5 things I actually worried about (that I wish I hadn't)My husband likes to tease me about my worry wart tendencies, and I always reply with a simple statement; "I worry because I care." I think nothing could be more true when it comes to motherhood and wanting to do the best you can at the most important job you'll ever have. But now that I've been doing this parenting thing for 8 years, I look back and realize that there were some things I worried about so much, and wasted so much energy on that if I could go back in time and change things, I would definitely worry less. Thinking back to my first year as a new mom, here are the top 5 things I worried about the most, and wish I hadn't, because when it comes to these subjects, it all worked out in the end.
1. Sleeping Through The Night
The most common question I get from other moms about all 3 of my babies was and is, "how is (s)he sleeping?" From the beginning I put so much pressure on myself to establish a sleep routine, and get my baby to sleep through the night that I missed out on a lot of moments to just relax and enjoy my baby. And quite often during that first year, I judged my success as a mother by how good my baby slept at night. I read countless books and followed others advice instead of my own instincts. Now I realize that all babies are different, and all babies eventually sleep through the night. Being proactive is great, but obsessing over sleep and hanging onto control just isn't worth it in the end, but lots of snuggles are!
2. Losing the Baby Weight
After my first baby I was quite sure I'd be back to my old self, and old body, within weeks! Little did I know what a roller coaster ride motherhood would be and that the biggest gift I could give myself that first year was grace. If you are focused, the weight will eventually come off. If I could go back, I'd tell myself this and I'd put a lot less pressure on myself to lose it quickly. 9 months on, 9 months off is my new motto! Realistically though it seems to always take me a solid year to get back to my old self, and I'm okay with that now!
Related: 8 of my biggest pregnancy fears (and what actually happened)
3. Knowledge Is Power?
Oh the amount of hours I spent reading! Ha! I definitely learned a lot and am glad for the extra knowledge, but quite often I took this knowledge too far when I followed what the book said instead of what my own mothers instinct said. Knowledge is indeed power, but when it overrides mother's intuition it can lead you astray. Read and research as much as you want, but just remember to always trust your gut. That's my policy 8 years and 3 kids later, anyhow.
4. Starting Solid Foods
I was so afraid of messing things up when it came to starting my first baby on solid foods. I recall quite accurately how stressed I was in fact, and plotting out schedule adjustments to account for the added meal times, referencing charts of what foods to start when, dog earing my favorite baby food book, highlighting recipes, etc, etc! While starting baby on solids certainly is a big step and milestone in their life, at the end of the day there's some wiggle room for mistakes and variance. I'd still follow the "guidelines" because rules and restrictions make me feel a bit more secure, but I'd feel more free to make some variations and try different foods with baby. I'd definitely have more fun with solid foods than I did before!
5. Parenting Styles
As a new mom, I paid a lot of attention to what type of parenting style my friends were using. At the time, attachment parenting was just on the rise and I spent a lot of wasted time comparing their choices to mine. At the time I thought it was because I was so sure that the way I was parenting was the absolute right way, but now I realize it was because I was actually a little unsure of my own parenting style and wondered if other ways were right or better. Now I practice a mix of parenting styles to uniquely fit our family. A mix of cloth diapering, baby wearing, sleep training and structured routine is how we roll, and it's perfect for us. There's no wrong way or right way, and once I let go of that, I opened myself up to finding a blend of styles that works just right!
- By Andrea Howe
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