When I first found out I was pregnant, I honestly panicked for a quick minute. I felt this instant pressure to be the most perfect mom who should know every tip and trick about raising a baby. I collected the parenting guidebooks, some I read while others are still sitting on my nightstand. Now don't get me wrong, some of those books are total game changers, but I swear the best advice came from other mothers. Inspired by Cup of Jo's post, I reached out to my fellow mom tribe who I admire and respect in so many different ways asking for advice they would share with a new mama.
"Trust your gut. If something is working for you, do it, regardless of what’s ‘popular’. From the moment you found out you were becoming a mom is the moment that you had the knowledge and strength within to know what is right for you and your baby. Nothing relatives, friends, or strangers on the internet can replace your motherly judgement for your baby. Also, it’s okay if everyday isn’t rainbow and butterflies. You aren’t less of a mother or love your child any less if you didn’t enjoy that day with them. Some days are just hard. Breathe, sleep, and try again tomorrow. There’s always tomorrow." - Ashley J
"The one piece that I've said to anyone with babies newer than mine is: Be open and honest with yourself and your friends about how you're feeling. Being a new mom is hard. You're mentally and physically exhausted and in my first month postpartum I was shocked at how difficult it was for me to adjust to our new lifestyle. Speak candidly and don't sugar coat yourself because you feel like that's what you're supposed to do. I can't tell you how many Mama's at this point have said 'oh my gosh thank you for being so honest. I thought it was just me.'" - Michelle W.
"The best advice I have is to take all the advice you receive with a grain of salt, but don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There is no perfect way to raise a kiddo & mistakes/accidents are guaranteed to happen. Just do your best to learn from them."
- Stephanie M.
"My advice for a new mom is to go into motherhood without expectations. Which I know is harder to say then do. You may breastfeed or you may not. You may sleep train or you may co-sleep. You may be against screen time or you may be watching Daniel tiger on the daily. We can push our expectations on how we view other moms. Remind yourself to each their own and what works best for other families may not work for yours. We all need a little grace for one another because it truly takes a village. But you’ll find you need to give yourself the most grace. There’s no such thing as the perfect mom." - Rebekah R.
"Breastfeeding is REALLY HARD! So don't give up! Be patient with yourself and with your babe." - Shannon P.
"There is a long list of things I would tell a new mother. Some simple, like making time for yourself daily. Even if it is only 5 to 10 minutes of alone time as you wash your face at night or sitting in silence on the porch before going to bed with a glass of wine or maybe a hot cup of coffee alone in the morning before the kids wake up. These moments of solitude are precious and vital for your peace of mind. There are a few bigger things I think are crucial for new moms. Such as having your own "thing" whatever your "thing" is. Was there something you loved doing before you became a mama? What was it? Make time to do one thing that is entirely yours. Not something you take the baby to, not something you do with your partner. Make time for something you do that you love and that makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Maybe it is the gym, or perhaps it is pottery, it could be MMA or gardening, or maybe you enjoy spinning fire poi! You do you, sister. Honor who you were and what you loved before baby. I know not everyone has the money or the support while raising a baby to be able to have this time to themselves, when I became a mom I was 18, and a year after my daughter was born I became a single mama. It was hard, but the hardest thing for me was making excuses as to why I couldn't do the things I loved to do before my daughter. I allowed my pre-baby identity to slip away from me. You can make time, even if it is only 20 minutes once a week. I promise you; you are worth it.
All of the above is important, but the one thing I think new moms need to know is this, you are your only hope. You are your own referee; you are your own coach, you are the one that calls the fight when you have had all you can take. No one will know when you are at your breaking point, not your partner, not your mother, not your friends, and definitely not your new baby. It is not on them to know when you are struggling. You have to be the one to wave your white flag and ask for help. The work is hard. It can be too much for just you alone. You are not a failure if you need a break, and you will need a break, many, many breaks. Find your support system, whether it is one person or an entire army. Make sure you can be vulnerable with them, and trust them to be there for you when you tap out. You want to be the best mama you can be; then you have to make sure that you are the best YOU that you can be. Love yourself and show yourself an immense amount of grace. You got this."
"Follow your gut and do what you need to do in order to take care of yourself and the baby.
No matter how overwhelmed you feel or tired make time for your spouse. He misses you."
- Hannah A.
"Mom guilt is real. As a working mom: some days will be harder than others, leaving that little face behind but I promise you won’t miss a single moment of their lives. Stop taking unsolicited advice from others and find the balance that works for YOUR FAMILY."
- Annmarie G.
"The thing I’ve found the most peace in as a new mom, and something I would have wanted to know before is that you’re never alone. You’re always going to hear about moms who can get their kid to eat anything or sleep at the drop of a hat, but there will also be people who are going through your exact same struggle with you. Don’t feel alone. Find a group of people that you trust and reach out to them even if it’s just to vent and not to get advice. When it comes down to it, you know what’s best for not just your baby but for your family! Trust your gut and don’t let others make you feel guilty for doing things differently. Above all else, this job isn’t easy and you’re freakin amazing!" - Gabi M. from Oh Boy, Mama "So much to say but for those first few weeks with a newborn, take advantage of all the help you get! When I first got home with Clark, I didn’t even want to shower or anything. Even if he was sound asleep. I would just hold him. My mom would force me to get ready for the day while she was helping out and I’m so glad she did! It helped a lot with my postpartum depression too. So try to get yourself ready for the day, everyday. It will help in those early weeks and it will help establish a good morning routine!" - Chelsea H.
"Dear mama, welcome to the best and hardest years of your life. I don’t know your journey to motherhood; if it was something that was planned or if it was something you have spent years and many tears praying for, but no matter how you have come into this season, praise God. I am a mama to a sweet girl that now lives in heaven, an almost 2 year old boy, and another little boy that will be joining us in the next few weeks, and if motherhood has taught me anything it is how little control I actually have.
As a mom, we want to do and be our best for our family. We want to protect them from all the bad foods, from the accidents that could happen and want them to have the world, but we are limited in power and knowledge and at the end of the day, can only do our best. I am not a perfect mom, that woman doesn’t exist, but I love my children fiercely and at the end of the day all we can do is love and give our best. Sometimes our best looks like a day of fun activities, baking cookies, cuddles and kisses, and other days it looks like a bowl of fishy crackers and their favorite t.v. show while you sit in the bathroom eating a cookie and crying about how frustrated you are. Your kids will not care if you didn’t make the perfectly balanced meal every night, if the dishes were always clean, or if you had perfectly highlighted hair every 6 weeks. They will remember you playing with them, they will remember making messes and cleaning them up together, and they will remember that their mom was present and saw them.
Don’t forget to put your phone down, let the dishes wait sometimes, and let them make a mess. You have a special intuition that will tell you what they need, God has given mothers the most intuitive spirits to know and choose what and when our kid needs something and when they don’t. Your child is unique and has their own quirks- don’t get too caught up in what other mothers are doing to forget and trust your gut." - Dani B.
I hope you find comfort in knowing that you are not in this alone. You are supported, loved, and a true mama warrior.
Dani + a Tribe of Beautiful Mothers