Most of you are aware that my husband and I are Foster Parents. If you aren’t aware, well surprise! We have one amazing foster son currently whom we have had since he was three weeks old (Baby K).
Side note: My husband and I do not have any natural children yet, although we do hope to grow our family through adoption, we still maintain hope that God will give us a baby naturally. I’m throwing this out of the way now because it’s the number one question we get asked when people learn we are Foster Parents.
With that said, it should be very clear to you now, hopefully, that I’m a new Mom. I do not pretend to know everything about being a Mom and I don’t spend hours on Pinterest/Google/Youtube researching the sound of the gas my baby just passed obsessively (most days) but in my short soon to be 8 months of mother hood I have learned a few things that I wanted to share.
So here you go, prepare to be dazzled and I’m sure my book deals and talk show offers will be rolling in any day now….
1) We all don’t know what they heck we are doing and are literally just winging it. Every. Single. Day.
2) Sleep really is a long lost friend that you won’t see for a long time. Enjoy it while you still can (🎶hello sleep, my old friend…🎶, oh…that’s not the actual lyrics?)
3) Our kids are the cutest and most amazing things that have ever graced this planet and you can’t tell us otherwise (whether they are foster kids or birth kids it doesn’t matter) and even when they are acting like the spawn of the underworld.
4) Moms and women in general need to stop being so judgmental of each other. What works for me and my baby/kid(s) may not work for you and your baby/kid(s). That doesn’t make either of us wrong, it just makes us different and different is OK!
5) Everyone has an opinion on how you should Parent, the best way to care for your infant, the only way to potty train etc. but it’s exactly that, it’s opinions. Take them for what they are worth and raise your kids how you see fit. You are doing a great job and you aren’t going to mess your child up by letting them cry it out, or the way you potty train, etc.
6) People will absolutely judge you based on the appearance of your kids, especially in the south where we live. Seriously though, as long as they have decently clean clothes and shoes on their feet you should consider that a win and let it go. Don’t worry about what other people say/think. A superman Halloween costume with owl bedroom slippers and a Paw Patrol jacket may not match but it makes your kid happy so just let them do them and go with it.
7) It’s OK to take time to do something for yourself. Get that haircut/massage/pedicure or go see that movie by yourself and feel no guilt! You deserve it! You can’t take care of others if you can’t or aren’t taking care of yourself. Think of it like a gas tank. If your tank is always empty or running with the low gas light on you aren’t going to get very far now are you? So fill up that tank! Buy the makeup or Lularoe (within reason lol!) or make the appointment for your hair/nails or pour that glass of wine 🍷 and run that bubble bath 🛀 tonight! You NEED it and that’s ok!
8) You can’t always do it all by yourself! Ask for help and don’t be afraid or ashamed to do so. I’m sure you have someone or people you can reach out to (family, church groups, a spouse, your best friend or other Mom/Foster Mom friends etc) There is truth to the saying “it takes a village” so use that village when you need them and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t make you a better Mom trying to be a super hero that tries to take on everything by yourself, not that you aren’t an awesome Mom for your attempt at doing so. But refer to item #7 above again – your tank sometimes may run low so fill it up!
10) Don’t sweat the small stuff. Kid’s really don’t have unrealistic expectations on anything, especially babies. If they are fed, changed and cuddled then they think they are literally winning at life and things can’t get any better. If they are an older child, as long as you play with them, talk to them and show interest in the things they are passionate about or enjoy by devoting some uninterrupted one-on-one attention their way they are good to go.
11) Never pay full price for anything! They grow out of things so fast or move on to a new development stage in the blink of an eye so there is no use to spend hundreds of dollars to ensure the Baby/Toddler product economy is thriving. Clip coupons, buy things on clearance, yard sale, check out mom groups on Facebook for things for sale or that people may want to trade and be proud of the thrifty money saving Mom you are!
12) It’s perfectly normal to check numerous times at night to make sure your baby is still breathing. It seems crazy, or in my case sometimes makes me feel like I am a total psycho one step away from being committed, but we all do it! We are all good Moms and that is why we do it. We just want to make sure our little ones are safe and it is perfectly natural to do this. After a while you will find yourself doing it a lot less often but still, rest assured you are not alone. (Hanging my head in shame as I type this, while at the same time am entering the nursery to check in on Baby K for the third time in an hour…totally normal….) 😜
13) Put your phone down. It’s so second nature for us to have our phone in our hands 24/7 because we don’t want to miss a good Mom hashtag or Instagram/Facebook post opportunity, but in doing so we are not fully present and we are missing out on the moment itself. I’m totally guilty of this so I’m not preaching, I’ve noticed myself doing this more and more as Baby K progresses and I keep telling myself to stop, breathe, put the phone down, and enjoy the moment more. It’s easier said than done though, I mean who doesn’t love a good Mom hashtag or cute photo opportunity to show to our friends and family all over social media?
14) Make time for your significant other. Just as much as taking care of yourself is important, so is your relationship with your partner. Make the time to have uninterrupted conversation (aka kid free time). Get a babysitter, plan a date night and stick to it. Love Muffin and I try to have at least one date night a week. That date night can be as extravagant as going out to a nice dinner on the town, or it could be just putting the baby to bed, having a picnic dinner on the living room floor and binge watching our favorite show together. Whatever it is, do it. You have to nurture your relationship as adults/partners to flourish as parents together.
Note: for those single parents out there – this is the time that you should set aside to get out. Go out on a date (if you are interested in dating), or if you are not actively looking to get involved with anyone, make dates to visit your friends and go out on the town or have dinner with a group of friends. You must have social interactions with adults for your sanity! It’s also important for you to continue to nurture your friendships/relationships with other adults. Remember that village we referred to earlier?
15) Lastly, do what works for you and your family. My Mom Truths are just suggestions from my time in the hood. Mother hood that is. Which has only been brief, so clearly I’m no expert. These are the things that work for me and my family and I hope may be helpful for some of you other Moms/Foster Moms/Step Moms/Adopted Moms out there. I’d love to hear your Mom Truths too so comment below and let me know how you maintain your marriage/home/sanity while juggling life in the Mother-hood.
Until next time,
Crazy Jess 😘