If You’re a New Mom Afraid of Doing it Wrong, Lean in Close

So you’re a young mom, maybe a new mom, afraid of doing it wrong? Of course you are. That’s perfectly normal. It makes you a good mom who cares deeply for her child. But let me give you some advice from a seasoned place of mothering for 23 years….

We’re all afraid of doing it wrong and that fear doesn’t really get better with age and you need to go ahead and settle the fact that you will do a lot wrong. That’s the bad news.

THE GOOD NEWS:

I can now tell you the stuff about “doing it wrong” that actually matters, so you can leave some stress behind.

Because see, even since I was a young mom, things have changed. For one, I didn’t have Facebook (or honestly even the Internet) to provide an inlet for every mother in the galaxy to tell me how not to do something or that I’m going to ruin my child if I do something else. That’s a lot of pressure.

I didn’t know, when I was a new mom, that bottle feeding would “cause attachment disorders” (it doesn’t, even though I absolutely, positively think breast feeding is better). I also didn’t know that circumcising my son would make me a “mutilator” or that if I fed my baby anything besides organic, soy free, gluten free real food she would probably not be OK (she is).

Co-sleeping? It wasn’t even talked about but now, according to studies, all my children would have been happier, smarter, more independent and healthier had we co-slept. (The pressure and guilt.) But I think my children are pretty happy, smart, independent and healthy.

Don’t use the wrong diapers. Don’t use diapers at all–infant potty train. Don’t let your child cry. Don’t pick him up if he cries. Feed him on a schedule. Definitely let him nurse on demand.

I’m afraid young mothers are buckling under the weight of all the do’s and don’ts of motherhood, forgetting some important things.

So if you’re a young mom, let me give you a few bits of wisdom I have learned:

  • Use you instincts. Instincts aren’t for nothing and I believe God gave us a fair share when it comes to caring for our offspring. If something doesn’t feel right to you, maybe it isn’t. Trust yourself more than you do.

 

  • Understand that a child well-loved knows it, despite your diaper choices or sleeping arrangements. Love trumps a lot of mistakes.

 

  • Be open to advice, but heed common sense. Remember that mothers have been doing this for centuries, without all the new-fangled gadgets and choices of our modern day. Millions of children have survived without that cover thingy that goes over the shopping cart handle. If “the right choice” were so important, it would have come with the baby. Probably, what comes naturally to you is the closest to being “the right thing.”

 

  • Relax, enjoy your baby, and stop reading so many books. Seriously. Except read books to him. That’s good.

 

  • In the end, you’ll have things you regret and things you’re glad you did. All mothers do. But focus on the big stuff. Love, stability, just being there (this one’s big), living Jesus. Try to enjoy your children and teach them life doesn’t revolve around them (for Heaven’s sake do them this one favor). Let them fall down and get germs and try to do things for themselves. Those are good things. Always protecting them is not always the best thing.

If you are a mother, you are equipped. And if you have questions, ask your mother, or better yet, your grandmother, before you run to the nearest parenting book on a method that will be outdated next year. Wisdom lasts and you can find it if you look for it. Be willing to be teachable and enjoy the journey.

You’ve got this.

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10 Responses to “If You’re a New Mom Afraid of Doing it Wrong, Lean in Close”

  1. Stephanie says:

    This is such a wonderful post. I am a mother of nine (actually up nursing my brand new baby girl at the moment) and I needed to be reminded of this! There is so much free advice out there that it can overwhelm anyone. I love your point about using your instincts. They are from the Lord and we need to trust Him to lead us. Each family is unique so each family will look different. Thank you so much for your wonderful ministry. I’m always so encouraged.

  2. Christy says:

    Kelly, thank you for this. I am a mother to nine… nursing my baby right now… and this was so refreshing! I often look at new moms thinking, oh I don’t have that (newest invention for baby), but that’s okay. It is so true… what a baby/child needs most is love, stability and you being there for them and pointing them to Jesus. Thank you Kelly for your beautiful words, encouragement and ministry. You are a blessing.

  3. Diana says:

    Okay, I’m going to be the third mom to be commenting while nursing!

    Kelly, THIS, yes THIS, is the article that EVERY NEW MOM needs to read. You are so right on this!! Oh, my goodness. I wish I’d read it when I was a new mom, 10 years ago… though honestly, it wouldn’t have done any good. New moms are just so vulnerable to advice and to the condemning voices around them… and they’re so scared. In short, they are easy prey. I certainly was. And unfortunately, since my parenting journey began more recently than yours – 12 years ago, to be exact – I did have the internet and Facebook shouting at me, and I did read all of the blogs (it’s so helpful to know that I’m a mutilator and a child abuser and a destroyer of the world and children in general), and it is just a dark pit of despair – and so unhelpful in terms of developing as a mother.

    Now that I am on my fifth child, I zealously avoid all of the “you are a bad mother if you…” blogs, or the blogs which tell you the RIGHT way to do everything mother-wise (oddly enough, most of these blogs seem to be written by young moms whose eldest child is a toddler… there is a reason that we are told in the Bible to learn from OLDER women). It’s much more peaceful.

    Thank you so much for this article, and forgive me the rant! This is a sore spot! 🙂

    Diana

  4. D. says:

    I so appreciate your simple, yet very wise counsel. This is mostly why I deactivated my FB account a good many years ago and why I have a very, very few selective blogs (one of them being yours) that I enjoy reading for encouragement and being challenged. You are so right about how quickly the world’s wisdom changes and yet how easily we fall right into the trap, time and time again.

    I love your sense of humor thrown in as well!! 🙂

  5. 6 arrows says:

    Speaking from the “older mom” wing of blog readers here… 😉

    I am well into my fifties now — with three grown children, two teenagers, and “the baby,” who turned ten last week.

    Some of the babies slept in a crib (either in the baby’s room or the master bedroom); some in bed with us.

    One baby weaned on his own (at 13 months); the others I stopped nursing (anywhere between 18 and 36 months).

    Thumb-suckers, pacifier-users, and neither of the preceding.

    Fully-vaccinated, not vaccinated (for months or years), partially-vaccinated.

    Disposable diapers, cloth diapers.

    Babies I wore in a sling; babies and toddlers with whom I sculpted my upper arms carrying them.

    Not a one of them raised identically to another sibling, but they all know they are loved by their family, and especially by their Savior. Is there anything else that really matters?

    Show your kids Jesus in the Word, young moms (and older!), and they will have the one thing needful.

    I like to remember Jesus’ words to Martha when she, like I too often have done, got fretful about earthly concerns:

    “And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

    The hard days do come, and days that we question ourselves, but God has proven, and will continue to be, faithful every step of the way. And His wisdom is there for the asking.

    What a blessing in this journey of motherhood and life!

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