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From the Trenches: Advice to New Moms

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

When I became a mom for the very first time, "clueless"doesn't evenbegin to describe my state in those first few days and weeks at home.Everything was, "Am I doing this right? What do I do now? Should I do this? Should I do that?" AndI spent a lot of time checking books and talking to other new moms Iknew to make sure I was doing the parenting thing right.

After having three kids and being a mom for the past nine years, Ican offer some advice to new moms who are embarking on this amazingjourney.

Enjoy the time: Everything, every time, whether it'sthe pregnancy or the newborn phase. It's true what they say about timegoing by so fast. Some days will feel like an eternity, but overall,this time with your kids is precious and fleeting. Enjoy it.

Savor the moments: It's easy to savor the firstsmiles and the adorableness that you'll have with a baby. But savor thenot-as-great moments, too, like when you have to abandon a full cart ofgroceries because your kid starts throwing up from a stomach bug. Youmight not appreciate it in the moment, but you will soon look back atthat time and marvel at how you handled everything.

Be in the moment: Put the technology away, put thedistractions away and focus on your kids. They know when your mind iselsewhere and they'll definitely call you out on it.

Accept help: No one can do this alone. When someone offers to help, take it.

Join playgroups: Talking to other parents, sharingstories, commiserating and celebrating all are part of the supportsystem you need as a parent. Not to mention the socialization your kidsdevelop and the friends they make in the process.

Spend time with your husband or partner: Having kidsdoesn't mean that your relationship with your husband or partner shouldtake a back seat. It definitely will at some points (or many points),but make sure to make this a priority as often as possible.

Spend time with yourself: A stressed-out, maxed-outmom isn't going to be a good mom. While your needs often will be low onyour priority list, take the time to nurture yourself whenever you canand you'll be a better mom for it.

My last piece of advice: Have confidence in yourself. There are timeswhen you won't know what you're doing or if you're saying the rightthing, but as long as you are trying to be the absolute best parent youcan be, that's all that matters. We're all learning as we go along.

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