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I've learned many things from having multiple kids. I hope this top advice for first-time moms will help a new mother to make the most of her first year moments with her precious bundle of joy. Due to someone important to me having her first baby, it made me ponder all the things I'd tell her to make her parenting journey easier. I know my first child caused me to hit the panic button.
I had no clue how to be a parent. I had post-paradigm depression and didn't even know it. I didn't have a mother that I felt I could turn to for help. I want to keep other parents from having those same feelings of despair and fear.
Top Advice for First Time Moms
Live in the Now
I stress this one a lot throughout my blog. This is valuable information for ANYONE to take to heart. We are not given a moment over again. Babies do a wide range of things that you'll never forget for a lifetime. This can include but isn't limited to, peeing in someone's face or pooping in someone else's hands in the midst of changing diapers. Everything else in life can wait because those first 12 months of your little one's life is going to FLY by. (I'm NOT saying don't take of your home. I'm just saying don't stress over having to keep a crying baby happy versus washing the dishes at that given moment.)
Speaking of which, my life saver was a bouncy chair with Zeva because she was glad to sit in it. The boys couldn't resist pushing her around in it. It freed me up to have more time to do other things without worrying about her.
Be On The Same Team As Your Spouse
I could have put this first. However, enjoying the moments is just as important. If you and your spouse have a difference of opinion in raising your kids, don't let your children know it. Talk to your spouse about their decisions away from the kids. (Trust me, IT WILL happen!) Keep in mind that someone needs to have the final say.
Kids Will Eat When They Are Hungry
If you leave a child hungry long enough, they will evidently eat. Now I'm not a fan of having a child staying hungry for long. I've been known to give something to a child that is opposite of everyone else UNTIL they reach the age of 5. Then their only other option is a peanut butter sandwich if they don't want what everyone else is having.
I've also learned that if you want your kids to eat healthily, the best way to make that happen is to do it yourself.
DON'T Hold Them to Put Them to Sleep
This is one lesson I wish someone had DRILLED into my head before I was in charge of the night time routines. Make sure you cover all of their needs from feeding them to giving them baths using Johnson's Bedtime Bath. If you want cuddle time with them, read them a book just to the point they are about to fall asleep and then put them to bed on their own. LEAVE the room.
If they start to whine, let them be for a minute. Then check on them again and resist the urge to pick them up. LEAVE the room again. Stay away a bit longer and go back in and check on them. They will gain the idea quicker that they are SAFE on their own. I won't tell you to not check on them throughout the night because I did it and didn't regret it one bit. Make sure you give them a routine and set time for bed.
Saying NO Doesn't Make You Horrible
I do believe I say NO more than I say yes. However, in my defense, my in-laws spoil my kids royally since they live less than 200 ft away. I've learned through the years that my kids don't overly appreciate materialistic gifts. It's always been better when they've had to earn their toys. (It's also beneficial in the long run too.) Kids love boxes with a bit of crayon or paint just as much as they love the new toy car on the market.
You also have to learn to say no to yourself for the long list of baby items you think you're going to want. One example of something that seems frivolous, but yet can help you a lot is investing in the best diaper pails that will help keep the smell down. But you have to say no to sticking with name brand products and items all the time. You may also want to ensure that you buy different kinds of diapers because your child may be able to use the dollar store brand of diapers and save yourself a ton of money. (Plus, in my experience the dollar store brand of diapers were made of better quality too.)
No is not a terrible word. It's a concept that will help you out more than you may realize.
My kids look forward to our movie time each week. When I don't watch movies and shows with them during a week, they miss it as much as I do. They also look forward to our holiday traditions. All of those little things matter to kids.
Teach Them About The Value of Money EARLY
Kids need to know that everything costs money. If they want something, it will require you to work more hours to cover the cost or cost them something else in exchange. The sooner they learn about opportunity costs, the better for everyone.
If they see you using coupons, waiting for something to be on sale, appreciating finding a good deal at a thrift store, and other things like that, the more they will understand the value of a dollar. If you can teach them early on to “earn money” for what they want, the more likely they are to appreciate working and buying their luxury items. (That includes the name brand products.)
Read With Your Child
Reading is something that will only be appreciated if you do it with them as soon as possible. Reading is an adventure. Believe me when I say that when you read with your kids, they will help you to see things in an entirely different way.
Chores Are Important
When your children tackle tasks, it helps you run the home. However, it also teaches them responsibility. It also shows them the value of teamwork. Let's not forget that they are going to have to do these things on their own when they grow up too.
Teach Them Organization
My Momma used to tell me, “everything has a place.” When your kids learn that everything has a set place to be they are more inclined to keep things where they belong. It also helps to maintain the sanity in the home. It also helps when you don't keep things you don't use.
Don't Be Afraid to Admit You're Wrong
Parenting is like going to school all over again. You learn things as you go along because every child is different. What may have worked for one of your kids may not work with another one. You're going to make mistakes along the way. It takes a bigger person to admit when they are wrong than to try to brush it under the rug. I learn as much from my kids as they do from me.
Let your kids know that they are uniquely made, and they should be proud of who they are. You are too. Don't be worried about embarrassing yourself or your kids. They will overcome it. We are all strange and odd in our ways.
Always Be The Parent
You were not given these wonderful blessings to be their best friends. We are designed to be their parent. That means that you can't be their friends like Gilmore Girls and expect things always to go well. Real life is more complex than what you see on that show. I am my kids' parent, but they do still tell me anything that is on their minds! It's not always easy to get them talking, but they always do in the end.
There are going to be times when there are strong doses of dislike between you both. Love always wins.
Don't Let The Mom Guilt Get You
Don't ever feel guilty for having a hobby provided you make sure your kids' needs are met. We all need a break from each other and everything else.
Don't focus on the negatives. We can't always prevent things from happening. We can't be with them 24/7.
Take Care of Yourself Too
Momma can't take care of her family if she isn't taking care of herself. Make sure that you make time for your own self-care.
Shower Your Child With Love DAILY
Our most important job as a parent is to help them to be an asset to this world. Love is a powerful emotion that helps make this world a better place. I can't say enough how important it is to show our kids love daily. For the Family has shared 68 Ways to Demonstrate Love to Our Kids. They need to know at the end of the day that you love them regardless of what they have done/not done.
I hope these top advice for first time moms help you. Being a mother is the biggest blessing in the world. It changes a person in ways they never expected.
Talk to me in the comments, please:
What would you add to this list of top advice for first-time moms?
P.S. Just to let you know, it's perfectly okay to not agree with some or all of my advice. We all parent our kids differently.