Five things you wish you knew before you were pregnant
August 24th, 2022 | Blog
Tips From an Experienced MotherMother
This article from Melinda Muyargas was reposted with permission from My Sweet Sleeper.
I’ve been a mom now for more than three and a half years. In many ways, that’s such a short amount of time, but let me tell you, it feels LONG. I feel like a completely different person now than I was before I had my first child!
Parenthood changes so much about you: your personality, your interests, your hobbies, your flaws, and your strengths. If I could go back to my pre-pregnant self and share some of my newfound mom wisdom, here are the first five things that come to mind.
1. Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do!
Parents talk about how busy they are, but I don’t think I fully understood the extent of that before I had my own kids. Kids are a wonderful blessing, yes, but once you have them, in many ways your time is not your own anymore.
There are definitely seasons where you will have plenty of time, such as when your baby begins sleeping through the night but is not yet mobile, or when your kids first go off to school but aren’t involved in extracurriculars. However, for the most part, free time will be limited in most of your seasons of motherhood! If I could go back, I would definitely read more books, as well as pursue many of the hobbies or things that I wanted to learn and get better at.
2. Make friends with other moms–and watch their example.
We tend to be friends with people who are in the same stage of life as us. When we’re single, most of our friends are single. When we’re newlyweds, most of our friends are newlyweds. However, if I could go back, I would aim to be friends with more experienced parents (who I admire) who are seasons ahead of me in life–those with babies, those with school-aged children, and even those with grandchildren! Having their example, wisdom, and advice through every season is invaluable!
3. Have a good relationship with your own mom.
You never truly appreciate your own mom until you become a mom yourself. Although many things may have changed since she was a mother of a baby (safe sleep guidelines, baby-led weaning, etc), she will still be an incredible source of wisdom and experience. Especially if you live near your own mother, it’s so important to have a good relationship with her….even if it’s just for that free babysitting.
Your close motherly figure also helps. That great family friend, grandmother, your best friend’s mom, your mother-in-law. Don’t be afraid to lean in for support.
4. Don’t judge the habits of other parents.
Before you have kids (or even when you have a baby but don’t have a toddler who pushes the limits yet), you’ll see parents with their kids in the grocery store or a restaurant and probably think a judgemental thought or two about the way the kid is misbehaving or the way the parent is reacting in response to them. And you’ll probably think, “I’ll never do that!”
The truth? You just might do that exact thing. No matter how many parenting books you read for advice, motherhood can definitely be hard, and sometimes it, unfortunately, brings out the worst in us.
Other mothers who you respect, parenting podcasts you can listen to while washing the dishes at night, and constant prayer will need to be your best friends! In the meantime, do that poor mom in the grocery store a favor and say something encouraging or give an empathetic glance her way. You’ll be there one day and hope that someone does that for you.
5. Help out moms you know who have a baby.
As I said earlier, motherhood is challenging. Of course, it’s SO beautiful and joyous and rewarding as well, but I’m not going to deny that it’s hard. And because of that, it’s so thoughtful, before you have your own children, to be the best help you can to those you know that DO have their own kids–especially babies.
When I look back at the season of my life when I didn’t have a baby yet, but some of my good friends had started having kids, I realize that I was totally clueless about how to help them–and I didn’t even see the need to!
Now, when one of my friends has a baby, I offer to come over and help, or to watch the baby while they take a shower or a nap, and I always bring dinner for them (or even set up a meal train so others can do the same)! If it’s a second child, I come over to help with one child so the mom can give undivided attention to the other.
Before having my own babies, I didn’t know how much of a blessing it would have been to do those things!
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