The ChicagoNow moms are writing a series of letters of advice to new moms. One of our fellow bloggers Mary Tyler Mom came up with the brilliant idea. As you can imagine, with as many different moms there are in the world, the advice offered to the new moms here is very diverse.
You might be wondering my background and expertise to give this advice. I'm 44 years old, married, mom of two boys - 14 years old and 12 years old. I have a combined 26 years of experience of motherhood, I don't know if that's true but that math equation always makes me laugh when businesses are selling their sales teams. So, I'm going to adopt the theory here to grab your attention and sell my advice.
Below is my list of advice for new moms - things I've learned along the way:
Time for Baby to Sleep: There is a great divide between new moms with how to put the baby to bed. Some subscribe to the theory of letting the baby cry to sleep, while others feel you should pick up the crying baby. I offer that I've seen both work. Personally, I was a "picker-upper", and I'm here to report that 14 years later, both boys fall asleep fine on their own. Not because they were or were not picked up, they fall asleep because they are tired boys, they like their beds and they want to go to bed. They currently don't cry themselves to sleep and I don't not need to pick them up any longer. Advice: Do what works for you.
Child in Your Bed: Again, this is always a big debate. Our boys jumped in our bed when they were little. Guess what? They sleep in their own beds (have for years) without issue, thankfully, since they are both bigger than me now and it would be awkward at this point. Advice: This practice, used with young children, will allow you all to sleep longer on the weekends - YAY!
Faith: No matter what your religion, share some of your faith with your child. This helps ground your child and in return grounds you too. Advice: Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words - Francis of Assisi
Doctor's Office 10 Day Rule: OK, I'm not a crazy antibiotic mom, but I do follow my gut when the kids are sick and the magic number to know is 10! So, if you really want that pink bubble gum flavored bottle and the doctor asks, "How long have they been ill?" Don't say, "About a week!" Round it up and say confidently, "10 days!" Don't over use this advice, just use when really needed. Advice: Follow your gut! And, you're Welcome! (I hope Dr. B. isn't reading this)!
Social Media: When they are a little bit older, refrain from posting "elusive" passive aggressive posts about your child, their teachers or a situation between other children. Everyone will know what you're saying without saying it, it doesn't solve a thing and will likely make you feel worse. Talk to the people involved and clear the air. 9 times out of 10 parents will still not be talking and the kids have already made up! Advice: Don't make Mark Zuckerberg your therapist.
Teach Your Child How to Say, "I'm Sorry": This one is hard for everyone, but it is important for their relationships, school, sports and some day their jobs. We all know someone that we've worked with, lived with or hung out with who was never wrong or never sorry. Let's stop the madness and teach this important lesson early. Additionally, part of learning how to say, "I'm sorry" is also learning how to gracefully accept an apology (this one is tough too). Advice: "Never ruin an apology with an excuse" - Benjamin Franklin
Teach "Three Sides to Every Story": This is such an important lesson. Teach that no matter what they are told or what they hear, they are hearing the perspective of the person telling the story. This helps with every aspect of their lives. Advice: Yes, even if you're telling the story, it's still only one side!
Respect Families Raising a Child with a Disability: Be respectful of families who manage any big health issues for their children on a daily basis. It's all too easy to judge when it's not your child or your situation. Support your friends and family, you may not even know their whole struggle and stress levels. Advice: Don't judge someone else's journey or decisions.
Pick Their Own Activities: If your son wants to take dance or your daughter wants to play football, be their advocate and get them signed up. It took me two years to realize that my boys didn't like playing baseball. Why two years? Because that's the big sport we play in our town and that's what I grew up playing. But, you know what? They hated it. Once I realized I was dragging them around to games and finally listened to what they wanted to play - everyone was happy. Advice: Don't follow the crowd, follow your child's interests.
Jump in the Picture: Don't (literally) jump out of pictures that are being taken. I still have a hard time with this one and I'm an amateur photographer. Get over yourself and your body image. You had a baby, yes you look different than your 25 year old self! Advice: Stay in the frame! It appears I don't exist after 1995, based on our pictures. Don't let this happen to you too!
Dress Up Like Batman, Spiderman or a Princess: If your child wants to dress up like Batman every single day, ok, so let him. I promise you they will not still be dressing up like Batman or Spiderman when they are 14. Advice: Being a superhero and/or princess is awesome! Disclaimer: If they insist on still dressing up in high school, well...then you may need to discuss with them.
Recently, my cousin shared a saying with me regarding parenting, "The days are long, but the years are short." Since he shared it, it has stuck with me because it is so very true! While your day to day life seems like a lot of work right now it will go by so very quickly. So, enjoy every minute of the roller-coaster ride we call motherhood. It is the best ride out there if you let go, relax and throw your hands up in the air. Anyone, who really knows me is laughing at that last line!
Happy Mother's Day! If you would like to read some of the other letters of advice click here: Letters to a New Mom. If you have any additional advice for new moms, post a comment below for them to read!