In the spirit of good old Oprah, here is what I know for sure about being a new mom:
1. It is the greatest, biggest, most important thing you will ever do in your life. There is no greater job or thing a person can do than to bring a life into this world. That is the most amazing thing I can imagine. Each day is a new chance to make it great, to be the best mom you can be, to make a difference. Without you, this baby would not be here. It is a big
responsibility to be a parent. It is such an amazing thing.
2. It changes everything. Every little thing about having a child changes your life. I think you know that it will change your life, but you can't know how much it will until that baby is really home with you. It changes how you sleep, how your brain works and how much or how little you can focus, what you do with your "spare" time, who your close friends are, your marriage, etc. Some of the changes take some getting used to. Most of the changes are incredible and positive.
3. It changes your priorities with everything, most importantly it teaches you to put your family first and work last. One of the most difficult things at first to deal with when I became a mom was how to manage all of my new priorities. It was really tough to go back to work and to learn how to juggle all of my work and parenting responsibilities. After a few months, I figured it out. And now I'm happy to say that I put my son and family first before every single other thing in my life and it comes so naturally.
4. It helps you be a kid again, laugh more, and appreciate the little things by seeing life through your baby's eyes. Seeing my son get so excited about balloons outside a store or about bananas in the grocery store makes me stop and realize all of the sweet things that could make me smile if only I'd take a moment to see them like a one-year-old does.
5. It makes you put yourself last. This is not always a good thing, but doing it especially in the beginning of your baby's life is really important. It makes you feel proud, after seeing all you did for your baby.
6. It makes you want to be a better person, be healthier, do things right so you are a good role model. I watch what I say now because I know my son is picking up on my every word. I have more patience than I ever imagined I would, because I know he's learning from me and needs my respect in the process. I take time to do it right the first time, instead of rush through this parenting gig because I know I don't get a second chance at it.
7. It makes you appreciate your own mother more than you ever have before. The first Mother's Day I had after being a new mom I wrote my mother a really long letter thanking her for everything I'd never thanked her for before. I thanked her for getting up with me in the middle of the night; for feeding me good foods; for teaching me things; for instilling values and morals in me; for making me pray; for giving me clothes and a roof over my head; for giving me a band-aid when I fell and scraped my knees; for having me at such a young age and helping me turn out OK. When you go through it yourself, you realize how big of a job it is, and so even 20+ years later, you realize it's important to thank your mom for all she's done over the years.
8. It's really hard work. I know this sounds negative, it's not mean to. But it's the truth, and I believe in speaking the truth. Being a mom is really hard work. It's tough, challenging, stressful and just HUGE. The changes, the lack of sleep, the new-ness of it all... it makes it really hard work. It is of course all worth every second of hard work and struggle, but still it's OK to acknowledge that it's difficult.
9. It makes your relationship with your husband stronger. If you thought you loved your husband on the day you were married, just wait until the day you give birth to your child. You will appreciate and love your partner more than ever when you hold a baby that you created together. It's an amazing feeling. When Owen was about a week old I came into the living room after having taken a shower. Jared was sitting on the couch, holding Owen in his arms, up to his chest, and he was crying. I had only seen Jared cry maybe twice before in 10 years of being together. I went to him and said, "Oh, honey. You love him, don't you?" He just nodded his head and kissed Owen's forehead. He explained later that he just didn't expect to feel so much for such a little creature. It just hits you like that. Those sweet moments you don't expect make you adore your husband even more. Also, the fact that you're in this together, even through the stressful moments, it helps you appreciate the other person even more.
10. It takes strength, patience, courage, perseverance, a sense of humor, and the ability to admit that you are wrong sometimes. It takes a lot of inner strength to be a good mom. I know you have what it takes. You just need to remind yourself that you have what it takes, even on those tough days when the baby won't sleep and you are exhausted. You can do this. THAT I know for sure.