10 Things I've Learned as a New Mom

11:10 AM Mayen Acebron 1 Comments

“One generation full of deeply loving parents would change the brain of the next generation, and with that, the world.” - Charles Raison14

That pretty much summarizes how important our role as parents not only in our children's lives but to the whole world. 

I've been working as a full-time mom 24/7 for more than 18 months now! Whew! It's really the most tiring, the most difficult yet most rewarding job ever. So many things have changed in my perspective,  personality, attitude and most especially my views on parenting and raising a child. There are also plenty of things I've learned as a new mom and I want to share them with you today. 

I know I am just starting to this difficult wonderful journey to motherhood and I will definitely learn and unlearn more as I go along. I wish parenting has an easy to follow guidelines and simple hacks but alas it is far more complicated than that. 

I included some of my favorite excerpts from the parenting books I read and currently reading that I know may be useful especially to parents of a toddler.  

Here are the things I've learned as a new mom. 

Parenting is harder than I expected. I watched this video of Kristina Kuzmic titled I was Perfect Mom...Until I had Kid. And that video is on point! I can totally relate to it. Before I had Jarvis, I told myself, I am going to be this calm, cool and patient mom. I will never lose control in front of my child. Guess what? My baby is just 18 months and I already lost control 1,000 times. Kidding. But I did lose control more times than I'd like to admit. Whew.!Parenting is tough. Those who said otherwise are liars! 

I know I need to change and work on staying cool. So I try to address my issues by understanding my toddler, which leads me to the next thing I learned as a new mom, that...

I cannot wing my way to parenting and just rely on my instinct. I need help! I need to educate myself on how to deal with my child. I need books. I need great parenting articles. I need advise from parents I look up to. I discovered that I like to go the positive parenting and gentle parenting route. I want to do away with punishments and practice problem-solving with my child. 

"To love toddlers is to know them." No Bad Kids, Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury

When he misbehaved, we will try to find solutions by consulting him and asking him first what he wants to do to solve the problem instead of just punishing him and explain later. It's not going to be easy but no one says parenting is a walk in the park. I also know that it might not work all the time but we will try our best. 

There is no bad baby/child. I considered writing a separate post for this because I have a lot to say about this topic. But I decided to just include it here. 

Jarvis started slapping me and other people when he turned 14 months. Later on, he also started biting. He likes to bite certain people like his dad, probably because his dad laughs when he's being bitten, and his 2-year-old cousin. When someone tries to annoy him his defense is to bite or throw things or slap the person. At first, we associated the biting with teething but recently he's not teething and he still bites. The slapping has subsided but he sometimes throws things when he gets frustrated. I was so concerned when he started doing those things. I don't want Jarvis to be a bad kid. I feared that I am raising him the wrong way. Also, I cannot help but feel a little embarrassed when he slaps and bites other people.

To understand my son more and find out how we can assist him in this stage of his toddlerhood, I read some articles online about toddlers who slaps, throw things or hurt others. I found out that most toddlers go through that stage and that it is normal.

"Toddlerhood can be a time of intense, conflicting feelings.  Children may need to express anger, frustration, confusion, exhaustion, and disappointment, especially if they don’t get what they want because we’ve set a limit. A child needs the freedom to safely express his feelings without our judgment.  He may need a pillow to punch. Give him one." -No Bad Kids, Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury

There are several reasons toddler slaps, throw things or hurt others. One of those is that they are trying to tell us something they need.  They might also do it out of frustration or they think its fun or they like your reaction when they do it. Whatever it is, it doesn't mean that they are already bad. They are still learning a lot of things including how to control their emotions and express their need. Even grown-ups can sometimes lose control and lash out. 

I learn that my job as a parent is to teach my son about what is the right thing to do and avoid calling him bad or even punish him. 

"As the title of this book states, in my world, there are no bad kids, just impressionable, conflicted young people wrestling with emotions and impulses, trying to communicate their feelings and needs the only way they know how. When we characterize them as bad because we’re frustrated, confused, or offended by their behavior, we are doing them a great disservice. It is a negative label, a source of shame they may eventually start to believe about themselves. " -No Bad Kids, Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury

I highly recommend this book, No Bad Kids, Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury, if you are a mom of a toddler or soon to be a mom. Very helpful in understanding your toddler. 

Modeling is the best way to teach children. So I try to do a lot of that to Jarvis. I always apologize to people he hurt, to show Jarvis that we say sorry if we hurt other people. Then I will talk to him that we don't hit people because it will hurt them and we don't want to hurt people. 

I still don't see that he understands me right now or maybe he does. I cannot tell yet. But I will continue to tell him again and again because I believe that he will understand me eventually. 

"We mustn't forget that children are not just tiny adults. Developmentally, they have a long way to go, and the way their brains develop depends largely on how we interact with them."- The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting, Second Edition by Rebecca Eanes

I need to be the kind of person I want my son to be. 

"Behave the way you want your children to behave. They learn by watching your example! Let them see you being compassionate and kind."-  The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting, Second Edition by Rebecca Eanes

If I want Jarvis not to shout at me, I shouldn't shout at him too. And I shout when I lose my temper. I am really really and I mean really trying to work on that. 

Babies minds are absorbent thus they absorb everything in their environment. If the people in our home do not respect each other, chances are our children will not respect us and other people as well. If we curse a lot, there's a huge possibility that our children will pick that up and curse once they started to speak. Our children are watching us so we better be on our best behavior. 

However, the fact of the matter is, it is easier said than done. It's really hard to behave when I get tired, frustrated and cranky due to lack of sleep. But most of the time, I lose my patience easily during PMS. It's really challenging for me to stay calm when my baby is trying to test my limits during those times. I must admit I am still a work in progress. 

✯It is okay to admit to my son that I made a mistake. At some point, I know I am going to screw up. But I also learned as a new mom, that I must be ready to admit I made a mistake. To model that we need to own up to our mistakes and it is okay to admit that we messed up.

"We have an amazing opportunity, parents. We are raising the future of humanity, and love is the key to heal us all. It's time we strip away all of the “knowledge” that has been forced on us through culture, media, and community and get back, quite literally, to the heart of parenting. We were made for love and connection, and so it only makes sense to approach raising these human beings from a strong foundation of these basic and primal needs." - Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting, Second Edition by Rebecca Eanes

Children are to be respected and be treated with courtesy and dignity. Maybe you'll say, of course, I treat my son/daughter with dignity, I don't spank him/her. But it's not only about not spanking or not giving all sorts of punishments it is actually more than that. Often times, we adult forget to treat children like how we want to be treated.  

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.” - DR. MARIA MONTESSORI

Sometimes babies/ children were being reprimanded for having a bad mood or for crying. As if they are not entitled to feel bad or frustrated. Sometimes we force them to hug and kiss us even though they express that they don't feel like it. Imagine being kissed by someone without your permission. It doesn't feel nice, is it?

It's not a race! Before I became a mom, I often hear other people say that a baby should walk before one year old, talk before 2 years old and be potty trained at 3! As if there is a race and if your child missed the mark on a certain year, you didn't do your part as a parent or you probably did not train your baby enough. I saw parents put their babies in walkers as soon as they can, hoping that they'll learn to walk before they even turn one. Little did they know that it can do more harm than good (Google it). Heck, I also believed in using a walker to make a baby walk for so many years. We even put Jarvis in one!

Until I found out about Montessori and her philosophy. It turned out we don't need to rush our babies development. Isn't that liberating!? One of the reasons I love Montessori is because it teaches me to allow my child to develop himself at his own pace. No rush because we are not racing anyone. Our job as his parents is to prepare his environment to help him reach his full potential and watch his development unfold before our eyes! 

Jarvis learned how to walk without a walker. It's one of the most amazing things I've witnessed. I've seen him test his strength. I've seen him braved his first step because he knows he's ready. I've seen him fall and get up on his own. More about this experience in this post.

✯Do not compare your child's progress to other children. It took me a while to overcome this. With all the things I see on social media, sometimes, I cannot help but compare Jarvis' progress in terms of working on Montessori materials to other babies. I kind of touch on this in my previous post. I've learned as a new mom that babies have different timetables. They have different things they want to develop at any given time.

Jarvis likes to hone his gross motors skills rather than his fine motor skills, so we try to provide him with areas to move as much as we can. While some babies at his age would prefer refining their fine motor skill first.

At this point, our job as parents is to guide them and trust that they know what they want to work on or figure out at a certain stage of their lives. 

Trusting and following the child is one of the most important things I learned as a new mom. It's not easy to trust our babies to lead us to what they want to develop because well, we think that they are just babies, what do they know right? However, Maria Montessori believes otherwise having witnessed what a child is capable of achieving when placed in an environment he/she can safely explore. 

“Follow the child’ does not mean let the child do what he wants. It is simply an acknowledgment that the child has his or her own pattern – that we need to take into account where the child is at, rather than impose our idea of what the child should learn now.”- Rising Star Montessori

To be honest, I am still trying to learn and figure out this "follow the child" thing since it requires great observation and knowledge of Montessori philosophy. I guess it takes practice and trial and error, especially if you are a new mom. Unless of course you are well read on the topic which I am not. I am still learning. 

I still have several things I've learned as a new mom in mind but I'll share them some other time.

If you reached this far, then you are a rockstar! I know that as I continue with motherhood, I will learn and unlearn more things.  I also recognize that there is no one-book-fits-all when it comes to parenting because every child is unique. Therefore, every child has different needs. So it is very important as a parent to get to know our child. Thus, it all boils down to "following the child".  

At the end of the day, all I want is to be the best mom for my son. To let him know that I am always here for him to love him unconditionally no matter what kind of person he will turn out to be. 

I hope you enjoyed today's post! Thanks for being here!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your learning as a mom and I say I agree to all of them. God bless on your parenting journey.


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