}. Hand me downs are fabulous and freebies such as gifts are a HUGE blessing.
What are some things that you wish you would have known before becoming a parent? Was there anything that completely shocked you?

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