I was recently asked what I would tell a first time mom.
Oh, there is so much. And yet, there is very little. And, also, never enough.
If you decide to decide to become a parent, you begin to have ideas of how you’d parent, of what you need, and obviously, thoughts and guttural reactions related to how other people parent.
It’s so easy to have all these ideas before your tiny human, with his or her own special traits and personality, impacts this perfect view of your intended parenting style.
First and foremost, trust YOUR gut. There will be so many opinions coming at you at lightning speed, most of which you never asked for. Your parents, friends, your husband or partner, random strangers. Definitely random strangers. They love to impart “knowledge” and touch your baby (and belly!) without permission. Guard yourself, physically and emotionally.
Know your tribe and learn whose opinions to trust and whose to ignore. Friends and family are incredible, many sometimes with very different parenting styles. Some let their kids run wild and others hover without room to breathe. Some make their own baby food, and others are totally OK with the processed. I could go on and on. None of it is better or worse; decide your deal, what’s realistic, and then you can better take advice and referrals from the peeps you most align with.
Also, I’m sure the baby product people won’t love this, but trust me when I say you don’t need all the crap. Are you a first-time mom in a registry panic wondering if you have everything? Legit if you have diapers, pajamas, a place for your babe to sleep, and you, you have everything. Everything else is lovely and great, but you don’t need it.
We adopted our son. We decided not to decorate his room or buy much at all until the the papers were signed and he was home with us. You know what? He survived without his gallery wall, without his Freshly Picked moccasins, without his Splendid baby gear and without four baby swaddling contraptions.
All that stuff, is just stuff. Yup, some absolutely becomes necessary but see what YOU need before you go into a frantic frenzy thinking you need every random thing, or self impose mom guilt — before your baby is even born, mind you — because you don’t have or can’t afford all the stuff. Fact: heated wipes are very unnecessary. Don’t fall for these schemes.
As a mom, you will worry more, and you will do embarrassing things you never imagined. You could be the CEO of something super important, and if your baby wants you to sleep on the floor until she’s gone to sleep, you just might do it… and then worm and crawl out as silently and without any human dignity left. We’ve all been there. It’s OK.
You will talk about pee and poop, and boobs, and penises and vaginas in great excess. And you will laugh about gas and farting and feel like you’re suffocating around it at the same time.
You will also discover that one human is capable of smelling so freaking fowl, and so incredibly delicious, within a very short period of time. I don’t know how they do it. Baby magic.
You will discover renewed strength and feel empowered to do anything.
You will also want to do nothing at all and hide under the covers, watching a marathon of Real Housewives.
You might feel like you’ve failed each day, only to get a glimmer of something so special from your little boy or girl that it makes your heart burst even more, giving you the energy to wake up and do it all again.
You will have renewed respect for your parents and realize, holy cow, they did this for my pain-in-the-tush self every day. You should hug them and give them a call.
You will realize that the days are insanely long, but it’s true: the years are short. They go quickly, and they are so fleeting.
You will realize if you are not more present in your own life you will miss the moments that really matter. You will try your best to put the phone down, to play games where silly hats go on your head. You will make forts, and play dress up, and have make-up drawn all over your face. It will be completely worth it.
You will scream and lose your temper and feel out of control.
You have to remind yourself that it’s OK to admit your need a break, to cry in the bathroom, and feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. Facebook might make you feel otherwise, but we are all learning as we go.
You also realize your stomach and body might never be the same, but it showcases something way more powerful: your body carried a human, either in its heart or in its belly.
And there is nothing more powerful.
You mama, you are everything.
That’s all you need to know.