Our newest columnist, Teresa Kindred who blogs at NanaHood.com, joins us again today with another “5 Minutes with Nana” post.
The day we took our first child home from the hospital I remember thinking, “Are they really going to let me take this precious little baby home with me because I don’t know a thing about raising children!”
The nurses at the hospital didn’t give me a test to see if I was ready for motherhood. They just handed me my son and said, “You can dress him and take him home now.” My hands were shaking so badly it took me forever to get him dressed!
I had read lots of parenting books before I gave birth but now that it was time to put that knowledge to use, I was terrified. My husband knew even less than I did. Thank goodness my mother and my grandmother lived close by. I must have asked them a thousand questions during those first years.
I was lucky to have two wonderful women who loved to help, but what about first time moms who don’t have their mothers or grandmothers available for advice?
I polled my friends on my blog (NanaHood.com is for grandmothers) and on NanaHood’s Facebook page and asked them to share what they thought was the most important piece of advice that all moms needed to know. They were more than willing to help.
Here are their answers… I’ve combined them into categories to make it easier for you to find some great advice.
Nanas Say Ask For Help
“They don’t come with instructions. Never be afraid to ask questions. No question is stupid.”
“The old saying, it takes a village to raise a child is so true. Allow family and friends to help you out. It is okay for others to hold and care for the little bundle. You will need a little alone mommy time!”
“Don’t think you need to do it all yourself and when someone offers help take the offer!”
“There are many who are only too willing to give out their well meaning advice… listen, then take what you will from it that’s works for you. Your intuition and natural instincts will get you through. Don’t be afraid to take up an offer of help. Even just an hour of rest will seem like gold!”
“The unknown of motherhood can be overwhelming. There’s so much to know about babies health and the care and responsibility for a newborn. The greatest gift for a mom is a Nana or Grandmother. They have the experience and will give all the love and care and advice when asked. Allow people close to you help.”
“Remember no one is Super Woman and if family and friends offer help-accept it, especially in first weeks after giving birth.”
“Remember that your baby doesn’t come with an instruction manual and it’s ok to ask questions.”
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
“Even though you may be a first-time mom, your instincts are strong. Listen to what other friend-moms/your mom & mil have to say, & then do what YOU think feels right!”
“There is a lot of guilt in parenting, give yourself a break.”
“Trust your instincts. I had doubts about my son’s sleep habits… totally forgetting that his most active time when I was pregnant was the middle of the night and he was the same way after he was born. Son is 13 and still would rather be up all night and sleep during the day. I also learned not to panic over every little thing.”
“You can’t give them too much love! Don’t worry about taking away pacifier, bottle, potty training, etc… They will be fine and do all the things you want them to do in their own time. In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff. Love, love, love them. Time goes by so fast.”
“Cut yourself some slack. Regardless of what anyone says they did not get it all right the first time.”
“Don’t try to be mom of the year and just love and learn as you go. And know that you will never get yesterday back again!”
“Believe in yourself, remember infants don’t come with an instruction manual, you don’t need to be Superwoman, when the baby sleeps you rest. Don’t keep it quiet when the baby is sleeping, it wasn’t quiet the last nine months! Enjoy them they grow up way too fast.”
To Schedule or Not to Schedule
“Try to implement a schedule. That makes your child feel secure and safe. My Mom, the ultimate Nana, shared this with me and I shared this with my daughter.”
“1. Make a very strict schedule and stick to it. 2. If you can’t breastfeed, it’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up over it! 3. It’s ok to make mistakes-learn from them and move on. You will always be their hero even when you think you have failed.”
“Read to them, schedule your day and stay on track. ‘No’ is a good word. Earn rewards! Be present always. Make time for yourself! They are never to young to learn, get them involved in decision making and give them choices.”
When It Comes To Work
“Hold your babies and play with your child. Dishes and laundry can wait, but children shouldn’t.”
“I think the biggest thing I learned as a working mother is that you can’t have it all. We put such stress on ourselves to be the perfect wife, mother and employee. Let the house go when you have to make a choice. The only thing that matters is the relationship you have with your husband and being there for your children. You will never regret not being the best at work or having a dusty house that week. But the love and devotion your children and family show you for always being there will mean everything.”
“Go out and play with your kids, don’t worry about a messy house, nobody is going to steal your housework, it will be there when you get back.”
“Spend time with your little ones, the dishes will be there to do after they are grown up, dust bunnies and clean house can wait, but little ones grow up so fast. Make memories with lots of hugs and kisses. The rewards can’t be measured.”
“Don’t try and clean behind small ones all day. Best advice I ever got was clean up 30 minutes before hubbie gets home and it will look like it was that way all day! Spending time with children one on one is priceless… I learned how much I missed not spending time with my children now that I have grandchildren and time.”
Consider These Random Tid-Bits
“Don’t ever think or say, “My child won’t do that.” They all will. Live by the theory that my kids will do everything they think they can get by with and a few things they know they can’t.”
“Don’t criticize them or compare them to other children (especially siblings).”
“Stay off your iPhone and spend that time with your kids. They need your time and attention. Wait until they are napping. There is nothing on that iPhone that’s more important than your child’s well being and feeling loved and cared for.”
“Don’t try to make them grow up too fast. Let a child BE a child.”
And finally, from a nana with a great sense of humor…
“Have grandchildren first. They are so much easier!”
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Written by Teresa from NanaHood.com — wife, mom (5 children including identical twin boys), and nana.