I don’t know about you, but on more than one occasion I have wished to have all of the knowledge from my mom just ZAPPED into my brain.
Anytime I EVER have a question about my kids, she has an answer! Even if it is the most random thing you can think of.
Experienced moms with older children have ALL been in the same shoes as a new mom. They have seen. it. all.
I am always astounded by what knowledge experienced moms have, and I am always looking to them for answers to my tough baby and toddler questions.
And I figured that I wasn’t the only one!
So I decided to ask some of the best moms I know. (But I know A LOT of fantastic moms, so unfortunately I couldn’t ask EVERY one.)
I specifically asked them, “what do you wish you knew back when you had newborns and toddlers?”
I got so many varying and fantastic responses that I’m excited to share!
From my own grandmother:
“Being an RN and having worked in a newborn nursery, I thought babies were an 8 hour job and that they slept. I wished I had known they were 24 hour job and I wouldn’t sleep.”
-Karen, 72, mom of 6
My grandma totally made me laugh with this. I grew up babysitting for other families a lot and I’m the oldest of 6 kids, so I was frequently caring for other children. I remember babysitting for 3 hours and for only two of those three hours the kids were actually awake and I would still think, “gosh, watching kids is so hard! I’m so tired!”
Oh, somedays I long for the time when I was only borrowing the kids in my care haha.
I am also fortunate enough to still have my great-grandmother around to offer wisdom:
“I wished I knew that there were different formulas because my girls [twins] obviously didn’t like the one they were on.”
-Pansy, 95, mom of 2
How often does that happen to us as moms? We don’t realize that we can make changes even if someone else said that “this is the right way!”
We are the MOTHERS to OUR children. No one else is! Only YOU truly know what will end up being best. Trust that mom gut!
“As a new mom I would be careful to not compare yourself or your baby to others. All of us are so different. Babies develop so differently and comparing does nothing for you as a mother but add unneeded stress. So trust yourself and if you have a question go to an expert. I became best friends with the nurses at my pediatrician’s office. If I wasn’t sure about a health or developmental issue I would call and ask her to call me back. I always felt better after getting my concerns addressed because they knew my child. Also remember who you were before baby and nurture yourself like you do your baby because no one else will. Last thing you want is years later to say ‘what happened to me!'”
-Tara, 40, mom to 4
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! It is too easy to compare. Especially with social media these days! More often than not, the perfect and brilliant moments of children are shared, and not the ones that show the struggles.
I know that I, personally, try so hard to be real. I always pray that whatever I share won’t make another mom feel like a “bad” mom. Because let’s be honest: when we never give up, we are GOOD moms!
Another one of many experienced moms shared this with me:
“I wish I understood what people meant when they said take ‘me time.’ As a new, and honestly a very young, mom I wanted to do everything so perfectly. For whatever reason, I felt I owed my daughter everything. I gave her all I had, financially and physically. I wanted desperately to be the best mother, wife, friend …. you know that list goes on, and I found myself giving everything to her and to everyone else, and it got to the point that I didn’t have much else to give. I found myself depressed, and I was running faster than I was able and therefore not allowing time for me.
“I cared what others thought and took their advice above my own intuition. As I got older, I started to believe more in myself, replenishing my own cup (that transition was hard). I felt like I didn’t even know who I was; what were my own interests, hobbies? Who were my friends? I always thought having time for myself was selfish and not my season, but I became empty, and to be honest, it’s still hard 20 years later for me to not feel guilty. Working out by myself or to just sitting down and even writing this during my youngest’s swim lessons I feel like I should be watching her and taking pictures ‘like a good mommy.’
“But who really knows what a good mommy is anyway? All I know is that I have found that when I take a few minutes each day for myself, (even if it’s closing the door to the bathroom and going without someone on my lap or playing at my feet) my cup is full and I am more patient. I enjoy the little moments, laugh a LOT, and can find the joy in each season of my little ones’ lives. No one tells you how fast it goes–it truly flies by.
Tips I wish I knew from baby to toddler stage:
Take ‘me time’
Others only offer their advice –it doesn’t always work for you or your toddler
There is no such thing as a ‘perfect mom’
Enjoy the moments
Laugh a lot
Follow your gut, you are your child’s best advocate
Guilt paralyzes you”
-Shawna, 37, mom of 5
Shawna seriously spoke to me with this. How often do we as moms get caught up in what others think about us and our parenting? I know that I do all the time. My son is aggressive and has some different issues that we are working through (see this post to learn more about my journey) and I am convinced that every person that I am around thinks that I am a “bad mom.”
Only YOU know what you and your child are dealing with! Only I know what my son struggles with. We are all doing the best that we can, so let’s do our best not to judge or to care what others think. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
“The best tip I could give concerns the Top 3 times of the day that your children need your touch, love, and attention.
1. When they wake up in the morning. Greet them with a hug and a smile (they NEED touch) and be EXCITED to see them!
2. When they return from school, or when they wake up from naps if you have littles. Hug (remember touch is so so important) them, be interested in their day, spend TIME listening.
3. When they go to bed. I have found this is when my kids REALLY talk and open up about their day. Remember to hug (TOUCH!!!!) and listen!
Doing these three things has made a HUGE difference in the overall feeling and happiness in our home! Our kids need our touch, our listening ears, and our time! “
-Laura, 38, mom of 7
It is so easy to think of how “touched out” we can get as moms that we forget how badly our kids NEED that touch.
“Choose your battles….if you fight them all you will be too tired to win the important ones.”
-Tiffany, 40, mom of 5
This is seriously my mantra with my 3 year old boy. I have learned that some things are way more important than others, and at this point in my life, it is usually the safety battles–safety of him or those around him–that matter most.
“The baby through toddler years are kind of a blur to me now. You wonder how you will survive and then all of a sudden they are on to the next stage. I do wish I was better at helping them to set a sleep routine. I have seen others set a routine that helps the child and mom get a much better quality of sleep.
“One thing that I think worked to help with frustrating times was distraction. When the child is frustrated the mom gets frustrated and the other way around as well. At those times it helps to change what’s going on. Go for a walk. Sing a song. Play a game. It’s hard to not be consumed with the frustration but distracting the child from whatever is bothering them can help to work out the situation and turn into a rewarding experience.”
-Linda, 55, mom of 5
I’ve noticed that distraction works well for moms too! Often just what I need is to get outside and walk too, so those things are helpful all the way around.
But one of my favorite quotes was actually said to me by my grandma just in passing almost a year ago:
“Parents like to take the credit for the good things that their kids do before age 3. Parents also like to take the blame for the bad things that their kids do before age 3. In reality though, they should do neither.”
My grandma is one of the smartest people I know, and she was helping me to understand my son’s behaviors. She explained that a lot of the time the consistent discipline that parents use with their kids doesn’t usually “kick in” until around age 3.
So basically we are supposed to just hang on tight and do the best that we can, and it will all be ok.
It comes down to the love that we have for our kids, and if we have that, we will be alright, and our kids will be too.
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