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What I wish I could go back and tell myself when I was a brand new mom…

{This post is sponsored by Mirum. Read my disclosure policy here.}

Just a few months ago, my oldest daughter turned 13 years old. I can hardly believe it, but I’m now parenting a teenager! It still feels like yesterday that I was brand new to motherhood.

Before my first daughter was born, I went into motherhood thinking I knew a lot about parenting and caring for babies. I didn’t expect motherhood to be a walk in the park by any means, and I knew there would be plenty of exhausting and trying days.

But I was certainly not prepared for suddenly feeling overwhelmed, scared, and even sometimes alone.

When Walmart asked me if I would write a post on encouragement to new moms, I knew exactly what I wanted to share. Because I well remember those days and I am on a mission to encourage new moms and help them to feel a little less scared and overwhelmed and alone.

With this in mind, here are 5 things I would go back and tell my then 23-year-old self…

1. You are not alone.

No matter how incompetent or unskilled you feel for this motherhood thing, I can promise, promise you that you are not alone. There are an army of other moms in the trenches with you.

Some of us may hide our struggles out of fear. Some of us may be more skilled in certain areas. Some of us may naturally have more energy or capacity.

But none of us have all our ducks in a neat and alphabetized row. We all have areas we fall short in. We all have times when we feel like we’re not doing a good enough job. We all have times when we struggle with “mom guilt”.

So, instead of trying to hide your struggles, be honest with those closest to you. Vulnerability breeds strong friendships like just about nothing else will.

2. You’ve got what it takes.

I know it doesn’t feel like you’ve got what it takes. You feel scared and unqualified. You’re overwhelmed.

Your heart is walking outside your body. You worry that you’re not doing enough. You wonder if you’re seriously messing up your child.

But I’m here to tell you: you’ve got what it takes. You can do this!

3. You won’t be this tired forever.

You’re tired of your child crying. You’re tired of waking over and over again in the night. You’re tired of doing the same things again and again.

You feel flabby and lethargic. You look in the mirror and barely recognize the woman staring back at you. You wonder if you’re ever going to be able to fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans. You wonder where all your energy went.

Trust me on this: you won’t be this tired for ever. Even though it feels like you’ll be waking up every two hours for the rest of your life and propping open your eyeballs with toothpicks to make it through the day, it won’t always be like this.

So don’t stress over tomorrow or two years from now. Get as much sleep as you can, accept any offers of help, do whatever it takes to get some shut-eye. And just power through, knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel — and it’s called kids who sleep through the night!

Also, please know that just because your 12-month-old doesn’t sleep through the night yet even though you’ve read all the books and tried all the tactics, you’re not a bad mom. You just have a child who struggles to sleep.

Don’t beat yourself up over it. Do the best you can, keep experimenting, and know that someday soon, your child is going to figure it out.

For now, just do what you need to do to make it through — even if not everyone thinks it’s the “right” thing. You are your child’s mother. Trust your gut.

4. You are going to work yourself out of a job.

Right now, it’s completely impossible for you to imagine not changing diapers, wiping bottoms, taking little people potty, not constantly hearing “Moooommmmy!”, not having to cut everyone’s food up, not having to buckle everyone in when you get into the car, not having to give baths, get everyone dressed, and help little people brush their teeth.

But there will come a day — and it will be sooner than you believe it will be — when you start working yourself out of a job. When those little people get a little bit bigger and they start learning how to do things for themselves.

It’s a S-L-O-W process, but looking back, it seems to happen in the blink of an eye. And all of a sudden you wake up one day and your oldest is 10 years old and she’s taking over the family’s laundry, helping with the cooking, cleaning bathrooms, and asking what else she can do to help you.

That day is coming. When it does, all these years of doing what seems like the same thing over and over again will pay off… and you’ll realize that those little people are turning into capable adults who are contributing to the family in significant ways.

In ten years from now, you’re going to look back on a deeply fulfilling and happy feeling knowing that all that hard work, sleepless nights, and exhaustion was worth it.

So, as much as you might want to some days, don’t give up! The best is yet to come!

5. You don’t have to do it perfectly or the way someone else is doing it.

Take a deep breath, be the mom that you are, and embrace what’s best for you and your family. You don’t need to apologize for it or explain it. Just be you, bravely.

Comparison is the thief of joy, and it’s so easy to look around at other moms and think they have it all together. Here’s a little secret: none of us have it all together.

Perfection is a myth and motherhood will look entirely different from one family to the next.

Walmart asked me if I could write on this topic because they know that many new moms struggle and wonder whether they are making the best decisions for their kids.

I know that one area where a lot of moms struggle is when it comes to breastfeeding versus formula. I’m a huge advocate of breastfeeding and was blessed to be able to nurse all three of my kids. But I know that not all moms can and I also know we have a lot of moms who are adoptive moms.

Which is why I am grateful that there are options out there for high-quality formula that is more affordable. One simple way to save on formula is through buying store-brand formula.

If you’re looking for a way to save money on formula, Walmart offers a really great non-GMO infant formula at lower store-brand prices! Plus, there is an Ibotta rebate available for it right now! AND, you can win a $200 Walmart gift card!

There are four non-GMO formulas to choose from that will save you up to 50% annually compared to their nutritionally similar national brands:

  • Parent’s Choice™ Infant Non-GMO Formula — Milk-based formula that provides complete nutrition for your baby’s first year 0-12 months and features a blend of nutrients that supports your baby’s health and brain development. Nutritionally comparable to Enfamil® Infant Non-GMO!
  • Parent’s Choice™ Advantage® Non-GMO Infant Formula — This infant formula is designed to be more like breastmilk and features a blend of nutrients that support your baby’s growth and development from birth to 12 months of age. Nutritionally comparable to Similac Advance Non-GMO.
  • Parent’s Choice™ Sensitivity® Infant Formula — Designed for babies with fussiness and gas because of lactose intolerance. Nutritionally comparable to Similac® Sensitive®.
  • Parent’s Choice™ Gentle® Formula — Milk-based reduced lactose formula with easier to digest proteins that contains 25% less lactose than standard, milk formula. Nutritionally comparable to Enfamil® Gentlease® Non-GMO.

And right now there is an Ibotta offer to save $3 off any of the formulas listed above! So not only will you score the savings of the store-brand formula, but you’ll also save on top of that with this Ibotta deal!

Win a $200 Walmart gift card!

What’s your best advice for a new mom? Use the widget below to share it with a community of other moms, and you’ll be able to enter a giveaway for your chance to win a $200 Walmart gift card! There are 25 gift cards up for grabs!

The Parent’s Choice Formula #MomsKnowsBestWM Sweepstakes

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20 Comments

  • Jen says:

    I just wanted to throw out there that I was unable to breastfeed and I used Walmart brand formula. In fact, I used Walmart brand everything. I wanted to let others know I found Parent’s Choice products to be a great quality when my kiddo was a baby.

  • Alicia says:

    It really does go by so fast! I have a little of both, my oldest is 10 and my youngest is 6 months. The funny thing about having a 10 year old and baby is that it brings back SO many memories of when my oldest was a baby! I can hardly believe how much he’s grown!!

  • Mackenzie Foust says:

    Crystal, thank you so much for this! Great advice for new moms! My oldest is 13 and like you, it seems like it was just yesterday that we brought her home.
    To a young mom I would say similarly that the hard place you may find yourself is just a season. Your baby will eventually sleep through the night, not sleep in your bed, and pee in the potty. Think of all the not so smart people you know that were able to accomplish these things 😉 , your babes are good! Most importantly, know that you are loved and seen by the God of the Universe. Cry out to Him! He can take it!

  • Amy says:

    An older woman once told me “ Honey, this season you are in, it is so short. The season I am in goes on forever “ it has shaped my attitude, soon oh too soon they will be gone.

  • Archie says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I am always reminded my mom that she did a great job raising me and my older brother and we are both doing great things. Thanks for your wisdom in all that you do. You are doing a great job. Lately the Lord open doors for me on my job to encourage moms to continue to do their best and let their kids help out around the house and be patient with them. It has been amazing to see how the customers have told me it has helped them and I even told them about your blog so they can be encourage. To me sometimes a person has to slow down and ask for wisdom. Again you are doing a great job. Also a mom has to do what is best for them and their family.

  • Chantel Lloyd says:

    The days are soo long but the years seem to rush by. My “baby” is now 23 years. Our youngest is 4 years. I know the day will come when we are empty nesters and I can’t say that I am totally looking forward to that day. My best advice would be to NOT sweat the small stuff. Is my house a total mess but the kiddos had fun that day? That is always a win in my book! I can always clean tomorrow…..

  • Stephanie says:

    When my youngest was a baby we had a horrible time finding something that she would keep down. We finally found a Walmart brand formula that was the only thing that would work on her. Not only was it cheaper, but it helped more than any of the name brands we tried.

  • Sandra says:

    For those of us who aren’t “new” moms anymore, let’s live by the motto of “Moms should help other Moms out”.

    Mine are now 13 and 11. I try to make sure that I hold doors open, for the stroller pushing, or the multiple child hand holding moms. I take their shopping carts from their cars for them, so they can get their little ones safely in their cars.

    I help them look for their lost children in the stores, because one day years ago, it was my daughter who I couldn’t find at the dollar store. I ran to the front door, yelled ” I can’t find my daughter”. The workers just looked at me, so did most of the shoppers. But two women, a mother and daughter got out of line. The mother ask my daughters name, and what she looked like. She stayed at the door, and her daughter and I looked through the store until we found her. I was in tears, and the mother hugged me and said “Moms need to help Moms out”.

    I still thank that woman everyday, and I pass this on as often as possible. We all need to help each other out, especially help the new moms.

    • Gina says:

      “Moms need to help Moms out”!! Wow!! That should go on t-shirts, bags. It is such a powerful thought to keep in mind and practice. Thanks for sharing.

  • Guest says:

    Crystal, thank you for sharing this. I had never been around babies (I’m an only child and didn’t have occasion to be around babies) and I felt like that stage was never going to end. Even as a teenager, I was very protective of my sleep time – to bed by 9:30, up by 6 – and then getting so little sleep…I know why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture! Anyway, I agree with getting sleep whenever/however you can.

    I also wanted to thank you for acknowledging that not all women can breastfeed. I had a medical condition that prevented me from breastfeeding and I remember the lactation nurse crying with me and telling me that it was okay to mourn the loss of what I thought would be (nursing) and to remember that the goal is to nourish and nurture your child and you can do that with formula. Eleven years later my extreme sadness seems kind of silly but it was such a huge disappointment to me and everywhere I turned were “Breast is best” ads/signs/etc. If there are any moms reading this who wanted to nurse and were unable to do so, YOUR KIDS WILL BE FINE! Mourn the loss of that dream and then focus on your little one – s/he needs nourishment and love and you are capable of providing both even if formula is part of that solution.

  • Janet says:

    Crystal,

    I agree with all of your comments on Motherhood. However, for myself I have never had the “You will not always be this tired” when mine were young I was married but he never helped I came home to hit the ground running I ran an in home day care and had seven under two. I was exhausted, when they got older I was divorced and had zero money but determined mine would go to college, I lived homeless worked all the time and they made it. I was two years of what you might call empty nest and just about feeling caught up on bills and my youngest says move in with us. I now take care of three grandchildren and the twins are wearing me out they are two. I am 59 in a few days and all I can say is I am exhausted !!! Enjoy the journey as my son likes to say there will be time enough for sleep that first year you are dead. LOL

  • Sophie Piper says:

    I love your heart in all of this!!! Thanks for the encouragement….and telll me my second child really will eventually be potty trained 😉

  • JJ says:

    Your blog has encouraged me so much as a mom with Littles! My baby JUST started sleeping through the night at 2 years of age. After numerous testing, we finally found out he has a dog dander allergy. And we have dogs. 🤤🐕🐕 I am a HUGE believer that most baby issues have to do with allergies. Years ago doctors called constant crying colic. Now you can have a simple blood test done to determine common allergies. All 3 of mine had/have allergies. Once we were able to pinpoint and eliminate/reduce(didn’t kick the dogs out but made major changes to keep everyone comfortable and happy!)the allergens, it truly changed our quality of life. Sleep deprivation is no joke! We had 3 kids in less than 3 years(no multiple births), so sometimes I felt like I was in a whirlwind. I loved it and was challenged by it all at the same time.

    As far as Walmart goes, their Grocery Pickup has been such a blessing! I can see my subtotal as I add items to my cart, and I can easily copy/paste the receipt number onto the Walmart app for the savings catcher. You literally drive up, check in on the app, and wait in your car while they load the groceries in. Soooooo helpful!

    One piece of advice that has helped me a lot: when frustrated smile REALLY big. Like cheesey goofball big. It makes me laugh, because I look ridiculous. It also helps me relax. And I belt out a praise song. Because I need all of Him. Also if you struggle with anxiety, long deep breaths really calm and relax. And chocolate. Thank you for this!!!

  • Carol Goodlet says:

    My best advice for young moms: is your children will need to learn to live with imperfect people and you are totally qualified to teach them. They will never have a perfect friend, a perfect spouse, a perfect teacher, a perfect co-worker, neighbor, boss . . . or a perfect mother, so be kind to yourself. You can teach them the important qualities of forgiveness and grace by being your imperfect self. Admit when you’ve made a mistake; ask their forgiveness and thank them when they give it. In doing this you will not only teach them to get along with others you will allow them to accept their imperfections as well.

  • Crystal, your words are so important and they resonated with me deeply. When you are in the moment it is so hard to see the bigger picture. It took me almost 6 years of being in the trenches to finally come to recognize the things you mentioned in your post. I was the first of my friends to have kids so no one really knew or understood what I was going through and I went through many trying times. I wish I had someone like you around to tell me these things when I was a new mom, and I am so grateful that I can be that person to many of my friends who are now becoming new moms.

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