Dear First Time Mom,
Motherhood is hard. Really hard.
Don’t look at your friends with more children and think that they must have it so much harder than you do. Yes, they have different challenges than you do, but they also have experience on their sides.
The first time you bring a baby home, you have no idea what you are doing. You may have taken a class to prepare. You probably read parenting magazines or blogs. Perhaps you experienced babysitting. All of that is helpful, but it is nothing compared to the experience of actually parenting your baby.
After one of Grace’s first doctor appointments, I asked the nurse, “So what do I do if I have any questions?”
“What kind of questions?”
“Umm… well… Questions about anything, I guess.”
What I was really asking was, who is going to tell me how to raise this baby??? It was insane to me to think that my husband and I were suddenly on our own to care for this little one.
Every little detail was researched. I sought out to make the best possible decisions each time.
I heard jokes about how relaxed parents get with their next babies. With the first baby, parents wash off the pacifier every time it falls on the ground. With the second baby, parents might pop the pacifier into their own mouths to clean it off before giving it back to the baby. With the third baby, that pacifier goes straight from the ground and back into the baby’s mouth.
Everyone seemed to agree that parents become more relaxed with each kid. It was something parents would almost laugh about, but I didn’t think it was funny.
Here I was trying my hardest to be the best parent I could be. Why would I possibly want to be less than the best the next time around? It was almost an insulting thought.
And then I had my second baby.
Mama, here is the thing that people aren’t telling you when they joke about becoming more relaxed…
Right now with your first baby you are clinging on to every piece of information you can find almost as a coping mechanism. But when that second baby comes along you are able to rely more on your instincts and less on what “the experts” say. Of course each child is different, but this isn’t completely unknown territory anymore.
As your first child hits new milestones, they are milestones for you as a parent as well. You will learn new things about how to be the best parent with each new experience, and you’ll carry that knowledge with you as your parent the rest of your children.
My first born is now 6 years old and only a couple months ago I was talking to a girlfriend about how hard these first born children still can be. Grace was struggling with something, and my husband and I didn’t know the best way to respond.
Our first born children will always be our experiment children.
My second baby was more relaxing. I was less uptight. I was able to go with my gut and trust myself more. And you will too.
So give yourself grace. Don’t feel guilty for being stressed out with “just” one child. Don’t feel pressure to get more done in your day than your friends with 2 or 3 children. Stop comparing your parenting chaos to someone else’s chaos.
It only takes one child to turn your life upside down and make your heart explode with love.
Motherhood is a challenge (and a blessing!) whether you have one child or ten children.
You can do this, mama.
If you are a mom to one, do you ever compare yourself to moms with more children? Moms with more than one child, do you agree that going with your instincts is a big part of what makes baby #2 easier?