After 6 months of mothering my little Kathryn Grace, I've learned a thing or two. I wanted to share those thoughts with you. You may already have kids and can relate, or maybe babies are just entering your thoughts. Perhaps you are waddling around wondering "WHEN is this child going to COME OUT?!" I can assure you, dear one, that not only is your baby is going to come out [I might add that he/she will not be born early but right on time] but that you are going to be just fine.
1. It doesn't matter how your baby gets here, as long as they arrive. Whether you're induced, use a doula, hpynobirth, water birth, have an epidural, schedule your c-section like a haircut or deliver 10 minutes after your water breaks in Wal-Mart, of all places----in the end all that matters is that your precious baby gets here safely. We all have different opinions [mine are certainly strong] but it's not my goal to make anyone feel bad for their birthing choices/situations. We're hard enough on ourselves as it is so I think we should all give each other a break.
2. You are the expert. No, you are not a parenting expert, but you are the expert on your child. You can read all the books, articles, and blogs that you want. You can certainly ask questions to your pediatrician. Just remember that no one knows your baby better than you do and ultimately, you need to make decisions regarding everything from what they wear to diapering, from sleep schedules to when to start solids. Be confident; God gave us everything we need to mother our children! I have found that when I take the advice of others [even the pediatrician] too seriously, it usually backfires. You will get weird unsolicited advice everywhere you go. Just smile and move on.
3. Beg, borrow, and steal. Ok, so don't steal and begging would be humiliating, but do borrow. Don't get caught up in having to have all new things. Most of what we have is borrowed and I'm thankful because a) baby things are expensive! and b) I can pass things along to others without feeling any sort of attachment to the item. Find a community of moms that you can barter with. You'll be able to give things to your baby that you might not have been able to afford and besides, it's always fun to give baby something 'new' to entertain them!
4. Make time for yourself. I hear this is important, but I'm still working on it. Something tells me that "me" time has to be more than getting groceries by myself or taking a 7 minute shower while my husband stands outside the curtain with the baby. It's also important to eat right and exercise so you can keep up with your active little one.
5. Believe it or not, you will have a hot meal again. The days of one of us having to hold Kathryn while we eat are not far from memory, and sometimes we still have to do it. It will get easier. In the mean time, buy some foil to keep your food hot.
6. Routines are important. Notice I didn't say "schedules" are important. Being a slave to the clock is just not practical for my personality or our lifestyle. It might be nice if Kathryn would sleep 7pm-7am but if she were in bed that early, she wouldn't get to see her daddy. We do, however, try to stick to a routine. Every day is different but for example, at night we do bath time a certain way, have family Bible time, and mellow out until she's ready to go to bed. Sleeping is quite the issue in our home, but we take a relaxed approach. There's no reason to get all stressed out about things your baby isn't ready for. From moving out of her swing to starting solids, Kathryn has let me know when she was ready.
7. Don't blink. Seriously, don't. One minute they're swaddled up like a baby burrito and the next minute they're sitting up and eating sweet potatoes.