As my bump grew and we prepared for Asher to join our family, I thought I had a good grasp on what I needed to know about parenting a little one. I wasn’t a first-time mom and I already had one son — would adding another be so different?
I didn’t factor in that Joseph came to us through adoption when he was a one-year-old, and while I understood the rhythms of toddlerhood, I was less experienced when it came to babies.
If I could travel back in time and whisper into my ear, I’d share a few nuggets of wisdom for parenting and transitioning through the first year:
- Expect the unexpected. As much as we wish we could see into the future, we can’t. You can read all the labor and delivery chapters, but nothing will prepare you for actually experiencing bringing life into the world. You can soak up sleep-training suggestions, but it’s not until your little one’s arrival that you’ll know how to navigate nighttime. Parenting is one big experiment and we’re all trying our best, so don’t worry when surprises arise or situations don’t quite go as planned. Speaking of surprises:
- Be prepared. And by prepared I mean do not take one single step out of your home without diapers (I like these Huggies Little Movers) and wipes. I am so serious about this one, friends. It’s always the times when you don’t think you’ll need a diaper when your little one will have a what we refer to as a poopsplosion. We now keep a diaper caddy in our car, and I have all the praise hands for it. Having a designated, car-only spot for diapers, wipes, and hand-sanitizer makes all the difference. (Trust me: You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re scrambling for napkins and a forgotten blanket in the trunk to create makeshift wipes and diapers.)
- Give yourself grace. Motherhood is humbling. For recovering perfectionists, parenting can be a challenge. We want to give our kiddos the biggest love we can muster, and we heap on the mommy guilt when we feel like we’ve failed. It’s never too late to take a breath and start over. Nobody is perfect. (Repeat that until you believe it.)
- Simplify. Expecting a little one? Those department store registry lists can be overwhelming. But you know what? Babies are tiny humans that mostly need three things: your time, energy, and cuddles. Those squishy little ones require some snuggly clothes, a cozy place to sleep, a safe travel system, and lots of absorbant diapers. Do not worry about overcomplicating things with robots that warm wipes while singing and teddy bears that teach your newborn to speak five languages. Get the essentials (and okay, maybe a few special splurge items) and treasure the sweet time with your little one.
- Plan ahead. We’ve already discussed that parenting throws us curve balls, but that doesn’t mean we should forgo any parenting prep. A lifesaver for us has been buying must-have baby items in bulk. Asher is still in diapers (praying for the potty-training heavens to open!) and it makes life so much easier (and more affordable) to purchase a big box of Huggies Little Movers on a trip to Sam’s Club. (I’ve had multiple friends swear by the deals they score purchasing baby formula there, too. And for those of us who are small-town dwellers: Sam’s Club provides free shipping on diapers and wipes to members. Amen to that.)
I don’t think we ever “arrive” when it comes to parenting. Isn’t motherhood just one big giant adventure? I’m grateful we can learn from our experiences and pass along those ways we can make the parenting journey a little less stressful and a more joyful. As we prepare to add more littles to our family through birth and adoption, I need to remember to enjoy all the messy and wonderful bits of motherhood.
If you know someone who’s adding a little one to their family through birth or adoption, or who has a babe or toddler in tow, consider putting together a go-to diaper caddy for their car for Christmas. I promise you: You won’t regret it.
We include: Huggies Little Movers diapers (available in sizes 3-6 and especially made absorb on contact + prevent leaks), changing pad (choose one that is easily wiped clean), wipes (the sturdier the better!), diaper rash cream (parents will thank you!), hand sanitizer (expect the unexpected, right?), a few baby toys (baby will thank you!), and some disposable bags to place dirty diapers in.
Are you in the mothering trenches? What words of wisdom do you wish were passed on to you?
I’m grateful for Huggies Little Movers for inspiring me to reflect on my motherhood journey so far, and for helping me keep Many Sparrows running through occasional sponsored posts. Like always, my thoughts and words are my own. Please consider supporting brands and companies that support Many Sparrows.