In Family

10 Tips for Surviving your First Year of Motherhood

It’s been almost 7 years since my son was born. I have been pretty emotional about this reality since the new year hit. I just can’t believe it and I don’t want to wrap my head around it. Seriously, time just needs to slow down.

Motherhood is one of the best yet most unpredictable things in the world. I couldn’t be more thankful that I have been given the chance to become a mother to two of the best children in the world. I think God daily for bringing them into my life. Motherhood is a wild rollercoaster but it’s a wonderful one.

In honor of my best friend giving birth to my first god-child I thought I would come up with 10 tips for first-time mothers, that I’ve learned along the way.

You’ll learn to lower your expectations on what you can accomplish in a day. Some days, it’ll be all you can do to keep your baby safe, warm and fed. That will be enough.

  1. Sleep when the baby sleeps. I know this is such a cliche but you need sleep momma. You’re in dire need. Getting rest is crucial for patience.
  2. Laugh. A LOT. I am so serious about this one. Laugh! I feel like a switch gets flipped in our minds when we first become parents that make us become very serious. It’s kind of obnoxious. Have some fun and laugh a little! This will lighten up the mood that may sometimes feel dim and release some happy endorphins. Not everything has to be serious.
  3. Know that you are normal. I’ll be honest, when my son was first born I was expecting to get this overwhelming feeling. I thought I was supposed to cry when he entered the world or did certain things. I started to wonder what was wrong with me after a few months had passed and I still didn’t feel that way. Guess what? There was NOTHING wrong. Everyone reacts to things in their own way. I didn’t get that feeling when Kennedy was born either. I love both of my kids equally and incredulously. As people, we tend to overthink things or feel like we should have the same thoughts or feelings that other people have. It’s not necessary. I don’t love my kids any less because I didn’t cry when they were born or get that overwhelming feeling. It’s OK.
  4. Get out and make connections. Let’s face it. Adults need to have adult conversations. Especially, us women. Whether you are choosing to be a stay-at-home mom or a working mother, find some places that you and your baby can go together. There’s nothing quite like getting out and enjoying some mommy/baby time with other moms and babies. It’s nice to surround yourself with other like-minded people during this time.
  5. Breathe. Are you anxious and feeling stressed? Listen, it’s normal. Becoming a first-time mom is stressful. You go from just caring for yourself and/or your spouse to this tiny human that can’t yet talk and tell you what it is that they want. The best advice I can give for this is to step away for a min and just breathe. You’re not a bad mom if you need to take a moment to just breathe and get a moment to yourself. It will often feel like your necessities are no longer important but they are. My son had extreme colic and acid reflux when he was a baby. You can read more on that here. This was a crucial step for my in my first year of motherhood with him. Your well-being is so very important for your babies health too. Remember that!
  6. Be confident in your choices. There is SO much advice that you get when you become a parent. It doesn’t matter how many kids you have, people will throw their opinions or suggestions on you like you’re completely incapable. Look at me doing the same thing! Haha. No, but really. You know your baby better than anyone else. If you feel like something is wrong, challenge the doctor. If you feel like your child doesn’t need to be vaccinated, fight for it. Want to cloth diaper? Good job mama. Want to let the baby cry it out? You’re not a bad person. You want to exclusively breastfeed or bottle feed? Sweet! I could go on for days, but my point is, YOU ARE THE PARENT. Be confident in the decisions that you make for yourself and your family and don’t let anyone get you down for it. Stand up for what you believe.
  7. Make time for yourself and your spouse or significant other. Boy oh boy! So many of us really do not realize that we tend to abandon yourself or even our spouses when a new child enters the world. Let’s face it, your child relies on you and it’s difficult to not cater to their every need. Your spouse needs you more than ever too though. It is important that you both are a team in this. So many marriages struggle when children start to come into the picture because sex doesn’t seem appealing or becomes scary after giving birth. Also, you feel like there is little to no time to continue to date one another. This is not true. MAKE. TIME. It doesn’t mean that you have to go out. Simply just spend some alone time together on the couch, watching a movie when the baby is down for a nap. It’s that simple.

  1. Accept help. Remember when I said to make time for your spouse or significant other? This is where this advice comes into play. If you have family or friends around that you trust and that want to help you, accept it! There is nothing wrong with a little TLC from the ones that love you most & let’s be honest, favors won’t last forever. Take them up on the offer to watch the child while you go to a date or sleep and don’t feel bad about it. By taking them up on their offer, you are strengthening your relationship with that person. You’re making them feel important in your life and it is a great feeling for them. This doesn’t mean, take advantage though. While it is important to get out and have some fun or catch up on sleep it is also important for your baby to get to know you and bond with you too. Also, make sure you pay your loved ones back when you get the chance. Relationships and friendships should never be a one-way street.
  2. Embrace your new self. Just accept the fact that you’re not the same person that you used to be and your body will never be the same anymore. The one thing new mothers do is stress about their pre-pregnancy body/weight/appearance and whatever else when it is just not necessary. In case you didn’t know, your body just did the most miraculous thing. Do not stress about where you stand in comparison to where you were before. Embrace your new self and work toward a new you.
  3. Relax and enjoy the ride. Listen, it is hard to not compare our babies and their milestones to others. Or even rush their life away. I’ll admit, I did this with my first born, Tristen. I wanted to hear him talk or see him crawl. I was jealous that other babies were standing up or walking. Whatever the case is, STOP. RIGHT. NOW. Our babies will only be little for a short amount of time. We need to enjoy every second and moment with them. If they’re not hitting certain milestones at the same rate as other kids, that’s fine. Your child’s doctor will be the judge if that ever does become a concern. Just relax and enjoy the ride.

Hopefully, these tips will help, not only first-time mothers but experienced mothers as well. I didn’t learn all of these tips in my first year of motherhood, that is for sure. I’ve learned them throughout the 7 years that I have been a mother and boy have they been helpful.

What advice would you give to new or existing moms?

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