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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 even begin 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?" And I spent a lot of time checking books and talking to other new moms I knew to make sure I was doing the parenting thing right.

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

Enjoy the time: Everything, every time, whether it's the pregnancy or the newborn phase. It's true what they say about time going 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 first smiles and the adorableness that you'll have with a baby. But savor the not-as-great moments, too, like when you have to abandon a full cart of groceries because your kid starts throwing up from a stomach bug. You might not appreciate it in the moment, but you will soon look back at that time and marvel at how you handled everything.

Be in the moment: Put the technology away, put the distractions away and focus on your kids. They know when your mind is elsewhere 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, sharing stories, commiserating and celebrating all are part of the support system you need as a parent. Not to mention the socialization your kids develop and the friends they make in the process.

Spend time with your husband or partner: Having kids doesn't mean that your relationship with your husband or partner should take 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-out mom isn't going to be a good mom. While your needs often will be low on your priority list, take the time to nurture yourself whenever you can and you'll be a better mom for it.

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

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