When I was a young, 26-year-old first time mom, I won’t say I thought I knew it all, but I did think that I was moderately prepared for motherhood. However soon after the birth of my child I was clamoring for a “how to” book on motherhood that make things seem well…not so scary. I found it, by the way, in the delightfully just-the-facts book, Baby 411.)
But even with all the how-to books in the world, I still made some mistakes as a first time mom that were less of the procedural variety and more of the “I’m making life impossible for myself” kind. Since I’m a giver, I’m going to pass along to you the five mistakes I made as a first time mom but I was sure to try and avoid the second time around and in my case the third.
5 First Time Mom Mistakes to Avoid
1. Putting My Child Before My Marriage
I know this seems odd. I mean after all, your newborn is totally defenseless and can’t do anything for himself and your husband is fully capable of dressing himself and making a meal. But I am not talking about cooking for him and cleaning up after him. I’m talking about being so obsessed with your beautiful child that you forget about the importance of the relationship that created him. It’s easy to do, but try not to let it happen: The BEST thing you can do for your child is love your spouse and prioritize your marriage.
2. Freaking Out About Milestones
When I was a first time mom, I took my baby boy to my family doctor rather than a pediatrician, which would have been fine except my doctor had a baby boy THE DAY BEFORE I DID. I guess her kid was super advanced because she had me really stressed out about milestones because my son didn’t reach them as fast as hers did. I eventually switched him to a pediatrician who assured me he was just fine (and he still is, at 13). If I could go back, I would not have spent so many hours on the floor with him trying to get him to ROLL OVER FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY. I’d tell myself that all kids develop differently and to COOL OUT.
3. Letting Myself Be Isolated
My first baby was born at the end of winter, and it took me a little while to be comfortable getting out and about (I did have a C-section which complicates things). More often than not the effort to get the little one bundled up and out the door just seemed like TOO MUCH, and I holed up at home. Looking back, I can see how that contributed to the feelings of isolation that new moms often get waylaid by. So I was more intentional about playdates after I had baby #2.
4. BUYING ALL THE THINGS
As a first time mom, I thought my baby needed NEW everything. Looking back, I see that some gently used things and less things in general would have met his little needs JUST fine. My subsequent kids definitely had more “used” stuff.
5. Not Letting My Husband Do Enough for the Baby
I was more than happy to let my husband change diapers, but when it came to the baby’s routine, I was less flexible than I should have been. I believed that my way was not just the BEST, but the ONLY way. It took awhile for me to see that my husband was just as intuitive a parent as I was and that his ways weren’t wrong, just different. I know I made him feel “less than” sometimes by not being open to his parenting plans, and it was something I changed with our other kids.
Being a first time mom is totally overwhelming and wonderful, and I don’t think I screwed it up TOO badly, but I am so glad I was given the chance to learn from my mistakes, too. What advice would you give to a first time mom?