Thursday, March 12, 2009

Advice for the Mother-to-be

A dear friend's baby shower is this weekend and we have a little card on which we are supposed to bring advice for the mother-to-be. In general, I ought to be stopping myself from giving advice, not encouraging myself. It's so hard to not be be a jerk when advice-giving, for one thing. One person's "encouraging" is the next Mamma's "disapproving" or "bossy" and vice versa. And what I can relate to depends so heavily on the situation of the moment. One day everything looks sunny and I can't remember the times when life is so hard; the next everything is falling apart and I can't imagine getting it together. And really, do I want there to be written evidence of my advice?

But, I hate to be a party pooper so I'm trying to work on it. I think everyone knows in their head that just loving your children is more important than all of the "how"s. But do you find that "just love them" doesn't cut it on the rough days? Are there things that bring us peace when we don't think we're doing a good job? As I'm thinking about the essence of what made baby two so much easier than baby one, I'm thinking of these things:
Remind yourself that you are doing a good job. Everybody worries about not doing it right and nobody has it all together - even if it looks like they do.
Ask for help. Accept help when it's offered. You don't need to "accomplish something" today. Caring for the baby IS accomplishing something.
It doesn't hurt the baby to cry for a few minutes. If it breaks your heart, try reminding yourself that it's normal. If it doesn't break your heart that's just fine; you are still a good mom.
If nothing is working, take the baby outside. If nothing else, you can be waiting in the driveway when someone else arrives home.
Talk to the baby and narrate the day.
Take some moments just for yourself.
I guess those are the things I tell myself.


I'm amending this post to tell you what they did with the advice, since it was such a neat idea! They had a prepared eight by eight inch scrapbook (simple pages - decorative paper with one embellishment in most cases, possibly from a kit). Each page had a spot marked to put your 4x6 card with your advice. The cards themselves had a decorative border so they added to the look. You slipped your own card into a page when you arrived, so that by the end of the party, they had a complete album to send home with Mommy-to-be! It was neat to flip through and read people's advice. I love that it was ready to go at the time of the shower, rather than having to be put together later.


  1. The thing that I like to tell new moms is that nothing lasts forever. I found that when Lily was a baby, things seemed so hard to me because I didn't understand how fast they change and grow. Knowing that they would eventually sleep, eat, etc. really helped me get through the tough times with Madeline and Wyatt.

  2. All those are good things! I think someone might have said things like that to me... I wish I had internalized them...

  3. Jennifer - you are right, that perspective does really help!

    Julie - it's not too late to embrace the fact of being a great mom! :)

  4. Just tell them that their kids, no matter what they do, will be better behaved than Gretchen's.

  5. All of my babies have been so different in terms of what soothed them. Emma was a paci girl. Charlie was all about Mommy. Teddy is a total miracle blanket junkie. I guess there's no silver bullet that works for all babies all the time. My advice would be to do what's right for YOUR baby and not what works for the baby down the street. These babies are like real human beings in that they all have different needs and personalities. When you start thinking of your baby as a real person with their own little peculiarities, then I think they start becoming less mysterious...or at least figuring them out becomes more of a pleasure and less of a struggle.

    My 2 cents. : )

  6. That's a good point, Elizabeth. My two are *so*much*alike* that I sometimes forget that not all babies look the same, much less act the same! I bet I'll need to remember that as Sammy gets older and diverges more from what I'm used to.

  7. This is ALL such great stuff- I'm sending this link to my pregnant friend, Jana- I hope some of this is useful to you Jana!!!!