First time moms…
There’s something magical about you, because becoming a mother for the first time takes you for a brand new thrill ride. Everything is uncharted territory: pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding, diaper changes, night waking, sleep schedules, transitions, potty training, tantrums, weird rashes, communicating, and so much more. All brand spanking new. It makes the days long, as each is full of novelties, yet so completely rewarding.
Honestly, I miss being a first time mom.
When I look back at photos of my early mothering days I see the joy. So. much. joy. I remember being completely wrapped up in my children, and enjoying every little coo, spit up, diaper change, and smile. I remember how fun it was to be a new mom, even with all the heartache that comes with it. It’s part of the reason I think I was a better mom three years ago than I am now. I didn’t stress as much about getting everything done, and could more easily laugh about the small upsets in the day, instead choosing to stress about making all the right choices as a parent, reading loads of parenting books, parenting articles, praying about every decision, and trying to figure out my parenting style.
In many ways, my life as a first time mom was so simple. So calm. And I’m saying this as a mom who was greeted into the motherhood club by twins! Sure twins were hard, but I loved how slow paced our life was, how little we had, and how engrossed I was with this new phase of life.
But I am no longer a first time mom.
Life with four kids is very different. Our situation in life is very different with my husband putting in long hours in his PhD, me working from home running an online business, us homeschooling our now six year old twins, caring for a toddler, and a new baby, all at the same time, all day long.
While we still take a fairly relaxed approach to life, it’s different, and not as simple.
With four kids each with their own developmental and emotional needs, it’s impossible to sit and stare at a child for hours at a time, basking in the wonder that is him or her and the fact that you created this extraordinary human being. The basking comes only intermittently. And it surprises you, like, “Wow. How did you get so big and how did I get so lucky to have you as my child? You are stinking amazing!”
Because I’m now more worried about all the to-do’s, the (feels like constant) correcting, the teaching of good habits, the breaking up of fights, getting them to clean up their messes, again, and to find their shoes. Always the shoes, I am often too busy to really slow down and pay attention. Life gets busier the older your children get and more cluttered.
I don’t want my children’s lives to flash before my eyes. I don’t want them to be heading off to college tomorrow. I want them here with me, now, where I can still stare at them and dote on them like a first time mom, even if they aren’t my first child(ren).
Doting on Your Baby Like First Time Moms Do
Most days it feels downright impossible to give my children, especially my baby, the proper attention and doting that they require. There’s only so much of me to go around, and yet so many of them! But, I know how important creating a bond with my baby is, to make them feel secure, and loved, and wonderful.
Every time I have a new baby, I experience major baby fever. Their cuteness makes my ovaries ache. I mean, how could you not want more chunky, sweet, soft, innocent newborns?
My baby girl just turned nine months old. She has now been outside of my womb longer than she was in it! She will be walking and talking and one year old before I know it. To maximize on the sweetness that is a newborn, I’ve been doing the following:
- Taking pictures and videos of her! She changes so quickly, I’m trying to remember to document her every time I pull out the camera.
- Kissing her chubby cheeks as often as possible.
- Relishing in her open mouth kisses, her squeals and her laughs.
- Taking pictures of us together. The nice thing about having older kids, is that now I can get in the pictures more! (Most of the pictures in this post were taken by my six year olds!)
- Making sure she has her own special items. The other day I realized that we didn’t get Emily her own baby blanket before she was born, nor was one given to us for her (she’s been using ones made for her sisters, and her dad’s old baby blanket). Last week I decided to change that and picked up a super soft and fuzzy Disney Baby Minnie Mouse Plush Blanket from Disney Baby at Walmart. She loves it, and so do I.
- Playing Peek-a-Boo. I hide myself under her new blanket and see if she can find me!
- Snuggling. The blanket I got her is amazing to snuggle up in!
- Making eye contact. Even if our mother/daughter time is joined by a little boy and two big girls, I make sure to look directly into my baby’s eyes.
- Talking. I’ll listen to her coos and babbles, and babble, coo, and talk right back to her.
- Singing. I haven’t done this enough. But, I love to sing to my babies.
- Nursing. I love the one-on-one time that naturally comes when breastfeeding. It’s the ultimate mommy-child bonding time. Even with my twins, I preferred to nurse one at at time (as opposed to tandem nursing) because I wanted that special one-on-one time. I stroke baby’s arms and cheeks as we cuddle and nurse, clean out the wax from her ears, play with her soft hair, and hold her fingers. I love staring at her. I try to not use my phone or other device while nursing.
- Holding. Babies want to be held. It’s a need. So I oblige, even if she’s well over 20lbs already and kills my arms after only a short period of time. Thank goodness for my baby carrier!
- Tickling. I love tickling people, especially my own children.
- Hugging. The other day my heart about burst when Emily gave me a real hug!
- Tossing and Swinging. I’ll give her a little toss into the air, swing her side to side in my arms, or gently toss her onto a bed. She loves it!
- Sitting and Lying. One of the best ways to interact with a baby or toddler is to simply sit on the couch with them or lie on the floor. Babies love to explore your face, hair, clothes, legs, and arms, crawling all over you, and being near you physically.
The early years are key to a child’s healthy development, emotionally and physically. I know as a first time mom, I did all of these things with my baby, and have a wonderful attached relationship with each of my older three children. I have to be more intentional about making the time now, but it’s not all that hard. She brings me so much joy.
Being a mother is the greatest delight of my life. Having a new baby in our home, whether it’s our first baby, or our fourth, is incredible, even with the lack of sleep and extra cries and demands it brings.