First Time Mom vs. Not
Written by: Haley Provost
Do you remember that feeling when you found out you would be a mother? After 9 months of trying to get pregnant, I could hardly contain my excitement. But to be completely honest, I was also scared to death. Thousands of questions raced through my mind, the number 1 being “Would I be a good enough mom?”
Isn’t it unreal how the enemy uses our self-doubt to steal away the joy of motherhood? Add in mommy guilt and constant parenting comparisons, and it leaves a disastrous combination of insecurity and fear. Now that I have been into this “mom thing” for just over 8 years, I have learned that some things matter and some just don’t. My thoughts and viewpoints have definitely changed since my first was born; here are some of my favorites… just for some giggles.
First Kid vs. Not the First Kid
- Pregnancy books. I ran out and bought the infamous book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” the day after I saw the positive pregnancy test. I could not wait to find out what little vegetable our baby was each week, and I found myself skipping ahead in anticipation of the future weeks. My third kid-let’s just say I was so thankful for the calendar on my phone where I kept track of what gestation I was so I didn’t miss a prenatal visit!
- Diaper changes. It may have been the OB nurse in me, but I changed our first son’s diaper every 2 hours around the clock. Our middle son, I learned it was okay to space it out some. Our poor daughter (third child)? Let’s be honest here; diapers are expensive! We aim for 2-3 diaper changes a day, more if absolutely necessary…aka poopy or sagging down to the ground. Now before you start calling the authorities, she is going on 2.5 years old, and we would never neglect to do a needed diaper change. BUT, I am just not as particular as I was the first time around.
- Junk food. I was razzed by my family and friends endlessly, but my first two kids did not have a single sweet until their birthday cake on their first birthday and very sparingly for a couple years after that. My daughter (again, third child) enjoyed delicious ice cream while we were on vacation in Florida…at 9 months old.
- Screen time. We were diligent on adhering to The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations of screen time for our first child. Kid # 3- that phone has been my saving grace in the long aisles at the grocery store. And when I need an uninterrupted shower. And when I have a parent-teacher conference for my older kids. And, well…you get my point.
- School artwork. I saved nearly every piece of art with my first child because, of course, each one was a masterpiece! And then I realized how many papers get sent home each week. So. Many. Papers. Reality is, I would have to buy a storage unit to fit all these papers if I kept every single one. I have to choose. Which means a lot of them end up in the trash can. I learned the second time around that if I was going to throw away artwork sent home from school, I would have to do it strategically. No placing it on the top of the garbage-it HAS to be buried under several mounds of trash. Trust me, I learned this the hard way as my sweet middle son was in tears when he found his beloved picture in the trash. I am not proud of it, but I quickly exclaimed, “Now how did that get in there?!?” as I pulled it out and pretended to be horrified that I could have “accidentally” thrown it away. Advice: Bury it deep, fellow artwork-throwing-away mamas.
- Diaper bags. I had the perfect little Vera Bradley diaper bag for my firstborn, stocked well with everything I could possibly need for my sweet baby. And we never left home without it; my son and the bag were basically a package deal. Compare that to my third kid…I have a diaper and fruit snacks in my purse. (Yes, you read that correctly, a purse. I started carrying that again with my 2nd child!) What more does a kid really need?
- Baby books. Do I really need to elaborate on the number of pages filled out with my firstborn versus my third? I didn’t think so…
In all seriousness though, I used to get so worked up over small stuff with my first child; over the years of parenting, I am realizing that those things maybe didn’t matter as much as I thought they did at the time. I never imagined I could love another child as much as my first. I remember sitting on my front porch, thanking God for giving me this child, just telling Him that I would be forever grateful, even if he was the only one we could have. And after He blessed us with 2 more, my heart could just burst. We as mothers may not do everything “perfectly,” but we try our very best. My point is (and advice I need to remind myself of daily), God gave these sweet lives to us, to love and to instill a love for Christ. At the end of the day, THAT is what matters. Whether you have cooked homemade meals every night for dinner or if your kids have eaten McDonald’s for the 3rd time this week, they love you for feeding them. Don’t beat yourself up, and don’t judge a fellow mom who may do things a bit differently than you. Truly, we are all just trying hard to succeed at this mom gig after all.
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