to moms (expectant, newborn, and toddler): this is for you

I have some advice / words of wisdom to share with you.

Because all new moms love unsolicited advice. 

Because I’m such an expert now that I have an almost 3 year old and an over 1.5+ year old. 

Or really, just because I just have all these thing to say that I wish someone would have said to me…or that I wish I would have listened to back then.

First, do yourself a favor and go read You’re Doing Good {A Letter of Encouragement} by Sarah over at It’s a Vol. 

If you’re pregnant:
1.  Enjoy this.  This will not, even if it feels like it will never end, last forever.  In the span of your lifetime, 9 months is nothing.  This time goes by so quickly and after that baby is born, it will be surreal.  You’ll be thrilled to bend over. To tie your own shoes.  To walk 10 feet without feeling out of breath.  But you will miss those kicks (even the ones that take your breath away).  You will miss looking at the profile of your round belly in the mirror.  You will miss running your hands from the top of your stomach, all the way down to the bottom and feeling your baby react to your touch. 
2.  Have someone take pictures of you.  They don’t have to be professional.  You don’t have to feel pretty or get dressed up.  You are beautiful – you will realize this later.  You will want to remember the way you look.
3.  Lay around as much as you can.  Sleep as much as you care to.  Go to restaurants to have someone else take care of you and the mess you’ve made.  Enjoy those dinners out because after this baby comes, the last thing you think about doing at a restaurant is relaxing and being taken care of. 
4. Don’t freak out.  Billions of women have gone before you and birthed babies successfully.  Your body was built to do this exact thing.  Being excited is fine, but don’t let anxiety about the birth consume you.  In the span of your lifetime, the time labor and delivery takes is nothing.  Don’t be afraid.  It might seem like the longest day of your life, but it will be the best day of your life. Focus on the latter.

If you have a newborn:
1. While becoming a mom may be completely natural, there are things about it that seem to go against nature. Nursing can come naturally, but sometimes it does not.  If this is important to you, don’t give up. Be stubborn. Billions of women have gone before you and nursed their babies successfully.  Your body was built to do this exact thing. But.  If it doesn’t work out, it’s not your fault.  And your baby will be fine.  Don’t let other people make you feel guilty.
2.  Ask for help.  It doesn’t make you less of a mother.  It doesn’t mean love your baby any less.  It doesn’t mean you’re weak or that you suck at this.  It’s normal to need a break and it’s important to take one when you get a chance. 
3.  Hold your baby as much as you can.  Your baby has been in your womb for 9(ish) months and has been held 24 hours a day.  Why would you deprive him or her of that now that she’s on the outside?  He may need to be held…and it’s not going to ruin him.  This sweet baby will not always want to be held.
4. You know how they say to sleep when the baby sleeps?  Rubbish.  You’re holding your baby when he’s awake; this is the only time you have to get anything done.  I missed the boat on this – get a GOOD carrier.  One that doesn’t hurt your back.  Do whatever you need to get done with the baby in the carrier while the baby is awake so you can sit and do jack squat (text, talk on the phone, play Words With Friends, or whatever else makes you feel normal) while the baby sleeps. 
5. Get. Out. Of. The. House.  There are those days when you can barely find time to shower.  Doesn’t matter.  Pack that baby up and go walk around the your neighborhood.  The park. The mall. The grocery store.  Fresh air does wonders for baby blues, feelings of isolation, and exhaustion.  I was paralyzed by the fear that Theo would puke all over both of us, crap all over himself, and/or scream bloody murder and people would stare.  After about 6 weeks, I learned that if the baby pukes, I can clean him up.  If he poops, I can clean that up too.  If he cries, so what.  People have heard babies cry before.  I can calm him down.  Fresh air improved my mood every time. P.S. Take comfort in knowing that, if there is a second time, it will be soooo much easier the second time.

If you have a little kid:
1.  This is just a stage.  Whether it’s good or bad. Hard or easy.  This is going to pass soon.  Try not to spend too much time dwelling on the negative. It will get better.  It will. There are things you will miss about your child being this age.  It’s a cycle.  Something is always getting easier while something else gets harder.  I don’t think that ever stops. 
2.  Today, your child is the smallest she will ever be.  She will never be this young again.  When you think your little kid is just too grown up, remember this.  In the span of her lifetime, the time spent as a little kid is nothing.  Cherish it, even when you can’t wait for her to be older, bigger, and more independent.  She will be more independent next week than she is today.
3.  Make memories on purpose, but realize that favorite memories will be ordinary things.  Like sitting on the counter while you cook.  Or sitting on your lap while you peel an apple for her to eat.  Or going to grandma’s house. Take pictures.  Don’t let too many days go by in between.
4.  Do things for yourself. By yourself.  With a friend.  Don’t lose sight of who you are just because you have a new role. 

What would you add to this list?