Remember, You Were Us Once: 7 Things First-Time Moms Wish Veteran Moms Wouldn't Say

Not all of us can claim the title of second (or third, or fourth or fifth, etc) time mom. But if you're a mom at all, you can definitely say you've been a first-time mom. I'm currently on the road to second-time mom status, but I'd still wave my banner loud and proud in the first-time mom camp.  

Part of being in this category means you receive a ton of advice. From moms of babies that are one month older than yours, to moms with five kids grown and living on their own - giving advice to the doe-eyed, first-timer is just what another mom does. 

But as my belly gets bigger with a baby that will soon knock my only-child from his throne, I can't help but reflect on things I hope to remember when I enter that coveted, veteran, know-it-all, seen-it-all, done-it-all, second-time mom status. One of those things is trying to remember how exactly to encourage the first-time mom who is deep, deep in the trenches. As a veteran mom, I hope I can remember those things I can say - or rather, not say - to a first-time mom to be an encouragement. 

Now, don't get me wrong here, I love the more-seasoned moms around me, and in fact, have already declared my undying love and gratitude for them and their truly helpful advice. But there are times that I think the further down the motherhood road you get, the more you forget exactly what it was like to be that first-time mom. (Understandable!) And to be honest, I can already feel myself saying many of the common sayings, even as I just plain grow out of the crazy, coming-at-you-a-mile-a-minute newborn stage - somehow they just seem to roll off the tongue pretty easy. But I hope no matter how many letters I add to my initial necklace, I can remember what it was like to be a newbie. 

In light of that, here are a handful of things I think we as first-time moms can all agree we wish those second-plus time mommas would refrain from saying to us - or at least, learn to say it a different way.  


  • "Don't worry about it!" There's a difference between brushing aside a new mom's worries because you've been there and you know that a newborn cluster feeding from 9 p.m. - Midnight is normal; and truly listening and relating to a mom who thinks her milk supply must be dropping and her child isn't getting enough food so apparently they're eating for hours on end every night. Empathize with her, and let her know you get it - that her worry is totally normal, and give her concrete reasons behind why it's not a legitimate fear. Remember when you were there? Remember how real that fear was? Remember the tears, the anxiety, the late-night Googling, the totally-confused-and-helpless husband? That's where she's at. Validate those feelings with everything you've got. 
  • "Try doing it with a toddler running around your feet!" This is essentially one-upping another mom - akin to bragging about how your husband bought you diamond earrings for a push present when her husband completely forgot that was a thing. Ain't nobody wanna hear about that. Being a first-time mom is tough, and there's a reason you (usually) start with just one child. Momma's need to be eased into this motherhood gig and I'm willing to bet that if your first-time-mom-self could hear you now, she'd roll her eyes. We get it, making dinner while a newborn cries in the sling shouldn't be that tough for us, but right now it is. We'll learn to not let those cries affect us too much in the future, but for now, it's all we hear and it's pretty dang hard on our hearts. So please, keep your mom-skillz to yourself for now and just tell me I'm doing an outstanding job juggling just one. 
  • "You don't want your child to roll over/crawl/walk! Enjoy it while you can!" This one always befuddles me. I mean, I could be wrong, but I thought as a mom you're supposed to want your child to develop normally and reach milestones and - I don't know - actually grow up to be a functioning human being some day. As a first-time mom, that kid is all I've got. I may change my mind when I've got 2+ running around my ankles, but for now, let me revel in the fact that my kid just crawled across the living room. It's a big moment for my kid, but it's a big moment for me as mom as well! I know, I know - it means I have to get outta my chair and save my child from life-threatening stair-falls more often, but isn't that part of my job description? You can laugh at me and say "I told you so," when I have my second and I'm desperately trying to enjoy the last few days of having a non-mobile child, but for now, try to just share in my joy as I freak out over the fact that my child just took his first steps.
  • "Enjoy every moment, it goes by so fast!" This one usually comes from the moms that have been out of the day-to-day trenches of motherhood for a bit. And we do know what you mean, and it's all well and good, but sometimes, the fact that we probably heard that exact line 10 times in one trip to Target while our child screamed in our arms and pulled all the cake mix boxes off the shelf because they're just. so. curious. makes that line grate on our nerves a bit. Maybe try just telling us that we're doing okay, and we're gonna make it. That someday, that little boy I'm carrying on my hip will be big enough to actually make that box of cake mix he just knocked off the shelves for my 40th birthday - and it's okay to not relish in this particular moment - as long as you take time to remember the good ones.
  • "Just Wait." "You think this is bad? Just wait until they're talking and have opinions!" "Just wait until they become crazy, hormonal teenagers!" "Just wait until you have two to juggle, you'll never leave the house!" I get it, parenting is hard, it's hard when they're a newborn and it's hard when they're rebelling as a teen. Different kinds of hard, but hard none-the-less. But these comments do nothing but to serve me a big ol' dish of doubt as to why I ever even had children. Instead, tell me about the good times, tell me that if I think this stage is good, then oh man, am I ever going to love it as they get older. Tell me about how your kids make you happy, how much joy they give you and how it's only gonna get better. Because I know you love your kids and there were good things happening as they grew up in your house. Help me to look forward to the road ahead - not dread it. 
  • "I just wonder if your opinions will change when you have a second..." Let's be honest, they probably will. In fact, I hope they will. That's part of life! But right now, my reality is one child. It's my world. I know nothing different, and while there are so many good things that I know I can and will learn from veteran moms, this one makes me feel pretty inferior and like second-time moms are laughing about my thoughts, methods and opinions from behind closed doors. It's like a passive-aggressive way of saying that I'm ignorant and wrong - and I probably am - but I almost wish you just say that instead. 
  • "If your first is good, just wait till your second, then you'll pay!" I hear this one a lot. My son is a good sleeper, and I totally know it's one-part sleep training, two parts just having a child that loves his sleep and needs a lot of it. But telling me that there's no way my next will be similar 1) demeans any little bit of work I did with sleep training, and sorta hurts my pride - but more importantly, 2) makes me scared-spitless of having a second because apparently they are destined to be a wild, insomnious terror that will make me pay for any good deed of my first's. No one can predict the future, so please don't give me needless worry. I prefer to live in the land of puppies and rainbows until my reality-check actually arrives and I can can wake up and smell the sleep-less roses then. 
No matter how many seats you have filled in the mini-van, we all know parenting is hard. It's complicated, ever-changing, life-giving and heart-breaking. Just as the number of children you call yours changes, so do your realities, thoughts, worries, hopes and dreams. As moms to just one, we know we have LOTS to learn, and we're looking to you veteran moms to guide the way. But please, don't demean our efforts through a flippant comment. We know you don't mean to hurt us and sometimes, we probably do sound pretty whiny and ignorant to you - but please, remember you were us once. You were that worried, scared, low-capacity, bright-eyed, positive - sometimes prideful - and likely totally ignorant, first-time mom once.

You know first-hand what a joy parenting beyond the newborn stage is. And so instead of saying all that other stuff, just remind us of that joy. Remember what it was like. Because you were a first-time mom not so long ago too.

Remember, you were us once.

9 comments:

  1. Haaa! I'm expecting my first in December and have been receiving tidbits like this already from some moms with young kiddos. Well intentioned, definitely, but makes me want to roll my eyes!

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  2. Those "just wait until..." comments always bugged me. I try really, really hard not to ever say them because it's so dismissive. Although I do sometimes tell people that it gets better, because in so many cases, it really does.

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  3. Gah! I can't believe you're already getting it, but I suppose it just comes with the belly-territory. :) Just keep taking it with a grain of salt and know they mean well!

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  4. I know, the "just waits" seem to be the worst! And I think it's sooooo good to tell people it will get better - just as long as you give them the why - rather than to make them be quiet. :) And you're totally right, almost all the time, it totally does get better!

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  5. Just had to tell you that I got the comments about sleep all. the. time. My first was and still is an awesome sleeper and it turns out my second was even better (slept through the night earlier on). So, not always true ;) Funny that you are hearing the same thing though!

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  6. Oh man, am I glad to hear about your second! It seems I'm destined for a horrible, sleepless child, but this gives me hope! Funny that you got them too. I figured it must be a "thing" when I started to hear it over and over again. :) But we can't complain too much I suppose!

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  7. I loved reading this because it felt exactly like something I would write! I have the same "I know that I'll realize ____ later, but for now just leave me alone!" haha. I actually just wrote a post on my blog about 5 things never to say to a first-time pregnant woman (http://wp.me/p5FuXU-5E) and I think the tone is really similar.

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  8. Thanks Taylor, just checked out your post - and yes, very similar! Seems that in many stages of life there are things that we can all remember to be an encouragement to other moms!

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