New motherhood is one of the most stressful, yet fulfilling, times of woman’s life. There has to be at least a million books to read. I am sure at least one thousand opinions to chose from and it is all so confusing!
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child I was so scared. I had just quit my job to go back for my second degree. We were a one income family and the opposite of prepared. Factor in all of the stuff you have to know, or think you should know, and you can imagine the amount of hormonal crying that went on. At one point in my pregnancy I decided to give up. I was going to do this the all natural way … and I don’t mean the delivery!
I decided about three quarters of the way through my pregnancy to just stop listening to all those opinions. I took all the books back to the library. It hit me that women have been doing all of this for eons. I had to listen to my gut and parent my way. I had to use what God gave me raise a child who was loving, compassionate, and adventurous.
There were five things that I did as a new mom that honestly set me up for when my boys were older. The thought never occurred to me that I was doing something I would later be so thankful for doing. I used that natural instinct, and it paid off. Of course I understand my oldest is only five, but my gosh is he the person I wish I was at 30!
Here are the five things I did, and I hope you find them as useful as I did.
I love to sing, even if I haven’t been gifted with a voice. During my pregnancy I would sing nonstop. Adele was one of my favorites, during her “I am so alone” years. I wanted to pass on a love of singing to my little one. I wanted him to use it as a tool to comfort himself. After giving birth, I immediately started singing the same songs I had sung while pregnant. Whenever I would belt out those off key notes he would smile. It soothed him; it brought back the memories of that soft, warm womb. Some nights I would have to walk the floor with him and a tune would always relax him back to sleep. Now, at five years old, he still asks for a song before he is able to sleep. What a wonderful gift to give him!
When I took the pregnancy books back, I got baby books instead. I read every night to my unborn baby. I picked one book in particular, Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. I picked that book because of its message that stands the test of time. The most miraculous thing is he loves this book. Its like he remembers. He smiles so wide when I read, and when I am not reading to him, he has his own face in a book. From those stories has sprung one of the most adorable, complex imaginations. I like to think those moments we spent, before we met, have made him a life long reader.
Loving on Them
My husband hates when I practically suffocate my children. I love hugging, kissing, positive reinforcement, all of the good stuff. My husband fears it will make my boys soft. I find that I just don’t care if they are soft. When my boy is having a bad day, he knows where to go to feel better. They know how to handle themselves if they are angry. Sometimes “love” IS the answer.
I want my children to know there is love all around them. In a world that may try and teach them different, they need to share what they were given. My child is one of the sweetest, most compassionate little men I know. If he stays this way as he grows, I know he will move mountains.
Feeding Him Stuff Even I Wouldn’t Eat
“Gross” used to be in my vocabulary, but not anymore. My husband and I agreed that we wouldn’t influence our children’s food choices. When I made baby food, I made it allllllll, even while gagging. I didn’t want to end up as the chicken nugget, French fry, hot dog only kind of family. I wanted them to try everything. We have so much good food in Columbia. So much culture! I wanted them to experience it down to the plate. Now, I admit, he isn’t perfect. What kid is though? But now that they are a little older, both of my boys always try different foods. However, they have their own opinion on all of it. Can’t deny that one!
Letting Him Get Dirty
Mud, dust, blood, worms … all of it. I have had all of it tracked into my home. Do I scream? Of course! In the end should I be mad? No. My children have been outside since the day they were born. One of the first things we bought was a hiking carrier. Fresh air has been a staple in this house.
When you have children you fast realize they need to get rid of the energy somehow. Sitting in front of a TV isn’t going to do it! Getting them outdoors has helped me in so many ways. One, I never see my children because they always want to be outside. Two, they never get sick. They have exposed themselves to more nastiness than I care to know and their immune system is ready for just about anything!
Figured it Out?
I am by no means a perfect mom. I am simply someone who trusts her gut. I had no idea that these simple things I did early on would lead to an easier life later. I am so grateful for trusting myself to do the right thing. I know I still have time for this to all unravel into a hot mess. However, I am going to continue to have faith and keep doing what I am doing.