I wish I could go back and tell myself these truths a first-time mom:
1. You will in fact sleep again. Someday.
2. Breastmilk is really good for babies. So is formula. Do what you gotta do. They’re your boobs, it’s your baby.
3. Screen time is not the enemy. Make sure whatever your kids are watching is age-appropriate, then sit back and drink your coffee in peace. (Also, prepare yourself to have at least one cartoon theme song stuck in your head at all times).
4. I know those baby shoes are sooo cute, but put them back. Your baby will wear them exactly one time before the left one goes missing forever.
5. Always have an extra large bag of chicken nuggets waiting in the freezer for quick lunches or nights you’re too tired to cook dinner.
6. The one time you forget to take an extra change of clothes for your baby will be the one time she has a massive blowout in public. You’ve been warned.
7. The only people who need to approve of your parenting decisions are you and your spouse. YOU are the parent. As long as you have the best interests of your children at heart, ignore the naysayers.
8. Trust your intuition—it’s almost always right and it’s a valuable gift.
9. The pediatrician isn’t going to judge you if your kid is wearing mismatched socks at his well-check appointment.
10. Google can be both your best friend and your worst enemy when it comes to researching your kids’ well-being.
11. You will make mistakes. Push the guilt aside, and do better the next time around.
12. The $1 craft projects in the dollar spot at Target are sanity-savers and boredom-busters for the toddler years of stay-at-home motherhood. Throw a couple into your cart every time you’re there. You’re welcome.
13. The list of things you “would NEVER do” as a parent will get shorter and shorter as time goes by. It’s okay to laugh at pre-kid-you’s optimism and “insight”.
14. Your mood rubs off on your kids 90 percent of the time. If you’re struggling with their behavior, take a look at your own.
15. Make the pancake before you decide which shape to tell your kid it is. Accidental “dinosaur pancakes” are a whole lot easier to make than intentional ones.
16. No one who has ever had kids expects your house to be spotless—you’re the only one putting that pressure on yourself. Keep your house as clean or as messy as YOU are comfortable with.
17. Anyone who gets tired of seeing photos of your kids on social media or elsewhere can choose to keep scrolling. Don’t feel awkward about being proud of your kids. Show those babies off!
18. Your kids are just as lucky to have you as you are to have them.
19. If you ever get a photo of your whole family looking at the camera at the same time, frame that sucker. You might not get another until your kids are all teenagers.
20. Even when you swear up and down that you are SO READY for a break from your kids, you’ll find yourself missing them when you’re apart.
21. The best days are the days when everyone in the family stays in their pajamas. Cherish them.
22. Loving your kids in all of their forms is 95 percent of a job well done.
23. Marriage is a tough job, and throwing a baby into the equation will rock the boat more than you ever imagined. Keep working at it; your spouse is worth it.
24. Find your favorite kind of sweatpants or yoga pants and buy two pairs for the days you’re behind on laundry (AKA, every day).
25. Don’t be fooled—no one has it all together all of the time.
26. You are a good mom. SUCH a good mom. Extraordinary, really. There will be many days when you forget that, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
27. You don’t have to be perfect for your kids to really, really, REALLY love you.
Originally appeared on Bouncing Forward with Casey Huff
You may also like: