Mom Shares How To Raise Your 1st Baby Like It’s Your 3rd
There’s a lot about parenting that you simply won’t know or understand until you’ve truly experienced it for yourself the first time. Whether it’s the right diapers to buy, how many times to sanitize that pacifier that falls on the floor or whether to try that new sleep method, there are plenty of anxiety-inducing decisions to be made. But amid all the worry, as first-timers head into parenthood, there are those who’ve seen their way through it to lead the way.
One such mom, Caroline Chambers, recently went viral for her post sharing seven secrets to “raising your first baby like it’s your third.” As a preface to offering up her advice, the mother of three shares that the roundup is a combination of the knowledge she and her two friends, Amy and Gray, have gained along the way.
“We have all become calmer, cooler, happier moms with each new baby, and constantly wish we could just go back in time and give our first-time mom selves a hug and a dose of the knowledge we’ve gained,” Chambers explains in her post. “Our poor first-time mom selves were so tired from trying to do things “right” all the time.”
Here are Chambers and her friends’ seven secrets for bringing your best mom-of-three perspective to raising your first child:
1. Leave the baby
In the early days of parenting, it can be hard to step away. Months can go by before realizing that you or your partner haven’t had any time away to yourself. While this might seem like a luxury, Gray assures first-time moms that this is actually a necessity. “Leave the baby. Go on a date. It’s good for all parties,” she writes. “You can do something cool and different, get an early dinner and get a break from the bedtime routine.”
Her “tip within a tip” is to find a reliable babysitter early on that you can trust and will go back to time and time again. This way, you’ll find yourself “skipping out the door” instead of begrudgingly setting up your next time out of the house!
2. Your husband isn’t the enemy. The baby is the enemy.
While there is no “real enemy” and this is all said a bit tongue-and-cheek, sometimes you need a reminder that you and your co-parent are indeed on the same team. Along the way, there will undoubtedly be moments when you look at your partner and just think, “How do you have no idea what’s going on,” or “How did you mess this up,” but the truth is everyone is learning how to parent (and trying their best) one day at a time. Parents in the comments echoed this sentiment with one mother adding, “Once I figured out my husband isn’t the enemy and it’s really my husband and I against the kids, our whole family started thriving.”
3. This too shall pass
The terrifying and exciting thing about parenting is just how quickly things change. In this case, Chambers’ friend Amy looks at it as a plus. “This seems so overused but my god I’ve said it 1000000 times. THIS TOO SHALL PASS (TTSP),” she writes. “When they are really really little, those phases are so fast, like 2 weeks and its onto the next thing. A series of 4:45am wakeups, This too shall pass (TTSP). Spitting up, TTSP. Diaper rash TTSP. Throwing food, TTSP.”
4. Don’t save the chores for nap time
It may seem like a no-brainer to get the laundry done or do the dishes while you are distraction-free and the kiddos are asleep. But Gray believes the best time for chore time is really anytime. “Kids weirdly love watching you vacuum or playing with the suds while you wash dishes or chop things. Remember, they think you and everything you do is magic.”
5. Put on your oxygen mask first
You’ve probably heard plenty about the importance of self-care at this point, but taking care of yourself and your needs is paramount and goes far beyond getting your nails done or taking a bubble bath. “You can’t take care of your baby if you don’t take care of yourself,” Chambers notes. “Take a shower. Eat delicious meals with lots of greens and protein. If you feel sad, call your OB and tell her about those feelings. If your jeans don’t fit, go buy bigger jeans that look amazing on you. Get a blowout. Go get lunch or dinner by yourself and read your book with a glass of wine.”
6. The 4 Bs of bedtime routine (bath, boob/bottle, book and bed) don’t matter
It can get easy to get caught up in making sure you are playing by the book and doing the “right thing,” especially when it comes to baby’s sleep, but at the end of the day, if baby is getting sleep, that’s all that really matters. “As long as the baby is fed and in bed, they will not care how you got them there,” writes Amy. “Dunked in the bath once a week, they are FINE. Thriving.”
7. Remember to laugh it off
In closing, all three friends note that the most important thing you can do as a first-time mom is not to take yourself too seriously. “Having kids is a lot of work, yes, but it can also be so much fun if you let it be! Baby pooped all over the bed at 2am? Laugh it off. Forgot a spare outfit for the baby, and they had a blowout, and you had to take them to the pediatrician in just a diaper? Hilarious. Random babysitter you found on vacation put their diaper on backwards? Laugh it off.”