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Becoming a mom was one of the scariest yet exciting moments of my life. It was the ending of single-sleep-in-whenever-go-wherever-whenever-I-want life and the start of being a coffee-ran teacher/dictator. Of course, there’s much more to it but if I had to sum it up…
Being a parent is one of those things you can study and read and take as much advice as you can and never be truly ready. You’ll learn. Some will come with instinct. Others will come from hard old fashion lessons.
I’ve gotten strange looks from people because I didn’t do things the way they do it. Or because my kid prefers this over that. I’ve gotten some of the best advice and some of the not-so-great-it-didn’t-work-for-me advice. It’s still always nice to hear what other people have to say. My favorites are the old school ways that were used when my parents were growing up.
I have a lot of friends who are becoming first-time parents and I’m so excited for them. I want everyone to feel the love and joy of having kids. I do understand some people aren’t made to be parents. I used to think I wasn’t going to have kids, myself. Things change. And I’m thankful for the little guys I have.
So, I wanted to give my two cents in the long list of advice from mom to mom to new moms out there. Things I would have liked to hear or things that just make you feel better knowing you’re not the only one going through it. We are all in this together, mommies!
It gets harder before it gets any easier. I’ve only been a mom for a little over 3 years and a step mom for 5 years but I’ll tell you when you’re a first-time mommy, it’s overwhelming. You’re whole life flips and you’re not living for yourself anymore. It “gets easier” only in the sense of they get more independent. But it’s going to always be a challenge every new stage they grow into. So, enjoy forever learning your bean! I suggest if you’re still in your “selfish years”, DO NOT have a child. It’s bad enough there are so many unwanted children in the world.
Say goodbye to your disposable income. Some people luck out on the income part and some have to forfeit their once savings/shopping money to their diaper/wipes money. And diapers, wipes, and formula can be expensive especially when you don’t have the money after all your other bills. (We will get to budgeting later.)
No more peace and quiet. Before my husband and I merged homes, I was living alone in my studio apartment in the city. I had a cozy cute set up enough for me and my cat. I had a bike that I rode almost everywhere, a budget for at the time, small bills which included rent, water, gas, electric, phone, groceries, and savings. Life was sweet. I worked and I was finishing up college. After a rough day of work and all I wanted to do was come home and lay on my bed, I did it. No screaming. No crying (unless I was crying) and no loud thumping. Now? Not so much. For some reason, kids like to scream even if they aren’t hurt. And there’s always something falling or thumping. What are they doing in there?!? May I suggest picking up a wine habit if you have not already?
I’m joking…. or am I?
Best to put away all your valuables and breakables. Yeah, that kind of goes without really explaining. Kids are curious beings. They are going to touch things, drop them, break them. For the safety of them and the sanity of you, pack them up and put them away or at least out of reach.
You’re going to feel like the bad guy a lot. Do you have a hard time saying “no”? That’s going to change. I use to worry a lot about hurting anyone’s feelings. Not anymore. Why? Because if you don’t put your foot down, it’s only going to get a lot harder. And not telling your kids “no” and setting boundaries is going to set your kids up to be brats. And not those cute big head girl dolls, either. Better nip it in the bud while they are learning. I suggest by the understanding age of 1 1/2 and 2. Do it! Do it now!
Your style is going to change. Were you the most fashionable person everyone knew? Did people invite you to parties just to see what you will wear? Were you the trendsetter of the group? Yea, not much anymore. Not saying it will last. But the first year of your baby’s life, your outfits will consist of comfortable yoga pants, T-shirts, hand bands and whatever you wore yesterday. There’s just not enough time in a day! And you’re not going to have hours to spend in the bathroom applying makeup. Do you know how fast a kid can trash your house? Very, very fast.
Do NOT get a new pet when your baby is only a few weeks or months old. I mainly mean dogs. Especially puppies. They are basically kids themselves. If you’re still getting used to new mommy life, better not get a dog yet. I know you’ve probably seen those moms jogging with a baby in a stroller, dog on a leash in other hand and seem to have their life together. Truth is, she probably had that dog way before her baby got here. Which makes all the difference.
No more get up and go when you want. Remember when you were sitting at your place alone, bored and your friend calls and say “Hi! Green Day just annouced they are going on tour and there’s a chance to win free tickets at the game bar, wanna come???” “Heck yeah! That sounds like fun! Let me go grab my wallet and …oh yeah, find a sitter on short notice. Uh, maybe you should go without me?” Yeah…that’s your life for at least until they are in school, independent and want to hang with anyone but you.
You’re going to always be on “borrowed time”. When I first heard the saying “borrowed time” I wondered what exactly did that mean. Well, since I’ve become a parent, I’m always on borrowed time. Meaning, whenever I go to a store or any place I want to take my time at, I can’t. Because at any moment now, my child will cry, scream, need to be changed or be ready to be fed. (I breast feed exclusively) Which means I have to stop what I’m doing and tend to my baby. You can make the baby wait, though I wouldn’t suggest because the screams only get louder and you will be embarrassed. Trust me, even though people know babies cry and whatnot, it’s still embarrassing when your baby is crying in public. So, you will learn how to get things done fast! (which isn’t really a bad thing.)
You have to “forfeit” most of your things. When my son started eating solids and real food, that was big trouble for me. Why? Because that means whatever I eat, he wants or has to have some even if he has the same exact thing on his plate. But no, mommy’s food is better I guess. And if you’re attached to your phone, he’s going to want that, too. Monkey see monkey do. So be careful of what you do in front of the little one. Boy, they learn quick! (mostly the things you don’t want them to learn.) Beware!
You’re going to need a roomier car. You might get away with keeping that fiat with your fresh newborn but please believe me when I say, baby things are big and bulky. Which leads to having to upgrade your car. There’s a reason why mini vans are so popular with the soccer mom community.
Your love life will change…slightly. This one is a touchy one. With so many scenarios, it’s hard to pinpoint what would really happen because each situation is different. If you’re married or have a partner, things are going to change a little. But it’s up to you if they get better or worst. That’s where communication and making time for each other really matters. You’ll find yourself having to sneak around being frisky when the kids are away or sleeping instead of being spontaneous. It just makes the little time you do have together even more special.
Your house will be messier than ever! If you were already somewhat of a slob before kids, prepare to not even be able to move around in your living space. Yes, it does get that bad. Why? Babies have the most gadgets that tend to be big and bulky. You think you might not need it and can get by without it (and maybe you could) but it does make life so much easier with a swing that turns a full 360 or a bouncer that keeps them occupied while you attempt to clean. And with older kids, they tend to have “tunnel vision” and short attention spans. While you’ve just straightened up the living room, little Timmy wants to play with trucks. Oh, wait! There’s a crayon on the floor, let’s color on daddy’s work papers. Hold up! I’m hungry. Let’s eat a cookie but drop half of it on the floor and step on it so crumbs are mashed in the carpet. Yeah…your work is never done.
Yeah…your work is never done. I used to like to hide under the blankets until I felt like getting up and conquering the world again. Can’t do that anymore either unless I want my house to be caught on fire.
Everyone has an opinion. When the news that I was with child first got out to the world, everyone was excited but everyone also had some sort of advice or opinion. Even those who did not have any children of their own but felt that they had a better opinion than I would since they used to babysit or have a lot of little cousins, nieces, and nephews. It’s totally different when it’s your own. Trust me. You can keep someone else’s kid all day long, but if that kid isn’t living with you full time and you’re not responsible for its well-being, it’s a little different. How? You can’t give these kids back to their parents when they are yours. You have to make arrangements to get a break.
Some people have really great advice! Some people will come across as judging as if your parenting skills lack in some areas. It’s ok. It’s your child. You’re the boss. It doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say. Last time you checked, were they supplying your child the proper care and necessities they need? I didn’t think so. Moving on!
Strangers love babies. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like random people talking to you or getting in your personal space, maybe rethink going to crowded public places with your baby. They will come. They will want to see your baby. They will talk to you. They might even try to touch your baby’s foot. Best thing to do is not be a jerk and just smile. It’ll be all over before you know it.
Grandparents will either be your life saver or worst enemy. I’ve seen some grandparents that would spoil their grandbabies rotten. Even if that means going against the parent’s wishes. On a flip side, I’ve seen some grandparents who felt that they are your kids and they didn’t have any fun making them, so they aren’t going to make things easier for you. It’s not completely black and white, there is a gray area but overall, I think it’s a blessing to have grandparents period.
Holidays will mean something completely different. Before, holidays meant going over to your family’s houses to eat and relax and maybe get a few gifts. (Depending on what holiday). Now, it’s all about the kids! Christmas? You’re going out of your way to get them all these big presents that they are only going to play with a few times and forget they had it until a friend comes over and wants to play. It sounds chaotic but once you see their excited little faces open their gifts, you forget about all the debt you got into trying to give them this stuff or how you wanted to teach them to be grateful and that the holidays are about giving not getting. Oh, well. Maybe we will try Easter.
Even though it sounds bad, you’re going to love it at the end of the day. It may sound like I’m complaining a lot about my babies, but truth is, I enjoy every moment of it. From the spitting up in my mouth (yes, in my mouth), to head butting me, to late nights and early morning, to being asked the same questions over and over, it’s exhausting but rewarding. When my little guys hug me with their little hands or say “I love you” or kiss me, it’s the best feeling in the world. I love kissing those soft baby cheeks and changing those tiny diapers. I love reading stories and folding their little clothes. These moments go by incredibly quick and just when you’re getting used to this stage of their life, they are now approaching a new one.
So, hold them while you can. Those hassles will turn into memories of when they depended on you. Remember that baby smell. And don’t be lazy. Get out and about with your kids. Let them explore the world. It’s old to you but exciting to them.
Until next time. Love with all your heart.