My oldest is now two-and-a-half years old, and while I had a smooth sailing pregnancy, labor, and delivery with her, I headed into the unknown once we brought her home. I wouldn’t say that I was one of those first time parents who rushed to the doctor for every little thing or called up my mom (or any mom friend for that matter) for advice. I allowed myself to be who I needed to be for my daughter, I did my best to listen to my gut – and that was my truest guidance. Though I still felt a vast amount of vulnerability for the entire first year of her life, and it was hard to grasp the kind of change that transitioning into motherhood brings out in each of us.
Here are 4 things I found problematic as a first-time mom – and why I’ll never do them as a second-time mom.
Worrying about the “next phase”: I can’t tell you how much time I actually wasted wondering when my daughter would be able to meet the next milestone. Her entire first year of life was filled with me secretly comparing her milestones to all of my other mom friends' kids who were of similar age to my daughter. As a first time parent, I think it’s natural to have a heightened sense of concern about these things. All in all, you just want to be sure that your child is developmentally on track, but here’s the thing – worrying about it too much can be damaging to your mental health. Realizing that it takes all kinds of people to make the world go round, and that we are not all the same, are my simple reminders. It’s a lot easier as a second-time mom to accept my child for who she will be, and I will cherish these milestones whenever they happen.
I won’t give up so quickly when things aren’t going right: I remember being so adamant about cloth diapering my first daughter when I was pregnant with her. I had done all the research I could to determine which type would likely be best. I didn’t have much personal support from family in this area, and I also wasn’t aware of online mom support groups to help inform me about things like this. So when she joined our family, I had given up cloth diapering because she would leak out of every single diaper. I couldn’t be bothered to face the real issue here – that I gave up on something I was once so passionate about, all because it didn’t work out like I promised myself (and everyone else) it would. Now, as a second-time mom, I am a part of cloth diapering groups, I've tested out different brands of cloth diapers on my oldest to find what works best, and I know real life moms who cloth diaper. These help reinforce why I initially wanted to do this – and why I WILL be cloth diapering from here on with my second daughter when she arrives.
Get offended when offered unsolicited advice: We all know this one as parents, regardless of how many kids we have. Everyone seems to want to have their say when it comes to all the best and worst parenting advice. How you get your baby to sleep, where your baby sleeps, what they eat, what they wear, how you raise them – in every aspect, people feel entitled to give their advice when you never asked them to. It can be so painfully annoying to have to hear or read those comments! I used to respond with anger, when instead I should have been more considerate of their feelings and personal experiences. Behind them sharing their side, they most likely are sharing these opinions with you because they care. Although I wish some people had better filters, I feel a lot more confident in my decisions to take those comments with a grain of salt and throw them over my shoulder when I don’t need them. My heart and listening ears are more open this time, so when something may not be working, it’s nice to consider what that last person told me – just in case it might work.
Spend frivolously on things I won’t use for my baby: This one is hard, I'll admit. I’m all about minimalism – keeping around only what I use and love on a regular basis, but baby clothing and items are trying in this area. It was difficult to tell what I would really use or wouldn’t use when becoming a first-time mom because I had never done it before! You check with other moms, family, reviews online for the best of the best products out there, and all of that has your head spinning. Of course, I ended up with way more than I ever actually used from my baby showers. My daughter had more newborn and 3-6 month clothing than she ever ended up getting the chance to wear before growing out of it. I actually laugh to think of all the things I never needed, but ended up with. Now, I’ve thrifted most big ticket items, like the changing table, nursery chair, baby swing, and even a lot of baby clothes. I’m surprisingly (but not so surprisingly) happier with how everything has come together in preparing for baby number two.
What are some things that you did with your first child, but didn't do with your second? Feel free to share with us in the comments!
Photo credits: Heather Nicholson