As I unpack onesies and organize chew toys in preparation for my next baby, I’m having flashbacks to my first time raising a newborn. Embarrassing flashbacks. Given what I now know about babies and kids, I can’t believe I made so many first time mom mistakes. I’m sure I’ll screw up in new ways this time, especially when it comes to parenting siblings, but here are a few no-brainers I’m hoping to avoid:
1. Crying When The Baby Cries – With my firstborn, the combination of hormones and sheer panic had me constantly crying in sympathy with my baby. Her wails would set off this terrible chain reaction, and soon we’d both be sobbing – a state of affairs that did nothing to calm her, and probably made her feel like the sky was falling. This time, I promise to remember my mantra: “Babies cry.”
2. Not Pushing a Pacifier – When my infant spit out her first binkie, I assumed that pacifiers were just not for her. I silently applauded myself for avoiding years of pacifier withdrawal and dental problems that I’d seen friends endure when their kids had trouble transitioning later. My reward? A baby who could only soothe herself by sucking on my nipple. ‘Til it bled. This time, mark my words, my baby will embrace the binkie.
3. Being Territorial – I had trouble sharing my newborn. After carrying her in my body for nine months, it felt weird to just hand her off to someone else. As a result, I got very little rest and probably irked my friends and family. Now I know that it takes a village, and mommy maintains special status with baby no matter who’s holding her. I’m ready to share the love.
4. Assuming I’m Doing it All Wrong – As a first time mom, I was very hard on myself. I couldn’t understand why my baby screamed in the car, wouldn’t get on a schedule, and only napped in the swing. Now I know that most moms go through the same crazy stuff, and the kids all turn out fine. I’m going to breathe in, breathe out and cut myself some slack.
5. Not Accepting Help – Before I gave birth, my parents generously offered to pay for two weeks of a night nurse to ease my recovery after delivering. I declined. Much like a toddler, I wanted to do everything myself! The martyr act bit me in the ass when my baby didn’t sleep for the next seven months. This time, I’ll take any help I can get.
6. Relying Too Much on Experts – Man, the money I wasted on books about baby sleep, baby behavior and baby feeding. None of them helped nearly as much as just chatting with mommy friends, or actually trusting in myself. There’s a reason they call it mother’s intuition—we all have it, so we might as well use it!
7. Panicking Over Milestones – My daughter was the last baby to roll over in her mommy & me class. Three years later, she’s an unusually coordinated gymnast and dancer whom I can barely beat in a race. Knowing what I know now, it was silly to waste so much energy worrying about when she would roll, crawl, walk and so on. All in good time, my little pretty. All in good time.
8. Trying to Savor Every Moment – I drank that terrible Kool-aid and truly believed that if I didn’t treasure every second with my baby, the moments would vanish forever and I’d be full of regret! That’s too much pressure on any mom. It’s okay not to enjoy diaper blowouts, colicky crying and bone deep exhaustion. It’s okay to complain. I am glad that I took a zillion pictures though; that’s one rookie behavior that definitely wasn’t a mistake.