I am a first-time mom to an energetic toddler. As you can imagine I have made plenty of mistakes. I compiled just a few I would like to share in case it helps you to avoid experiencing them:
I purchased every possible baby gadget you can imagine before I had the baby:
Fun fact I logically knew, but didn’t understand until my daughter was born: babies are not mobile until about 6 months. Get the basics and then buy what you need when you need it. Limited clutter will help you feel sane in those first few months and with Amazon, your baby must-haves are just a day or two away. When it comes to the registry, keep it simple or add gift cards to purchase what you need along the way.
I stressed over the boob
Sure, I know there are benefits to breastfeeding and when my daughter was unable to latch, I literally would lie awake at night telling myself I was a failure. I agonized over exclusively pumping for my daughter’s first year of life. Do you know what happened to my daughter when my supply diminished, and I had to switch to formula? Nothing… not one negative side effect. In fact, I felt human again and she picked up on that and became a happier baby.
I did not invest in a spill-proof travel cup for my iced coffee:
The juggle is real my friends. Do you know how many trips it takes to load a baby in a car seat, your laptop, your pumping bag, your diaper bag, your lunch, your gym bag, your coffee, your baby’s milk, and yourself into a vehicle all alone? It takes roughly one million trips. Since my husband always left for work before me, I had to get it down to a science. I would pack everything up the night before, load as much as I could in the evening, and as much of the perishable items as I could early that morning before Claire woke up. Then the last few items all came with us on the final trip to the car. Inevitably, there were days when things don’t go as planned and I would try to carry too much at once. In doing so spills happened regularly and I delivered my baby to daycare with iced coffee stains on her outfit more times than I would like to admit.
I didn’t learn about pumping during my breastfeeding research:
I took the breastfeeding classes from the hospital where they taught me to believe that if a doctor recommends formula they shouldn’t be my doctor. A month later when my baby was born and wouldn’t latch, she began losing weight too rapidly to be allowed to go home and the doctor insisted formula was the only option. I had to be the one to ask for the breast pump. I had to learn the ins and outs of pumping on the fly. Get familiar in advance of having a baby and save yourself the headache.
I only packed extra clothes for the baby, not the rest of us:
Kids are messy we know this. It is common knowledge that when you take your child somewhere you pack extra clothes for them. I was never made aware of the fact that my husband and I would also need extra clothes wherever we went. On our way home from an amazing vacation, my daughter got motion sick all over my husband during the last 5 minutes of our flight. She covered him literally head to toe. Only by chance did my husband have a bathing suit and tank top in his carry on. The airline lost our baggage. He had to navigate the airport, customs, dealing with lost bags, and catching the Uber in DECEMBER, in a bathing suit and flip flops. Now I carry extra clothes for all of us just in case.
I did not ask my husband for help as often as I needed it:
This one is simple. I just didn’t ask when I really needed help. I also sometimes turned down help that was offered to me because I felt bad accepting it. Ladies when someone offers to help LET THEM.
I took unsolicited advice:
Isn’t it funny how the moment you announce your pregnancy you receive advice from everyone in your entire life? I kid you not, I have even been told how my daughter’s hair should look when in public from an acquaintance who has exactly ZERO children. The pressure of everyone’s expectations can consume you. Ask for advice from people you respect. Take that insight and apply what works for you. Tune out the rest if you can and you will feel so much happier.
I forgot I was my own person for a full year:
I did everything I could for my family during my first year as a mother and I forgot my own interests. I learned later you can pivot and find new ways to pursue your hobbies. I LOVE to read, but felt guilty sitting down with a book instead of a million other things that would make me feel more productive. I began listening to audiobooks while cleaning and funny enough, it became a therapeutic escape. Learn to work-in things for you again, even if you must multi-task. Eventually you can get back to spending more time on yourself. Happy mom = happy baby (and family.)
My worst mistake of all was expecting that I should never make a mistake:
With all the preparation I did I was certain I would never spill the milk, or forget something important for the diaper bag. I thought that I would have all the answers before I ever needed them. Ladies, as a write this I am grinning because I was a fool. Of course, I made mistakes and I will make a million more. I love my daughter more than life itself, but I am human. More important than perfection is showing my daughter that it is not about how you messed up, but how you handle yourself after it happens. Of course, I aim to be the best version of myself for her, but even if I learned about every rookie mom mistake that ever occurred I am still going to experience them from time to time.
My friend, when you feel down because of a rookie mistake just know you are not alone. A million mamas are making mistakes at this very moment. The beauty in this is that our tiny humans love us just the way we are, imperfections and all.