Thank you to Bamboobies for partnering with me on this post!
Sound Machines We Have Loved
Motherhood is hard, y’all. Can I get an “Amen!”? Between learning how to breastfeed and dealing with mom shame, living on little to no sleep, having absolutely zero privacy and having to carve out “me” time…it’s hard! Motherhood is the most rewarding journey, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult! There are so many things I wish I knew before I began this journey.
I think as moms, before birthing our babies, we have this idea of what motherhood is going to look like and who we want to be as parents. Then we begin our motherhood journey and things start to go sideways with life’s unexpected twists and turns.
Something I’ve come to learn as a mama is that, whatever you think motherhood looks like…it’s probably not that. Motherhood is based on who your kids are and is often dependent on how God molds you and changes you as you become who you need to be for your kids. God has literally made you to mother your kids and there is NO ONE better for the job. Take heart in that, mama! No matter how many things I wish I knew, God knows I was made for this job.
There are so many things I wish I knew before becoming a mama. Honestly, I think that even if someone had told me certain things (and I have no doubt that someone did) the beautiful thing about motherhood is that we learn and grow right along with our babies. We learn something new about motherhood every single day and it’s beautiful and messy and chaotic and something I wouldn’t change for the world.
While I could easily give you a novel, chock-full of things that I wish I had known before having babies, there are 8 key things below that I have discovered to be the most profound and hope they help you on your motherhood journey.
Over on my Instagram, I also asked y’all what you wished you had known before giving birth. Some of your answers had me nodding in validation as I related so well to so many of y’alls comments!
In today’s world, motherhood can feel extra hard because I think it’s easy for us to feel so isolated, even as we are more and more connected through social media. Sometimes, it’s so nice to see that so many other women are feeling the same way that you are in their motherhood journey. There is something sort of magical about walking alongside each other as mamas, knowing that there’s so much we are all just learning as we go.
Looking for more motherhood posts? Check these out:
- This baby nursery essentials checklist is super handy if you are pregnant and shopping for all the essentials!
- How to Meet New Mom Friends
- A Letter to the Stressed Out Mom
- Top 10 Christian Podcasts for Moms
- How Mom Life Affects My Personal Style
The 8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Having Babies:
1. Appreciate the quiet, or even the chance to potty alone! As an outgoing extrovert, I never thought I’d say this but now I just crave some peace and quiet sometimes. I am not one to quickly lose my temper but the noise and chaos levels that arise with toddlers push me beyond what I even knew I was capable of feeling sometimes. It’s normal but it’s hard. So, relish those quiet small moments of peeing alone now!
2. Be spontaneous! If, on a whim, you decide that you want to go to DQ at midnight with your spouse, DO IT! Wanna have an impromptu The Bachelor viewing party with your girlfriends? Want to go to a bar for happy hour after work? Squeeze in as much as you can because you’ll have PLENTY of time to sit on the couch and “Netflix and chill” after kids. PS I didn’t know that phrase can actually mean something other than watching Netflix but I mean it it here in the literal sense of the phrase. Ha! Sit on your booty and watch Netflix or Hulu or movies because once kiddos’ bedtime hits, you’re at home.
With one kid, we were able to be a lot more flexible with a pack and play. We would still take our pack ‘n play to friends’ homes and set it up while we had a game night. But once you have two kids (or more) it’s too much work to figure out if they have somewhere for Leyton to sleep and schlep around 2 sound machines, lovey’s, stuffed animals, blankets, and all the things.
Not to mention, I don’t even think at 3/4 Leyton would be cool with going in some random bedroom and falling asleep at a friend’s house. SO, be spontaneous and hang with friends a lot now! Also try to find a family friendly neighborhood so you can still hang with friends with kids that get it. Side note: We treasured having friends that didn’t have kids yet because we could invite them to our home after bedtime for wine or game nights.
3. TRAVEL, TRAVEL, TRAVEL! (Obviously not during COVID-19 but once it passes) – Travel as much as your vacation time and budget allows, travel and travel often if you enjoy it. Whether your parents give you grief about watching your kids, or you have to line up 4 different babysitters and family swaps (not to mention school schedules/car seats in all applicable cars/ food/ soccer practices/ writing down every baby bottle/feeding/bedtime/expectation for everyone while you are gone) is EXHAUSTING even if you can still travel after baby. Not to mention it takes you twice as long to pack for you and baby while gone.
For other travel related posts, CLICK HERE!
4. You will need to have SO MANY THINGS on hand! One thing I definitely wasn’t prepared for was how many things I would need – not just for baby but for mama! From pregnancy clothes to hospital bag must-haves to all the necessities postpartum, new mamas basically need a registry for themselves! I loved finding brands that support in my efforts to find the best of the best within the pregnancy + postpartum world. One brand I found and fell in love with is Bamboobies. They make motherhood a tiny bit easier by having products made by moms themselves, focused on using natural and organic ingredients and renewable resources.
SHOP Bamboobie Photos HERE: Nursing Bra // Creams and Balms // Baby Care // Bamboobies Drink Mixes // Bamboobies Teas // Washable Nursing Pads // Finn’s June & January Jumpsuit // Fiddle Leaf Tree // Rug // Lion Rocker // Dress
Bamboobies is celebrating 10 years! They started in breastfeeding and now have expand to pregnancy and postpartum while still focusing on simple, natural products. Right now you can get 40% off plus two free pairs of nursing pads!
5. Post-partum depression/ PPA / Baby Blues are real and even if you don’t typically struggle with depression/anxiety etc, the hormones can hit you like a freaking wrecking ball. I’ve written about my struggle with PPD after Leyton HERE. I’d encourage you to share it with anyone you may know who is struggling.
6. Birth doesn’t always go as planned. In fact, let me rephrase that, birth RARELY goes as planned…LOL. I’m sure God thinks we have quite a sense of humor writing out our “birth plans” at hospitals as they call it. Every baby, every delivery and every postpartum experience is different no matter how much you plan. Just start praying for the grace, strength and endurance for your “plot twist” delivery now, lol. You can see a lot about my POSTPARTUM experiences here and in posts linked from this post.
7. Mom Brain is REAL. I had NO idea that pregnancy brain was just the start of my problems… lol! I was SHOCKED at how “dumb” I felt after having Leyton. It was the most bizarre thing…as if a quarter of my brain came out with the baby. You are running on so little sleep, there are so many new elements to learn about a baby and their schedule. Not to mention tacking on breastfeeding, figuring out how to assemble and clean breastfeeding pumps, bottles and monitors and every other foreign piece of baby equipment you now need to use. Oh, and then you need to help your broken and bleeding body recover and “rest” in the midst of all this. It’s just OVERWHELMING.
Then once you finally get cleared at 6 weeks by your doctor to “return to normal activities,” you’re like what about any of this new normal is “normal activities.” The human brain can only hold 3-4 things in your conscious mind at one time. Well, if one of those things is work emails or phone calls blowing you up, another is packing your lunch for the day and eating breakfast, another is pumping and storing breast milk, another is packing up all the baby’s diapers, wipes, spare outfit, diaper bag, and allotted amount of breast milk or formula for the day + anything else that may pop up that day like another child’s needs, something goes wrong at the house or the plumber is late…that’s a LOT more than 3-4 things at once. And that’s all just in the morning before you ever leave the house???!!! CRAZY TOWN.
Literally, your mind doesn’t have the capacity to do it all and do it all well. So yeah, mom brain is real. And yes, when the mom in your neighborhood half-jokingly plays forgetting something AGAIN due to mom brain…it’s actually a legitimate excuse. I told my family I was actually WORRIED about myself and my mental capabilities after I had Leyton. I just didn’t feel as “on top of it” anymore. Emails somehow just weren’t as urgent as they’d seemed before. My to-do list became less of a “have to” and more of a “it’ll happen when it happens.” I don’t expect you to get any of this if you don’t have kids yet, because I SURE as heck didn’t. But I can assure you from the other side that it’s all FOR. REAL. And by the grace of God, we make it through each day more loved, kissed, and tired than ever before. 😉
8. Be prepared to PEE yourself! Yep, it’s true. Get ready. You will 100% definitely pee yourself when you are jumping in workouts.
The Things YOU Wish You Knew Before Having Babies:
- To join a local support or Facebook group for advice on breastfeeding – @ktchap21
- That fed is best! Also to not read too much. Trust your mama instinct! – @maryiedgar
- The lactation consultant might just grab your boob and adjust as she’s helping you learn to BF – @gingabella
- How hard breastfeeding is and that formula is perfectly fine! – @ckwhitt88
- Breastfeeding is not natural – @thrivingmotherhood
- Breastfeeding isn’t easy!! And is sometimes even harder the second time! Recovery is HARD – @carly_demuth
- Each breastfeeding experience is different. Had no troubles with kids 1-3 but had a really hard time with kids 4 and 5 and ultimately formula fed and it took a while to get over the guilt. – @jvnelson
- Night sweats, how hard BF can be, how your hair falls out 5-6m pp, hormones, teething – @lesheape
- Modesty is a thing of the past! – @gingabella
- How my body would take time to change & how hormones can change! – @mary.m.white
- Just how much my body would change (and mind too) – @linzmlaw
- It’s difficult to sit after baby comes out! – @tiffheeg
- That post-birth recovery is worse than giving birth – @kaitbanderson
- The first poop after delivery hahaha – @llcj731_zip_travel
- How bad it hurts after you give birth – @cindi_click
- The truth about the aftermath of birth! – @enapay112
- Holy hormones! I wish I would have known it was ok to be out of control – @anneqjordan
- I wish someone would have warned me about baby blues more! Those hormones are real – @mrsjcrane
- They are only little for a while, so let them be babies (and wake in the night, be held, etc) – @jewelsbeth
- Kids are who they are. You can love, support, guide, and pray for them to be the best versions of themselves but you cannot control a kids personality as much as you’d like to think! – @pajamalamb
- To soak it in, it truly flies by my oldest just turned five and I swear I had him yesterday – @lyndseymarie86
- You will have bad days … there isn’t a “perfect” mom. Just BE present always. It goes fast – @crazeechris80
- It’s ok to say you need help or that you don’t know what you’re doing! – @rhodymomof2
- That connection doesn’t always come straight away but that doesn’t make you a bad parent – @ashlls29
- The joy getting to see their personalities develop is unspeakable! I had no idea before – @rachels411
- Get as close to Jesus as possible. And never stop. You don’t even have a clue about hot topics. Just wait. Chill out girl. The days are looooooong but the years are short. It doesn’t matter how ready you think you are. – @alexagentle
- It takes 9 months to grow a baby so it’s ok if it takes time to get used to life with a baby 🙂 – @hbmimi
- Being prepared for all the “advice/judgement/criticism” from everyone, including strangers – @2riski
- Everything is just a phase! – @llinnett22
- That you will always feel guilty about something (leaving the babe, staying home, working, etc.) – @southernandstyle
- What you said speaking truth and life over yourself and your kids makes all the difference! Speaking only truth and life over them makes a difference! Also give yourself GRACE! – @asialeeali
- That sometimes just keeping the little human alive and happy IS ENOUGH – @christyhamon
- To trust your instincts more and try not to worry so much about every little thing – @jenwstephens
- Oh one thing … too hard to say one thing … motherhood is a million things – @lesheape
- Maternity leave options/cost, pump at work laws, later bed for baby so more family time – @stevie_corn_greene
- That you would never pee alone again … and my babies are 12 and 6! – @jennlace
- That I would actually want to be a SAHM instead of going back to work – @sav_offner
- That I was going to have twins!! 🙂 – @asanchez_6113
- Ummm how hard it really was?? I had no idea. – @logan_hiatt
- Expect the unexpected. I never expected to have a kid with ASD, ADHD, etc. And each kid is different! – @mssam0305
- That you CAN get pregnant on birth control & nursing… 2 of my best accidents though! – @emilybdenton
- The constant demands balanced by comfy snuggles – @frenchpixie1
- That I would never finish a conversation again – @kims_her_name
- Well I was 17 when I had my son… so everything! – @brittanyingraham
- You have to hide to eat your snacks – @samantha_8089
About Self Care and Support:
- Date nights! – @sbcampbell421
- How important it is to make “me” time a priority – @sbcampbell421
- How important it is to intentionally carve out me time – @bellalu_11
- That I COULD raise a baby without fam around to help (we live 1500 miles from them!) – @ohhappyhotalings
- Find a mom tribe! It’s MUCH better with mom friends than alone – @lindseylbyrd
- I wish I had known the importance of disciplining myself to form good habits – @_chrsitina.jones
- Sleep deprivation changes you, like SO much – @elise488
- Some babies will only sleep ON you … and never in their crib! – @val_gray_with_an_a
- How much sleep you’ll really lose! – @sarahelshamy
- That babies don’t intuitively know the difference between night and day. I was so naive. – @staceyann15
- Safe sleep standards! Knowing then helps ease anxiety so much. – @thatstheowlife
- That they don’t just learn how to sleep or be good sleepers. It’s something to be taught – @christina.1519
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