Once in a while – and I can almost pinpoint the exact moment – my husband will look at me, smile, and say, “One more?”
He’s referring to children, of course.
Well, that ship has sailed. Or the shop is closed, if you please.
Because the wonderful thing about being a mother – without actually having a newborn – is the ability to reminisce about the baby stages with nostalgia and fondness. While there were sleepless nights, near meltdowns (the baby’s and my own) and the famed “let’s wake the baby to ensure he’s breathing”, in the end, it’s all part of the journey we call parenthood.
And as far as I’m concerned, I’m content with my little family, and wouldn’t change a thing.
That’s not to say my extended family isn’t expanding. I have another little niece on the way! YES, my brother and sister-in-law are having another little girl. It’s terribly exciting and we can’t wait to welcome to her to the family. But my sister-in-law caught me off guard last week; even though she’s a mother herself, she was curious about my own takeaways from motherhood. And her exact question was, “If you could turn back time, what would you have done differently?”
Oooh boy. Talk about a loaded question!
But if I could go back – and trust me, some days I want to – I would simply follow my instincts. Honestly! Now that I’m older and wiser, I’ve discovered that there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to care for a baby; mothers have successfully raised children for centuries without the help of Dr. Google or Facebook mommy groups. What’s good for you may not be the best for me, and what works for one baby may not work for the next (even in the same family!).
Here are three random nuggets of wisdom:
1. Don’t wake a sleeping baby, unless you don’t particularly like to sleep. Trust me! Babies do a few things naturally, and sleep is one of them. With my first, I hovered over his bassinet, watching his chest rise and fall. And if a few too many minutes passed between feedings, I decided that he had to be hungry and of course I should wake him!
Don’t. Do. It.
Babies are particularly adept at self-regulating their hunger and will normally wake if they need to feed. Unless your doctor has advised you otherwise (and always take your doctor’s advice!), take those extra moments for YOU while baby is in dreamland.
2. Hold the judgement. Nah, I’m not talking about judging other mothers (but that’s bad too, so mind your own motherhood!). I’m talking about second guessing, self-loathing and doubt, and most of all, feelings of inadequacy and incompetence. We all hold ourselves to the highest standards – and as moms, sometimes an unattainable standard. Let it go. It all comes back to trusting your instincts and knowing that you are enough (more than enough!) and you are doing a great job.
3. Say goodbye to Dior, and hello to diapers. Okay, maybe you can afford both. Kudos! (And, jealous!) But for the vast majority of new families, financial planning, and making sound monetary decisions, is key to ensuring survival in those first few years with baby. If you experience difficulties sticking to a budget, now’s the time to get a little help getting your finances on track – because, trust me, kids do not get cheaper. (One word: hockey.) This is also the right time to look into RESPs or other ways to save for your little one’s future.
So, the burning question still remains – would I have done anything differently? Yes. And no. And maybe I wouldn’t change a thing. Because it was the decisions I made that shaped our lives, and as long as I continue to go with my gut, I think we’ll be alright.
Lena, a Work-At-Home-Mom (WAHM) of two feisty little boys, is a writer, social media strategist and authentic shopaholic. In fact, if it’s on sale – she’s already bought it.