5 Lessons I’ve Learned In My First Year Of Motherhood

Why are so many women obsessed with scaring expectant moms by constantly telling them how hard it’s going to be? Why not give them practical, positive advice that can actually help them instead?

By Sabrina Kosmas4 min read
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When I was pregnant with my son, I noticed a phenomenon in which people would congratulate me when they found out and then immediately follow it up with unsolicited and, quite frankly, negative advice. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people, strangers included, would see my bump and proceed to tell me things like “Get as much sleep as you can now. You’re never going to sleep again!” or “I hope you like the sound of crying. You’re going to have to get used to it!” They would give what sometimes was well-meaning advice that often came off as discouraging, which is not what anyone wants to hear, let alone when you’re already hormonal, uncomfortable, and exhausted from growing a literal human inside yourself.

After experiencing this while pregnant, I decided I was never going to be one of those people who bogged down excited soon-to-be mothers with any negative advice and would instead offer them positive and even just plain practical advice. Pregnancy is already hard, so spoiler, even expectant moms know motherhood is going to be hard, but we embark on this journey because we know it’s worth it. 

1. Don’t Worry, You Will Sleep Again!

“Get all of the sleep you can now because you’re never gonna sleep again” is literally nails on a chalkboard to my ears. Yes, you’re not going to get as much sleep as you’re used to for a while, and the sleep deprivation will be challenging, but that time in your baby’s life is temporary and there are so many resources out there now to help your baby sleep! My parents thought my husband and I were absolutely insane when we told them we were going to “sleep train.” Their generation didn’t “train” babies to do anything, and they even gave us a hard time because they didn’t understand why we didn’t just let our son sleep in our bed with us if we really needed him to sleep better. For one thing, co-sleeping was not comfortable for us. Not only do I roll around in my sleep, which kept me awake at night because I didn’t want to risk rolling over my baby, but my baby rolled around a ton too, so it just made for a chaotic mess whenever we tried it. 

There are a lot of sleep training courses out there, but I can’t recommend Taking Cara Babies enough. It was expensive, but to me, a good night’s sleep was absolutely priceless, so it was worth it. We watched hours of videos on how babies’ sleep patterns work and how to train them to fall asleep independently and self-soothe over the course of two weeks. You have to wait until your baby is around 5 months old to do this, and you may have to deal with emotionally difficult nights hearing your baby cry themselves to sleep, but it’s so temporary in the grand scheme of things, and it ultimately sets up your baby for success in the long run as they reap the benefits of healthy sleep habits. Now, sleep training is not foolproof – there are a small percentage of babies who just do not take to it for whatever reason – but it’s worth a shot because more likely than not, it’ll work. And you and your babies’ sleep and sanity are worth the work!

Prioritize purchases that will make your life easier and save you time as a new mom.

2. You’re Probably the Only One Who Notices How Messy Your House Is

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom on maternity leave, you probably feel this innate pressure to not only take amazing care of your baby, but also of your home. Babies sleep a lot, but they sleep very on and off at the beginning, which makes it hard to make time for chores. It’s easy to plan to clean your house, do laundry, or even just wash your own hair when the baby takes a nap, but it doesn’t always happen because either the baby wakes up or something else like the basic functions of eating and sleeping need to take precedence. 

You really need to put your baby and yourself first, and sometimes this means neglecting chores that you’re used to doing. As long as your home is not a safety hazard because of how dirty it is and the baby is happy and healthy, you’re doing great. Take as much time as you can to rest and, most importantly, bond with your baby. The connection you make with them during those first few months is so much more important than having a tidy house.

3. Spend Money on Things That Will Make Your “New Mom” Life Easier

I’m not saying go spend all of the money that you have and money that you don’t by racking up credit card bills. What I am saying is prioritize purchases that will make your life easier and save you time over things you spend money on that are considered luxuries. Sometimes it’s worth cutting back to spend money on products or services that will make your life easier. Maybe skip getting your nails done that month or buying that expensive outfit and instead put it towards hiring a housekeeper to deep clean your house once a month or have your groceries delivered on a day that you’re exhausted and could use a nap. 

Sometimes it’s even worth it to spend a little more on certain baby products that are easier to use and will last longer. I made the mistake of buying a cheap high chair that was so difficult to clean and the tray would sometimes break off. Once I invested in a newer and nicer high chair, it not only saved me time that I didn’t have to spend deep cleaning it since it was easy to wipe down, but it even saved me money because the tray never broke unlike the cheap one I had to replace a few times. It’s not just about how much money you have, but ultimately how you choose to spend it. Time spent with your baby is the biggest luxury you can enjoy!

4. Mom Friends Are Great, but You Also Need To Surround Yourself with Experienced Moms

You’re about to experience the biggest change of your life and you need a support system that understands that change. It’s so important to connect with other moms. If you’re lucky enough to have friends who have babies around the same time, you’ll soon realize that those friendships will grow even deeper. If you don’t, there are likely a lot of moms in your same situation seeking friends and support, so I can’t recommend enough putting yourself out there to meet other new moms in your area. 

Look for someone who has had a successful marriage and raised happy, healthy, and successful kids.

But another very valuable relationship that new moms should foster is friendships with more experienced moms. I like to call them “seasoned vets.” Whether that is your own mom, a family friend, or a mentor, you should look for someone who has had a successful marriage and raised happy, healthy, and successful kids to learn from because they’re the closest thing to experts in the field you can find.

5. Put Your Phone Down and Soak It All In

Between hours of scrolling your feed while baby breastfeeds, constantly scanning Google for answers to all of your new mom questions, and recording your baby’s every post-milk or post-fart smile, you’re going to be spending a lot of time on your phone as a new mom. It’s easy to have it glued to one hand while you’re holding your baby in the other, and it’s so important to put it down sometimes so that you can really soak in all of the feelings and memories being made in those early days of your baby's life. 

Give yourself a goal of one hour a day of uninterrupted no-phone time with your baby. You can read to them, listen to music, or just cuddle up for a nap, even if it inevitably leads to you staring at them because they’re so distractingly cute when they sleep. Take some time to soak it all in and bank away those core memories because time is one hell of a thief and these special, early days of motherhood will be gone before you know it.

Closing Thoughts

Yes, motherhood is hard, which is why it’s worth it. I challenge new moms who read this article to pay it forward: When you find out someone is pregnant, don’t bog them down with the challenges or any negativity about motherhood. Instead, share in the excitement and offer them positive, practical advice if they’re seeking it. We all know that motherhood is not for the faint of heart, which is why women were chosen to embark on this journey. We were literally built for this, and sometimes we just need to remind each other of that from time to time.

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