This book was given to me by my mom when I was 18 years old during my high school graduation. In it was a letter she had written to me about her journey as my mother. Back then, I wasn’t able to really put myself in her shoes but I do remember feeling emotional and grateful that she loved me so much, and that she was so proud of me.
My son will be 18 in the fall, and I can now say I know where she was coming from – the ups, the downs, worries, triumphs, challenges, you name it. It’s one of those things you just have to go through to really understand the depth of what this journey entails. There’s no handbook when it comes to parenting and no matter how many stories you hear, your path as a parent will be your own.
If you’re new to the mom life, welcome. You’re in for an amazing, life-changing ride. In honor of Mother’s Day, I would love to share with you 5 things every new mom should know (that no one says but it’s totally normal). As someone who is 17 years into this, I want you to know you got this.
5 things new moms need to know
Everyone’s an expert
From how you potty train to how late you let your teen hang out, everyone will have an opinion. There will be that one person who has no kids but compares your job as a mom to their mom. There will also be that person who already raised their kids and will feel the need to share how they did it. This is normal. Do not take it personal. Trust me, it took me a long time to let it brush off my shoulder. Most of the time, they mean well and think they’re helping. If they don’t, pay them no mind. You’re good.
You will become a worry wart
When my son was a baby, I kept worrying that a blanket would suffocate him. When he was a toddler, I was afraid he would run off in a crowd. When he was in elementary school, I was worried some stranger would lure him into his car. When he was in middle school, I worried that he would hang out with the wrong crowd. My son is now in high school, and I worry about drunk driving, drugs, gang violence…Do you get my drift?
Your relationship will change
You will spend a heck of a lot more time talking about your kids than anything else and comparing notes on who’s more exhausted. There’s no one size fits all for relationships but I encourage you to have date nights (I know you’re tired but they can and should be simple and manageable) and baby-free days without the guilt (if that is possible). Even if it means you rather spend your free time napping, go for it. You deserve a nice, cozy nap.
I’m saying this as someone who did not make time for her relationship. I was one of those first time moms, and I’m here to tell you that having a solid relationship with your partner is a wonderful gift to your child.
There’s no such thing as a perfect mom
You are going to have parenting fails. Period. You are human and doing the best you can. Raising a child is a huge responsibility and no one does is perfectly. At the end of the day, love is what matters. Own up to your mistakes (let go of that ego) and try again. We’re all here to learn. Don’t be hard on yourself.
Make time for yourself
When I say make time for yourself, I mean do something for you every day. Yes, every day. A cup of tea, a bubble bath or calling your best friend are all feel-good things you can do for you. As a mom, you will be giving a lot of yourself. It’s important to have your outlets and downtime.