Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mothering Advice

Owlhaven asked: “What advice or information do you wish you had received to prepare you for motherhood? Or, on the contrary, what advice do you think women soon to become mothers should not be given?”

The best advice I can give is to practice patience. As a new mother, nothing comes as quickly as you expect it to. Breastfeeding is worth it, but it's a lot of effort in the beginning. Your body will take a while to go back to its prepregnancy shape. Have patience. Everything will work out.

Plan to spend the first month doing little more than feeding the baby, changing the baby, feeding yourself, and sleeping. Everything else - laundry, cleaning, reorganizing the attic - can and will wait. Be patient with yourself. If you plan on a "free" month, anything you do get accomplished during that time will be a great bonus! Let go of your to-do lists.

Take time to marvel in your baby's smallness. They are tiny and dependent for such a short time - I wish I had spent more time holding my son when he was tiny. At 15 months he doesn't much want to cuddle with momma anymore.

And finally, listen to advice, but listen to yourself more. Tons of people will be willing to tell you what to do and how to do it; some people (family members especially) may have very strong opinions on the "correct" way to raise a child.

Tip: there is no one correct way to raise a child.

Follow your heart. If your mother insists that you should let your 4-week-old infant "cry it out," but you don't agree, thank her for her advice and continue doing whatever works for you. No baby has ever turned out wrong from attention and love.

Believe in yourself; you can do this! And when that 3 am waking is driving you up a wall, hold your baby and pray. It helped me to have a "memorized" prayer to rely on in the middle of the night - like the Lord's prayer. That way I didn't have to get all creative. But it doesn't really matter HOW you reach out to God, just do it. God will not give you a greater burden than you can carry.


smartmama said...

Couldn't have said it better- I have always been impressed by this quote from Mother Teresa—because it totally describes motherhood- “We must not drift away from humble works, because these are the works nobody will do. It is never too small. We are so small we look at things in a small way. But God almighty sees everything great. Therefore if you just go and sit and listen,- go visit somebody, or bring somebody a flower- small things, wash clothes for somebody, or clean the house, very humble work .that is where you and I must be. For there are many people who can do big things. But there are very few who will do the small things.”

beth said...

Excellent, excellent advice. I was very hard on myself those first few weeks and I wish someone had prepared me a bit more to be more forgiving of myself. This post reminded me so much of that first month. It really was just about eating and sleeping, getting through it and appreciating it. Mmmm...

Love the new blog look! Great header.

owlhaven said...

great post! And how did I miss you are pregnant? Congrats!


Judy said...

Excellent post.


Jess said...

This sounds like great advice, not only for being a mom but for living life at any time: listen to yourself, try to appreciate the moment, have patience with yourself, don't listen to people who insist that their way is the only correct way...