3 happy truths about new motherhood

happy new momI’m excited to share this post as part of a new partnership with Disney Baby, where I’m going to have a chance to write a lot more posts geared toward expectant and new mothers. Check out the end of the post for more details!

When I was a new mom, I was on the receiving end of a whole lot of absolutes other people liked to toss my way. But in my experience, “truths” like “teething doesn’t cause a runny nose” and “you’ll spoil that baby if you don’t put him down” just didn’t, well, ring true.

But during my fourteen-plus years of motherhood raising five kids, I’ve discovered three “rules” that have proved happily true with each child:

1. You will sleep again.

I remember walking the floor at 3 AM while my oldest baby screamed, sobbing my eyes out and feeling like I was having an out-of-body experience.

The lack of sleep moms of small babies so often experience can make you feel not only exhausted, irritable, and foggy, but also hopeless: it’s hard to remember what it feels like to be well-rested when you’re drowning in sleep deprivation.

While it’s always a good idea to try a variety of strategies to get more sleep as a new mom, let’s face it: sometimes the exhaustion that goes along with interrupted sleep patterns is just part of the deal.

But one thing you can count on when you’re babbling incoherently to yourself in the middle of the night?You will sleep again, I promise, and perhaps sooner than you’d think. Knowing that may not make tonight easier, but it can give you hope for those restful future nights.

2. In three years, nobody will know whether or not you… (fill in the blank.)

For first-time moms, every decision can feel so fraught with importance. And often that pressure comes from what others think (or what we worry others might think) rather than what we believe down deep in our hearts to be important and right.

The good news? The vast majority of decisions you make today will not be noticeable to others in three years. When your baby goes off to preschool, likely nobody will know whether you used cloth or disposable diapers, when he started solids, or whether you used a sling, Baby Bjorn or stroller.

I’m not suggesting the decisions you’re making today aren’t important: I know that you want to do the right thing for your baby, and of course, the choices you make are worth thinking over.

But if you ever catch yourself wanting to do X, Y, or Z not because it’s the right choice for you but because of outside pressure, just keep in mind: down the road few people will remember what baby-care decisions you made, and even fewer will care.

The only thing that matters is making choices you’ll feel good about, today and in the future.

3. You will make mistakes.

Remember what I said above about those oh-so-fraught decisions? Here’s a little secret: as a mom, you’re not always going to make the “right” choice (whatever that means.) You’re going to make mistakes, missteps, and errors in judgment.

And guess what?

Your baby will still turn out fine. Good parenting isn’t about doing everything perfectly, day to day. Instead, it’s the big picture that matters: do your children feel loved, secure, challenged?

You can – and will – make a thousand mistakes along the way and still raise happy, healthy kids. Keep that in mind next time you’re fretting over a bad parenting day or something you wish you’d done differently.

Learn from your mistakes, but don’t blow them out of proportion: I promise you, every other mom in the world is making them right along with you.

What “happy truths” about new motherhood would you add to this list?

This post is sponsored by Disney Baby. I’ll be joining the Disney Baby blogging team next month, and look forward to sharing more stories to help women make the journey to motherhood a happy one! Stay tuned for more details!

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