Number of kids and ages: Three - Greta (5), Lucy (3), Annie (1)
The most surprising thing about being a first-time mom is sometimes no matter what you do, your baby just won’t sleep. Our first daughter, Greta, would never nap longer than 20 minutes as an infant. Our second daughter, Lucy, just started sleeping through the night at 3.5. Our third, Annie, was sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old. We did the same thing with all three and got three different outcomes. It doesn’t matter what sleep training method you use, what swaddle they are wrapped in, or what bassinet, bed, or crib they are in, sometimes they just don’t want to sleep. This is not something I learned to accept right away. However, after our second and third, I realized that everything in motherhood has a season. The sleepy days and nights won't last forever. Some days will be hard and some days you will totally rock - and that’s OK!
My expectation vs. experience breastfeeding was my expectation was that it would be really difficult and I would hate it, but it was the opposite. I was fortunate that all three girls quickly got the hang of nursing and I enjoyed it, that is, until I didn’t. I expected that I’d be able to just stop when I wanted. Hello mom guilt! I felt guilty that I wanted to quit even though breastfeeding came so naturally to me. Our second daughter also didn’t let me quit - she NEVER took a bottle. Before our third daughter was born I decided I would stop when it felt right and I wouldn’t feel guilty, and that felt good.
The best piece of advice about motherhood is accept help. It truly takes a village and we are not meant to do it alone. With our first, I thought I had to do it all. It was hard for me to let go of control. But when our second was born and she didn’t sleep, I quickly realized there was no way I could function if I didn't accept help. One day, after a particularly long night with Lucy, I called my mom crying. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and anxious. She insisted she come help. She cooked, cleaned, watched the girls, and, most importantly, let me sleep. Another kid later and I have realized that accepting help makes for a more rested, less anxious, present mom. I know the little things are actually the big things that I will miss the most, so being happy and in the moment is very important to me.
I am so grateful to live near family and friends who have been a tremendous support throughout my journey as a mother. It is because of this support that I am more confident as a mother. When I think about myself as a first-time mom there is nothing I would change. I learned so much about myself and am grateful for every experience. Now as a mom of three, I have learned to let go of the things you can’t control, embrace the chaos, and ask for help! They are only little for so long and time goes faster with each baby.