What is the best advice I could give to other moms?
I was thinking about what I was like prior to becoming a mom. And what I would say to her if I could go back to life pre babies.
First I would tell her to take one more year and do a bit more travel because her life is about to forever change. I became a mom in my early 20’s and I am so thankful I did but I do wish I had just a bit more time to travel with my husband when my money was more disposable and there is such a great big world to see. I would want her to enjoy that selfish stage just a bit longer because life as you know it is forever changed in ways you cannot even begin to fathom.
When a first child is born so is a mother. Things that once were so important are the least of your worries now. Life becomes about this tiny little person who is completely reliant on you and YOU WOULDN’T WANT IT ANY OTHER WAY.
I would say soak up that first baby when it’s just you and them. There is something so special about the first one. I love my big family but looking back it was so easy with just one. You never get that again and wow it’s just such precious time. I got pregnant again when I was 8 months and it’s hard to remember what those days were like. So soak it up. Sleep when the baby sleeps actually. It can be done with one but not once you have a toddler to care for to!
Trust your instincts. God has given you those children for a reason. Lean into Him and you will know what is best. You don’t need to do what your mom did or your mother-in-law or your best friend. Sleeping with you or sleeping in a crib in their own room. What feels right? Breast or bottle? What feels right?
Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t breastfeed. Yes, it comes super easy to many women but not for all. I did great the first few months and then my supply tanked with every baby around the 3-4 month mark when my menstrual cycle returned. I felt so much guilt with Lilia. Less with Mariss and absolutely none with Izaiah. I took supplements and pumped to go as long as I could but I gave it up with ease plus a few tears because it will be my last time.
Don’t buy all the expensive gear. A baby needs very little. Milk, a car seat (not even that if you live in Nicaragua) diapers, and a place to sleep. Don’t stress about having absolutely everything and if the expense is an issue then please buy used! Baby stuff is used for very little time and you can often find things in excellent condition at a fraction of the original cost.
Get out of the house. Even if it’s just a drive to the coffee shop. Or a walk around the block. Don’t become isolated, sometimes it’s hard with a baby but I found so often a change of scenery was just what me and baby needed.
Park close to the shopping cart corral at the grocery store. Don’t park in those maternity and baby spots near the front. They are not helpful at all! Park right by the carts where you can easily transfer the car seat from car to cart and if you have other kids its so much easier to contain everyone for a safe walk into the store if you have your cart right away and not once you get in the store. Same for the way out. Load up your babies and then load up your groceries and simply leave the cart right there.
Go on date nights. Friends this is still something I struggle with I don’t like to leave my kids and the oldest is 10! But your marriage will be better for it!
Accept help. If someone wants to bring a meal or pick up groceries or come fold your laundry, let them.
Take as many photos as you can.
Write down all the memories. I even wrote letters to my kids. Childhood goes so quickly. You want to remember how tiny their toes were or how you felt nursing them.
Find a community. They might not last forever but other moms who have kids around the same age are so vital. Do life together. Have playdates. Babysit for each other. Build your village.
Pray for your babies often. They need your prayers and dare I say nothing is more important that a heartfelt prayer from a mama.
“It won’t be like this for long” sing Darius Rucker’s song on repeat to yourself. Whether its the sleepless nights, the nasty diapers, the hurting nipples, the toddler tantrums, the sibling bickering. It’s all a fleeting stage and you will move on to the next without even realizing it and be longing for what was.