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Motherhood: Advice from Everday Moms
Good Advice from those who've gone before
When I brought my son, my first-born, home from the hospital, I was scared to death. No matter how many siblings you have or how many babysitting jobs you've worked, nothing prepares you for that overwhelming feeling you get when you hold your first child. You are now responsible for this tiny life. Everything is different.
At one of my baby showers the mothers present filled out a small scrapbook. The book consisted of their best advice on how to be a good mother. Over the years, I have followed this advice and found that they were right. The mothers who gave me this advice are stay-at-home moms and working moms. Some had one child. Some had two, three, or four. One extremely wise lady had nine. She gave great advice. I went on to have four children myself. I am going to share with you the things I have learned and the advice that was the best for me.
"Enjoy every minute you have with your baby because time goes by so fast." This was so true. In the midst of night feedings and diaper changes, you think time stands still. Nothing could be farther from the truth. One day you wake up and they are going to school. They are potty-trained (which is totally awesome) and they are riding a bike. They learn to swim and do chores around the house and you wonder when it all happened. Life has a way of just sneaking up on you, so enjoy that precious time you have with them when they are little.
"Pray" This really helped me. If you don't believe in God or in prayer then this one might not be for you. But I relied on this one so much and still do. There were times when they would cry or misbehave and I had no clue what to do. I would pray and seek God's guidance. I would pray for my kids all the time. Sometimes God would give me the answer. Sometimes He would send someone into our lives with a different perspective. This was especially true of my third son, who was born with autism. Over the years I have learned that when in doubt, pray.
"At night when you nurse, leave the lights off. Also, don't play with the baby. This tells them that night is the time for sleep and not for play." This advice was given to me by a mom of nine. This is some of the best advice I was ever given. I was never good on no sleep so my main priority was to have my children sleep through the night. I nursed, so at night I would do as she suggested. I only turned on a small lamp, enough so I could see what I was doing. We would nurse and I would be extremely quiet. I wouldn't talk or play with my children. During the day, we would play after nursing and we would cuddle. I would talk to them and have a good time with them. This worked so well. My children learned that night was quiet, sleeping time and day was when you had fun. I will be forever grateful to this mom for her amazing advice.
"Don't let the baby sleep with you because it is a hard habit to break." This advice was also given to me by the mom of nine. I know there are many that disagree with this but with four kids myself, I listened. This advice went hand-in-hand with the above advice about nighttime routines. If my kids cried, I would go in and check on them but I didn't put them in our bed. My kids learned that they were safe in their own room because I would always come if they needed me. I also got a good night's rest which, as any mom will tell you, is the most important thing of all.
"If you decide to breastfeed, the first two weeks will be the hardest. Hang in there." This is true advice also. Each child is different and you are getting acquainted with each other that first two weeks. The more you relax, the easier it will go. I think babies can sense if we are stressed out. So don't worry, it will come with time.
"Ask for help." It's o.k. to ask for help. You don't have to do everything on your own. Being Super-mom is overrated. If someone wants to bring you dinner, let them. If someone comes over and says they will watch the baby so you can lie down, let them. If someone offers to help clean or do laundry but they don't do it as well as you, let them. If someone you trust offers to watch the baby or kids so you can have a night out with your spouse, don't think about it. Do it. If you are at church and you child is screaming through the service but your church has an excellent nursery, drop them off.
"When dropping off your child at a sitter or nursery, make it as quick as possible." I have heard this advice from so many moms. It is better to kiss your child goodbye and walk off as quickly as possible. Don't linger around the door or try to stay in the room with your child. Having your child be upset for a short amount of time is much better than their crying for an extended amount of time.
"Read." I enjoy reading. This is for those of you who share my passion for the written word. I have included parenting books in my article that I have found helpful. They include, "Bringing up Boys", "The New Dare to Discipline", "Have a New Kid by Friday", and the "What to Expect When you are Expecting" books. My first three children were boys so Dr. Dobson's "Bringing up Boys" was extremely pertinent to me. I am planning on reading "Bringing up Girls" by Dr. Dobson as well since my fourth child was a girl.
Let me end with saying that each child is different. What works for one child might not work for another. In fact, it keeps them guessing if you change it up from time to time. Being a good parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world but it is also very rewarding. I hope that the advice given to me will help you as well.