15 Things I Wish I’d Known As a First-Time Mom

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Mustela through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about Mustela, all opinions are my own.

13 Things I Wish I’d Known As a First-Time Mom:

1. It won’t be what you expected.

No matter how many books you read or classes you take, you will never truly understand what parenthood is like until you are in the throes of it. There are so many ideals I had and things I envisioned that were absolutely, in no way like reality. I found myself disappointed sometimes, because expectations are pretty much a sure-fire way to ruin anything, but then I realized that motherhood is also infinitely better than I had ever imagined too.

2. Sometimes it takes awhile for maternal instinct to kick in

Everyone always told me that I needn’t worry about the fact that I wasn’t a “baby person” in my pre-mom days and that my maternal instinct would kick in right away. But it didn’t…at least not that “right away” part. Sometimes it takes awhile for maternal instincts and bonding with a new baby to happen. It’s normal and it’s totally OK, so stop stressing about it.

15 Things I Wish I'd Known As a First-Time Mom // @ The Little Things We Do

3. How you feed your baby does NOT determine the kind of mother you are.

I was determined to breastfeed, but I struggled…like really struggled. It was hands down the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life. At a certain point I ended up having to supplement with formula. I felt incredibly guilty…like giving my baby formula meant I was less of a mother. Eventually I realized just how ridiculous those thoughts were, although it wasn’t until I had shed many tears over it. Good moms breastfeed and good moms formula feed. The way that you feed your baby doesn’t have any bearing on the kind of mother you are.

4. You will cry…a lot.

There will be tears, on tears, on tears. You will cry over sad and happy things alike…for a long while. Possibly forever. I never really understood happy tears until I became a mom. “Why would you cry when you’re happy?!” I often wondered. Now I get it. Watching inspirational videos of parents and children on Youtube gets me every time. Also, you’ll never be able to watch Law & Order SVU ever again.

5. You will never sleep the same again

Even when your baby finally does sleep, you’ll be awake worrying. And even though eventually you’ll find your sleep/wake groove, you will forever sleep a little lighter knowing that you are in charge of another human/humans 24/7 for the next 18(+) years.

15 Things I Wish I'd Known As a First-Time Mom // @ The Little Things We Do

6. Some baby items don’t really matter.

For all of the countless hours I spent researching baby products and gear, a great many of those items didn’t really matter. Sometimes those items I agonized over (I’m looking at you diaper pail!) didn’t even really end up getting used very much. That ugly, pink walker that was gifted to us? Sure I didn’t love it, but it only got used for 6 months and did its job just fine.

7. Some baby items do matter.

Everyone has those baby items that they absolutely swear by. You’ll probably think that some of their must-haves are stupid and they’ll think that some of yours are too. The baby items that really matter in my opinion are the ones that will be tied to lasting memories and sentimentality. For me those things include:

15 Things I Wish I'd Known As a First-Time Mom // @ The Little Things We Do

*The perfect going home outfit. You’ll remember it forever. I remember the cozy feeling of Clive’s first day outfit and the perfect, soft, grey stripes. I will forever associate my images of his first days of life with this cozy grey and white striped outfit.

*Baby’s first stuffed animal. Your little one will have years of snuggling it to come and you will associate it with sweet childhood memories (I swear by Jellycat stuffies…softest ever).

*Swaddle blankets. You’ll spend plenty of time wrapping your baby in one, using them as nursing covers, sun shades, etc. so choose a few good ones (I really like the bamboo ones from Aiden + Anais). Super soft!

*Baby bath products. When Fern was a baby, I didn’t really think much about what products I used for her and ended up realizing later on that the baby wash I had used for her was filled with all kinds of awful ingredients. Mom fail. I was really sad about it, because the smell of that particular baby wash will forever remind her of tiny, infant Fern. So, for Clive I’ve been on the hunt for a more natural substitute with a lovely “baby fresh” scent. This one from Mustela is so great and seriously smells just like “baby”…the smell I’ll want to remember.

8. Accepting help doesn’t make you a failure.

For some reason, during those early days of motherhood, I was bound and determined to prove that I was a worthy mama and felt like in order to do this I had to do it all by myself. I quickly became burnt out and overwhelmed and in turn was grumpy and terrible to everyone around me. There is no badge of honor to be won in motherhood. It takes a village to get through, so accept any and all help that is offered.

9. Despite your best efforts, you will change.

I remember swearing up and down that I wouldn’t let a baby or becoming a mom change me. I was still going to do all of the things I loved to do before I was a mom. I wasn’t going to talk about my kid non-stop. I was going to remain an individual and this new addition to my life? Well, she could learn to conform to my lifestyle. Yeah…that was a pipe dream. That’s not to say that one shouldn’t try to hold on to some autonomy after becoming a parent or that all of your dreams must die, but the fact is, you are now and forever will be part of a duo (or trio, or however many children happen to come into your life). You cannot enter into this bond between parent and child and emerge unchanged. The plain and simple truth is that many of the things that seemed so important to you before becoming a parent will pale in comparison to the joy that being with your children will bring you…and that’s OK.

15 Things I Wish I'd Known As a First-Time Mom // @ The Little Things We Do

10. Your body will go back to normal eventually…sort of.

Dude. Your body just grew a tiny human. Cut yourself some slack and know that things will go back to normal eventually. You may still have some stretch marks and things may hang a little lower than they once did, but it’s all part of the beauty that goes along with creating human life.

11. No one else knows my baby like I do.

People will tell you a lot of things. They’ll tell you how to feed your baby and how to get your baby to sleep. They’ll tell you how to discipline your little one when they get older. But at the end of the day, no one else knows your baby like you do. And sometimes the “right way” might look differently than what other people have told you. Trust your instincts on this one.

15 Things I Wish I'd Known As a First-Time Mom // @ The Little Things We Do

12. My way isn’t the only way.

Even though no one else knows my baby quite like me, it is important to remember that my way is not the only way. There were definitely a few times when I judged other mamas from afar for their parenting decisions, simply because they were different than mine. But maybe “my way” wouldn’t work for them and their children. Each parent and each child is different and it’s OK to do things differently. This is also important to remember when it comes to husbands. So many times I tried to micromanage when my husband did something differently than me. Different is OK!

13. You will screw up.

Motherhood is filled with imperfections and mistakes. Sometimes you’ll make the wrong choice and that’s OK. Live, learn and let it go.

14. No one else really knows what they’re doing either.

Despite appearances on social media, the truth is that none of those other parents really know what they’re doing either. Don’t get down on yourself about your messy kitchen or the occasional grocery store meltdown. It happens to everyone. We’re all just learning as we go. Parenting really is on-the-job training at its finest.

15. This isn’t forever.

As a first-time mom I definitely lacked perspective. I remember some nights spent sobbing in the dark as I rocked my baby for the 8th time that night and feeling like this was never going to end. But it does. This is a season of life. A challenging season, but there are also some moments of sunshine sprinkled in there too. Don’t forget to look up and notice them sometimes.


In honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve teamed up with Mustela to share this little bit of motherhood advice and they would love to hear from all of you mamas as well! Head over to their Facebook page to enter into their Mustela Moms Know Best contest to win a bundle of products (over a $100 value!). There are two winners every day, so be sure to enter into the contest daily with your tips, tricks and advice!

P.S. A you can purchase the aforementioned, lovely Mustela baby bath products at Diapers.com!


What are some things you wish you had known as a first time mom?


  1. LOVE this. My son is 3 1/2 months old and I thought we’d NEVER get out of the newborn days. I was miserable and put so much pressure on myself. There were times when I just didn’t want to be around him and I felt like the worst person in the world. NO ONE tells you how crippling PPD can be. But you’re right. It DOESN’T last forever. My husband urged me to seek help and I’m so glad I did. Thank the Lord for modern medicine. It’s SO much better now and I’m ENJOYING him.
    I say ALL that to say, spot on post!

  2. Tamara G says:

    I totally concur regarding the end of watching Law & Order SVU…or any other criminal show that in any way involves children. Done. 🙁

  3. Kristin says:

    Where is the sweet outfit from? I’m having my second baby boy in November and am on the hunt for a soft, simple going home outfit.

  4. Thanks for sharing those thoughts and guidelines… Will surely help a lot, specially for new moms out there… 🙂

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