What Ten Years as a Stay-at-Home Mom Taught Me

 

I’ve seen the 10 year challenge circulating and decided to take the plunge.

Here’s my first FB profile pic.

 

I have no idea why I chose this. HA.

 

Here’s my attempt to recreate it.

 

Ten years ago, I was a new mom. I survived my first year of navigating the sleepless nights, the questions and uncertainties every new mom feels. It’s just the oddest feeling to meet this sweet baby that is the perfect combination of you and your husband, yet to have no understanding of what is to come. Your feelings of total love and complete uncertainty collide.

I mean, sure, I babysat a ton. I always loved kids. I’m the oldest sibling in my family and practically helped raise my siblings. BUT. But, nobody can really adequately prepare you for motherhood.

I still┬áremember that feeling leaving the hospital and not 100% sure who thought it was a good idea to give me a baby. Just sayin’.

If I could go back ten years, I’d tell my new-mom-self this:

  1. If it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t waste 5 minutes worrying about it. TRUTH. I don’t know where I first heard it but, man. It’s just true. Don’t sweat the small stuff. The big things deserve your prayers, attention, research, care and concern, not the little things.
  2. Newborns: eat, awake, sleep, eat, awake, sleep, eat, awake, sleep and repeat! It’s not as complicated as it seemed at first. Take a breath and try to savor it. You truly will miss this stage and later, it will feel more comfortable. Promise.
  3. Don’t mourn your lack of sleep. Now, of course, you’re going to sleep more as the kids sleep more. But in general, having a pity party for yourself and refusing to enjoy life because you lost sleep is just plain silly. You’re rarely going to have a full night’s sleep and that is part of this whole parenting deal. Sleep doesn’t have to be an idol. Nap when they nap, though. And go to bed early sometimes. But other than that, don’t complain. Figure out how to survive on less sleep.
  4. Your kids will be different and that’s ok. Different is good. You’ll have to parent them differently because they are unique people. So, don’t get cocky and act like you know it all. You can’t necessarily do the same thing for each kid. And while that will keep you on your toes, it will be ok.
  5. It might not be joyful, but it will be ok. When there’s a season that really hard, the happy feelings will be the first to go. Even in that, you can cultivate gratitude and take it one day at a time because it will be ok. No matter what you have to walk through, if it’s not ok…it’s probably the middle of the story. Stay the course until the story is done.
  6. Messes are simply evidence that life happened here. Resist the temptation to let your home overwhelm you. Find ways to celebrate sweet memories and cultivate them. You can corral the messes with a peaceful heart.
  7. When the kids are crazy, share your calm. For a minute you might want to join in the chaos, don’t do that. Give yourself the grace and space to calm yourself first.

While I can’t go back in time and give my younger self this pep-talk, I’m settling in to the idea that I can move forward. I think you can too. Maybe that was the idea all along.

Here’s my hope for you, at the end of the day. I hope you

 

 


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