Gifts for Dad ➔

Being a new mom can be overwhelming, can’t it? This is especially true the first time around, but each time we bring a new baby home it’s almost like starting fresh.

If I could have given new-mom me a little heads-up back then, it would have lightened my load for sure. Here are some of the most important insights I would have shared:

Do not obsess over every minute detail about your baby’s nursing, pee and poop, and sleep schedules.

I filled notebooks with these details. I worried about forgetting to write something down. I stressed about my baby eating too frequently or not enough. And don’t even get me started on the issue of sleep! Seeing all the things written down on paper was A LOT and disrupted the little sleep I was managing to get.

RELATED: This is What New Moms Really Need to Hear

I would encourage new-mom me to let her baby be her guide. Notice any patterns and tune into them. But all that frantic note-taking and record-keeping . . . it really wasn’t worth all the stress.

Oh, new-mom me, you cannot spoil your baby, or toddler, with love.

Hold her as much as your heart and mama instincts tell you to and this includes when she’s sleeping. Go to him whenever he cries out because you are all he knows and you are his comfort, his home. Even when our toddlers or preschoolers act out, especially when they do, they need our love and patience to help them feel safe in their big emotions.

And when our little ones are feeling extra attached to us, not wanting us to leave them at preschool or leave their side at a birthday party, it is absolutely OK to listen to that little voice inside of you that speaks more strongly than the voices of well-meaning relatives or friends. Stay by their side. Build that trust. Attachment theory has proven that needs met in early childhood go away, but those that are denied, surface as issues or problems again and again.

Baby or child-led is (almost) always a good idea.

Whether it’s weaning from nursing or bottle-feeding, giving up naps, potty-training, drop-off playdates or birthday parties, etc.—let your child be your guide. This doesn’t mean we as moms don’t try things. It means we are so in tune with our children that we gauge their readiness. We don’t force. This is something I got mostly right as a new mom, and it would just have been such an encouragement to hear this support back then. Instead of all the disapproval expressed both in looks and well-meaning comments.

Take every opportunity to play with your preschoolers (and your children no matter their age).

Laundry, dishes, cleaning the floors, and just about anything else can wait. The connection, love, and pure joy that come from playing with your children is a blessing you don’t want to make wait. Immerse in their world of imagination, feed the ducks, play at the park, color, and finger-paint. Have a picnic in your backyard or on the floor of your family room while watching a favorite show. Build blanket forts and LEGO castles. Run through the sprinkler on a summer day and build snowmen on the snowy days. Bake batches of cookies and don’t worry about the messes.

RELATED: The Only Parts of Childhood That Last Forever Are the Memories, and I Don’t Want To Be Too Busy To Make Them With You

Long after all the messes have been tidied and we are left with a clean house, all these memories are what will fill our hearts and fuel our souls.

Yes, you will miss so much about these precious days, but there is so much more preciousness awaiting you in the seasons yet to come.

The treasures of motherhood don’t end with any particular early season. When I was a mama of babies that is something I worried about—that at some point along the journey the magical, thoroughly in-love feelings I had for motherhood would dim or fade. Surely by the time they are off to college and no longer really “kids,” right?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Here I am in this snapshot in time with a college sophomore and a college senior. A teen who is soon to leave the teen years behind and a real young adult. My passion for motherhood and love for mothering them has only grown brighter and stronger.

RELATED: I Never Knew I’d Love Having Big Kids As Much As I Do

So cherish each and every part of being a mama— from Mama to Mommy to Mom (and maybe your first name or another nickname). The good stuff is not limited to any age or stage.

Sydnei Kaplan

I'm a mom and wife, blogger, freelance writer and author of a soon-to-be released children's picture book. I strive to help moms navigate all seasons of motherhood and reassure that parenting evolves but never ends. Find me at Mom in the Moment, and on Facebook and Instagram. In addition to Her View From Home, you can also find my work on Collegiate Parent, The Real Deal of Parenting, and Grown and Flown.

Oh, How I’ll Miss Little You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child standing in leaves, looking up, color photo

Oh, my sweet little child, I wish you could stay this little forever. I wish these days would never end. They are busy, loud, and chaotic—but, oh, how I love them! They make my life feel whole. Complete. I don’t know what I will do when these days are gone. I will miss your sweet little face looking up at me. The innocence in your eyes. Your sweet little grin. I will miss how your face lights up when you see me. How your little arms manage to give me the biggest hugs. How I can make everything better with...

Keep Reading

There’s Just Something about a 4-Year-Old

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
4 year old girl smiling outside

There’s just something about a 4-year-old. The way their bubbly laughs and sweet little faces still have some traces of babyhood while they’re transforming into more and more of their own unique person right before your eyes.  The way they ask questions about everything under the sun, listen wide-eyed to your clumsy answers, and believe every single word you say. It’s so innocent (and scary) the way they believe absolutely anything you tell them—just because you’re “mommy.”  The way their still-a-little-chubby hand finds yours. And the way they still come running to you for a hug and kiss when they’re hurt. Or...

Keep Reading

Find the People Who Will Root for You

In: Friendship, Kids, Motherhood
Empty sports field, color photo

My son participated in tryouts out for a new travel soccer team at the end of a recreational fall soccer season one chilly evening in November. He has been playing recreational soccer since he was three years old when we started with the local club. He has been asking about joining a travel team since kindergarten. In recent seasons, I watched him struggle in the recreational league. I watched him wanting a little bit more in the sport as he developed his passion—he was ready to grow.  We knew he loved soccer, and it was something he had always wanted...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Raise Your Babies to Be Little Forever, but I Thought I’d Have More Time

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Little boy peeking over wooden fence, color photo

I can see the yellow blur of the school bus passing in front of my window. Soon my little boy will excitedly burst through the front door with his picture of a giraffe from art class. His big brown eyes will meet mine as I get a toothless “I missed you, Mom” grin. He will tell me everything he had on his tray for lunch, recount the whole soccer game at recess, and share all about that hilarious thing his friend said on the bus. He will then sit on my lap as he takes each school paper out of...

Keep Reading

No Man in a Girl’s Life Holds More Influence than Her Dad

In: Kids, Marriage, Motherhood
Father and daughter on amusement ride, color photo

As I sat outside Walmart watching my husband of nearly 16 years walk in with my 9-year-old daughter to buy me a box of tampons, I realized how blessed I am.  This is real life. Not only does he not care about running into the store and picking up these items, he asks our girls if they want to join him, and they use this time to talk. They talk about real-life—about growing up, changing bodies, what tampons are even for, how they can wait years and years before they need to start dating, how he will be waiting outside...

Keep Reading

My Little Girl Has Big, Brave Dreams

In: Kids, Motherhood
School paper with little girl's handwriting, color photo

My 6-year-old daughter wants to be a soldier.   When we heard from the ultrasound tech that we were having another girl, that was not exactly the career path that popped into our heads.   There’s something absolutely terrifying knowing your child wants to do something big like this. I’m sure I’d be petrified if I had a son with the same ambition, but there’s something extra scary about it being your little girl. There’s something weighty about raising a daughter who wants to be a soldier. But honestly, it’s not a surprise at all. RELATED: God Has Filled Your...

Keep Reading

As My Children Grow, I Miss It All—Even the Sick Days

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toddler on mom's shoulder

I whisk my daughter through the doors of urgent care and cradle her head as I stand behind three other mamas clinging to their babies. We’re each rocking in different ways but moving nonetheless. The silent, comforting rhythm of motherhood. I see sad, sick eyes from the babies with their heads nestled into the necks of their mama. I’m tired from the sleepless night, and I shift from foot to foot. There is hushing and humming and back-patting. A pacifier drops to the floor. All of a sudden my daughter feels heavy. A vague sinking feeling comes over me, like...

Keep Reading

Life with Autism Is Full of Ticking Time Bombs

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother, father, teen daughter, color photo

Many of us who live with autism are familiar with the comings and goings of the ticking time bomb—one that disappears for periods of time, so much so that we might forget about it. Then, suddenly, this bomb drops at our doorstep in the form of a returning or new obstacle, so intense that it causes us to pause our lives, alter our plans, maybe even change our current paths. For our family, the new challenge has been sudden, piercing, sporadic screams. Not constant, not even often, thankfully, but jolting nonetheless. So here we were, in the midst of our...

Keep Reading

Youth Sports Build Strong Kids

In: Kids
Young girl with gymnastics medal, color photo

My kids are heavily involved in sports. My son plays for an elite basketball team and my daughter competes on an Xcel gymnastics team. It takes up a lot of our time and a lot of our money. Even though prioritizing youth sports seems to be an American norm, we still sometimes receive criticism and judgment as to why we would spend so much of our time and resources on it. (“Don’t you know the chances of your child going pro is less than 1%?”) As I sat at my daughter’s gymnastics meet, listening to the parents cheer so excitedly...

Keep Reading

Don’t Let Anyone Rush You, Mama

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother with two kids at home relaxing

From the moment our children are born, other people make it challenging to stay in the present moment—they start asking questions that look forward instead of at the now we are in. Can you believe how big she’s getting, where did your newborn go? Oh my goodness, he’ll be walking any day now! Are you thinking about preschool? What will you do when they’re both in school? What will you do when your baby goes to college? While these questions may come with good intentions, they’re not helpful at all. We moms need to be allowed to be fully in...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections