It’s normal to feel nervous about becoming a mother for the first time. As excited as you may be, you’re also about to be thrust into a whole new role that you’ve never had any experience with before. So with all of you expecting mothers out there in mind (and a very special one in particular…), we reached out to 10 of Lauren’s own trusted friends, family members, and confidantes for a few pieces of advice on new motherhood. Read their words of wisdom below…
1. It’s all going to be OK.
My advice would have to be: It’s OK to be tired. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to put your crying baby down and take a moment for yourself to breathe. Sleep when your baby sleeps. You are going to get a lot of advice; so just listen politely, smile, nod and then do what YOU think is best for you and your baby. – Kathy Conrad, Lauren’s mother
2. Soak up every moment.
Remember that everything is temporary. Treasure all of the cute, sweet moments and phases. Babies change so quickly that some stages may only last a few days. Capture every new sound, expression and movement so you can look back on them. Stay calm when things get challenging. Remind yourself that the stressful times are phases that will pass as well. You’ve got this. – Hannah Skvarla, cofounder of The Little Market and mom to Liora, age 2
3. No one loves their job every single day.
Becoming a new mom is one of the most exciting and scariest things you will go through. It is impossible to be completely prepared for what is to come. Having my daughter has hands down been the most rewarding job I have ever had. I think if I had to give a new mom my top three words of advice it would be this….
1) Motherhood is like a job. And no one loves their job EVERY SINGLE DAY. That is OK! Being a mom is one of the hardest things in the world. But it is also the most rewarding thing to watch this little human grow into person they are supposed to be. Don’t compare yourself to others. Even the best parents in the world don’t have a manual. Sometimes we are all just winging it!
2) It does get easier—the sleep deprivation, the breastfeeding, the feeling that you have no idea what you are doing—it all gets easier. Every stage is a season. Try to enjoy it while you are there. Because before you know it, you are on to the next!
3) Go with your gut! As I am spilling my own advice on to you right now, at the end of the day, you know what is best for you and your baby. Everyone will have their own opinions on bottle vs. breast, sleep training, pacifiers, vaccinations—the list goes on. Every baby is different and every mom parents differently. Do what feels right to you! That is always the best answer. – Jeannie Bendel Scharetg, Lauren’s friend and mom to Chloe, age 3
4. Let it go.
Dear New Mom,
LET IT GO… yes, I know it’s the title of an uber-popular Disney song, but these are truly important words for new moms. If you are having a baby, then you probably have friends who have or are having babies. Don’t compare yourself and don’t bother with others who compare you and your baby. Every little life grows on his or her own schedule. Follow your doctor’s advice, but more importantly follow your heart. In all the postpartum hormonal upheaval, it is challenging to stay centered and calm. If you can learn to let it go, you and your new person will be happier.
When someone gives you advice that you haven’t asked for, just smile and say, “thank you.” When you can’t get in the shower all day because of the needs of your little one: grab the deodorant and take advantage of the baby powder and pray your partner gets home soon. When the baby is crying and crying and crying and you’ve fed, changed, burped, and checked him or her for ouchies: just hold that precious little bundle tightly in your arms and sing your favorite song over and over, as softly as possible (heck, sing “Let It Go”!). This will calm you and, eventually, calm baby. And, perhaps most importantly, accept help. When someone offers (in my case, begs!) to hold the baby or watch the baby, let them! You are with that new person almost 24/7. Take a break, it will benefit both of you. – Anna Salvatore, Lauren’s mother-in-law
5. If all else fails, call your mom!
When I had my first baby all of my girlfriends had just had their first, too. It was amazing to hang out with them and share all the ups and downs that came with being a mom for the first time. But it also made me realize that just like we all had different birth stories, we also had different approaches to being a mom, especially for the first time. And most of those differences came from how our own mothers parented us.
So here is my advice to my beautiful friend and soon to be new mom:
Rely on your girlfriends for support and camaraderie, but rely on your instincts whenever you are in doubt. As moms we come with built-in instincts that help us get through all the little moments that seem scary and unknown. And if all else fails, call your mom! – Kate Martindale, prop stylist and mom to Bella, age 13 and Cade, age 8
6. Remember that you and your partner are a team.
Make sure you and your significant other are on the same team, trust that you both know what’s best for your children, and encourage each other with reminders that he/she is doing a great job. The other morning both babies were crying and my husband looked over at me and laughed, winked, and said, “We’ve got this.” Sometimes laughter is the best remedy! Babies are going to cry and it’s OK. – Amy Nadine, Lauren’s makeup artist, cofounder of Practically Perfect Baby and The Beauty Department, and mom to Jones, age 1 and Iverson, 2 months
7. Invent your own parenting philosophy.
When Eden was born 2 ½ years ago, I was among the first of my friends to become a parent. Of course this made the adjustment harder and felt more isolating in a lot of ways, but the silver lining was that I was blissfully unaware of the great debates that exist over so many parenting philosophies—unmedicated childbirth vs. epidural or caesarian, co-sleeping vs. sleep training, formula vs. breastfeeding, babywearing vs. stroller pushing, purees vs. baby led weaning—the list seriously goes on and on.
Of course a few months into this parenting gig, I became aware of how strongly mothers on both sides of the spectrum feel about all of these issues. But I continued to approach parenting in the way I had started out—sans dogma. I continue to believe that nothing is black and white and there’s no need to attach a stigma or even a label to any parenting decision you make. Just trust your gut, don’t pay attention to any outside voices other than the ones you really trust, and in most cases, you will probably land somewhere in the middle.
(Also, don’t think you have to stop traveling or eating grownup food! In my experience, the best way to end up with a child who is an easy traveler and a good eater is to travel with them often and feed them what you like to eat from the get go.) – Ilana Saul, LaurenConrad.com managing editor and mom to Eden, age 2 ½
8. Ask for help.
It’s OK to ask for help. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s not always easy to admit when you can’t handle something on our own. There is no instruction manual for motherhood and definitely no “one size fits all” policy when it comes to caring for a newborn, so leaning on your family and friends is really important. Before becoming a mama, I was used to being in control of my world. I didn’t like asking for help because I felt like I was capable of handling most situations, but having a small human flipped that upside down.
It wasn’t always about whether I was capable of handling things; sometimes it was just that there weren’t enough hours in the day and I needed 15 minutes to shower in peace… while crying and drinking a glass of wine. (Note: new mothers are allowed to drink wine in the shower. That’s not advice; that’s actually a rule.). Leaning on those around you to help cook, clean, babysit, run errands, etc. is totally acceptable. In fact, those closest to you want to help. It may not be the easiest thing for some new mamas (particularly for the sort of #girlboss who commits to making a piñata from scratch and basically cooking all the food for her party planning books from scratch!), but I encourage you new mamas to embrace as much help as you can get. Trust me; when you have a two-year-old with a penchant for toddler tantrums, people somehow became a bit less eager. – Leslie Bruce, LaurenConrad.com contributor, founder of Unpacified, and mom to Tallulah, age 2
9. You will not always do it “right,” but you are still going to be an amazing mother.
Advice is something you will be getting from just about every person in your life, so I’ll keep this simple. You are going to be an amazing mother. Whether you do it “right” is not the point. You will never do everything right, even with the best of intentions. What matters is if you do it from the deepest place of love and you try. We all make mistakes. We are all guilty of being pushovers for our kids. Honestly, the mistakes are necessary. That’s the soul growth. Plus, what else will you talk about with other moms over dinner and a margarita?
So final last words…try to take it easy, share the good stuff AND the bad stuff with other mamas so that we can all feel normal, and know that once you get through the first two weeks of nursing it gets 75 percent easier! – Haylie Duff, founder of Real Girl’s Kitchen and mom to Ryan, age 2
10. Have fun.
Accept all the help you can get, and don’t try to do it all on your own.
Mothers have a strong protective instinct, and you believe that no one else can look after your baby like yourself… it’s an internal conflict every mother goes through and at times I still struggle with it. If you have people around you to help, let them. Us mothers could use some time for ourselves occasionally!
Also, have fun with your kids! Laugh with them and play with them. Children remember having fun more than they remember having things. – Jennifer Delgado, Lauren’s friend and mom to Bella, age 3, and Francis, 4 months
Do you have any advice you would give to a new mother?
We’d love to hear it below.
XO Team LC