How to: Raise a baby when you still feel like a baby yourself

This is something a lot of moms feel, regardless of how old they actually are. When we find out we are going to be a mom for the very first time, we think about things like:

  • I don’t feel like I have my life together, how will I be able to manage it with a baby?
  • I don’t feel mature enough to be responsible for another person.
  • What if I don’t know what to do when they are sick?
  • What if I can’t comfort them?
  • What if my partner and I don’t end up parenting the same way?
    • Will that be something we can work through?
  • What if I accidentally fall asleep while holding them on the couch?

What if, what if, what if…. The list is truly endless. Something inside of us comes to surface and it’s scary. We imagine scenarios that are quite disturbing, just so we know how we would handle it if it ever happened. We can’t help it, and we can’t stop it. The amount of emotions you have while you are pregnant (and into motherhood, and probably for eternity), is overwhelming.

worry

We have extreme joy when we imagine our perfect little human that we’ve created laying on our chest. Or any scenario that we imagine where they are happy.

smiles

We have extreme sadness when we see anything the least bit depressing. The abused animals commercials will getcha. Also, anytime you even think about something ever happening to your baby. You will think things like this a lot. And you will sob at the thought of it.

We have extreme anger at the very thought of anyone trying to cause harm to our child. This rage is seriously dangerous. Our faces get hot, our eyebrows furrow, we could break the Hulk in half when this kind of anger sets in. So if a thought could produce that kind of hostility, you don’t want to know what could happen if something was actually done in real life. Jail would be a safe house from a mom with an agenda.

The point is, these emotions and thoughts and questions are all normal. We all feel them and think them. There is not just one piece of advice anyone could give a mom-to-be that would ease all of the stress. No mom’s experience in parenting is the exact same as another’s.

We all have different personalities. We all have different opinions on how we want our children to grow up. We all have different means as to what/how much we are able to provide for our child.

Comparing your soon-to-be adventure in parenting to anyone else’s is a big mistake. I can tell you 100%, regardless of anything else, your baby will love you more than anyone (dads might disagree, but we just let them think they’re the favorite). Your little nugget won’t care what clothes they wear. They won’t care what kind of crib they sleep in. They won’t care how big your house is, or what kind of car you drive, or what kind of toys they have. As long as you provide them clothing of some sort, a roof over their head, and somewhere to fall asleep, they will be A-O-K. It might sound cliche, but really all they need is your love.

sleep

My son is 17 months old, and I’m nowhere close to having it all figured out. To having all the answers. I had to learn along the way, just as every parent does. You hear about “motherly instincts” all the time, but you don’t feel like you have them. Believe me, you will understand once that little chunk is here. It’s not an immediate thing, however. It will take time to learn your baby’s cries. Which one means they’re hungry? Which one means they’re tired? Which one is just because it’s Tuesday?

Getting advice is always welcomed, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get one piece that actually can be taken and applied to your situation. At the end of the day, you are that baby’s mother, and you will know what’s best.

my-baby

Just because you know what’s best doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes, however. You will make several. As long as you don’t cause your baby harm, they’re nothing to worry about.

I was so tired after I had my son (from feeding him every 3 hours on the dot and pumping in between as well), that I forgot I was boiling his bottles on the stove. My sister happened to be over and said, “Is something burning?” I took a big sniff, and suddenly remembered the bottles. Rushed into the kitchen, and sure enough the water had evaporated and the bottles literally melted. So, that meant an impromptu trip to the store for my man since those were all the bottles we had.

You are also not a bad mom if you let your baby sleep in the booth next to you at Pizza Ranch.

pizza

Also, you aren’t a bad mom if your baby’s diaper leaks through. It is going to happen. Rule of thumb: Always bring 2 extra outfits for your child, and at least 1 extra outfit for yourself if you are going out with the baby. I made that mistake once… Once… I had the diaper bag filled with toys, clothes, burp rags, diapers, wipes, bottles, and formula. Anything I could have possibly needed for him, I had. So, my son was notorious for spitting up after every feeding, and not just a little bit either. So much, that I would wonder if he had anything left in his tummy afterwards (don’t worry, he did). In my only 4 months of Mommyhood, I knew he would spit up AFTER he ate, just as he always did. Well, surprise! My child isn’t a robot, and routines change. He spit up all over me before he was done with his bottle, and my outfit was saturated. It was fun. Seriously though, spit-up everywhere…

pit

What I’m saying is that it’s normal to worry (and a good sign that you’ll probably be a really great Mom), but try not to stress the “What-if’s” as much as possible. Most of what you imagine happening will actually never occur. There are things that will happen though, that you didn’t give any thought to. A lot of gross, smelly, sticky things.

cake

You may not feel “ready” yet, but I assure you, you will be ready when that perfect little squishy baby is here. As your child is learning new things, you will find yourself learning new things as well. You will grow as a person right alongside that tiny poop-machine.

tongue

The only advice I will give, that you may take or leave (it’s really just there for anyone that it might help) is this: Don’t be too proud to ask for help. You are not alone, and there are people who will help if you allow it. It might just be coming over to watch the baby while you sleep for a few hours. Or if someone offers to do something for you, LET THEM! Also, just try to always remember during those times when you feel like you are losing your mind (because these moments happen often), take a deep breath, and remind yourself that your baby is new to this world. They are learning from you, and you need to remember that they don’t do things intentionally to upset you (that will come a little later).

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