When a little life is depending on mom, it can seem like every decision is of monumental proportion. But a mom will soon learn that she shouldn’t load their minds with worry — some things might seem big at the time but they don’t matter in the long run.
From the pregnancy to the birth to the first few years of life, moms feel the pressure about how the things that they do will impact the baby’s health and outlook on life. And then there are all the other societal pressures and things that they think make them a good mom. They want to have the nursery decorated perfectly and the best baby clothes and gear. Family pictures and social media status seem like huge deals, but when one really thinks about it, they are only the ways that we capture memories, not the ways that we make them. And playdates and activities might be important, but if moms load up too much, then they can hinder more than they help.
There are some things that matter a lot — like early intervention for a baby in need — and things that don’t, like being the first to hit a milestone. It can be hard to figure out when a mom is in the hormonal midst of it all, so we have some thoughts that might help.
Here are 15 things that moms think matter but they don’t (and five that actually do).
20 Screen Time Truth: It can actually be a good thing
We live in a very technologically savvy society these days, and many moms worry a lot about their baby’s screen time. That is especially true because of issues a generation ago with kids and video games. But moms might find that screen time isn’t as big of a deal as you would think.
For example, kids who watch shows like Sesame Street are shown to get value out of their time in front of the television. And there are a number of educational games that can help toddlers. We do recommend you be careful about the baby’s eyes and make sure that your child spend lots of time doing other things and going outside. But a little bit of screen time doesn’t matter as much as some people think.
19 Does Matter: Early Intervention For diagnoses
One thing that can matter a lot for a baby is early intervention. That means that while moms need to understand that milestones aren’t everything, it’s still important to note and talk to the doctor if your child is behind on them. There are a number of interventions and therapies that can do a lot to help a child with motor skill issues or other problems, and the quicker that the mom gets help the better.
For diagnoses such as autism, it’s possible for the doctor to be able to recommend therapies and begin treatment as early as the first birthday these days. And if a child gets the right support in the beginning, he can be the best version of himself possible. It matters a lot, so be sure to advocate for early intervention if your child could benefit from it.
18 Perfect Maternity and Newborn Photos: we all know that’s not what life is like
Family photos are important. In fact, we think that some moms who forget about taking pictures will regret it in the long run. But considering the energy that some moms put into getting the perfect maternity and newborn photos, it can really add some unneeded stress to a parenthood. We enjoy the artsy images that we see all over the place these days, but not all moms need to have a really in depth photo shoot with multiple dress changes and fancy smoke bombs in the background.
It’s also getting to the point where the newborn photos are all starting to look alike — a swaddled baby looking sweet while he sleeps. It won’t take long before you will want to replace that photo with a cute six-month picture or a funny family one a few months later. We think that photos should be taken, but you can save your money for a stroller and be just as happy with the results.
17 Schedule for the Birth: health is more important than plans
When labor and delivery is imminent, many moms start to worry about how the birth will fit into their schedule. They’ll worry that it could happen before a project at work is complete or come too late for a visit from a relative. But all of that worrying is for nothing because the baby will come when he comes.
This is another lesson that new moms learn about their inability to control everything. The baby has his own schedule, and he doesn’t care if the mom has completed her to-do list first. The only thing that matters about the birth is that everyone is healthy, and the timing really isn’t that big of a deal in the end.
16 Does matter: Watching Out For Signs of PPD
Lots of moms like to shrug off their emotions when they are caring for a newborn, especially since it can be normal to experience the blues after birth. But one thing that really matters — both for the mother’s wellness and the baby’s — is that she watch out for signs of postpartum depression and seek help if she needs it.
There is still a stigma attached to the idea of feeling depressed at a time of life that so many women have looked forward to. But if moms don’t admit their struggles, the condition could get worse. No mom should have to suffer in silence, so we think it truly matters that she gets help and gets better for the sake of the entire family.
15 Social Media Status: there’s no point making life look perfect
Our lives and our lives on social media are two different things. Most people tend to only share the best things that happen, making sure that their children are dressed and extra clean and smiling in the photos. But that isn’t real life, and it doesn’t really matter if you keep up appearances like that.
Sometimes the best picture of the baby shows a little bit of the mess in the background. Sometimes, the trip to the zoo includes a meltdown. And sometimes it’s not worth ruining the experience by spending a long time trying to take the perfect picture. We love it when moms post real-life experiences on social media. They keep it real, and live in the moment instead of the social media status, and that is what really matters.
14 Instant Bonding: it’s normal to take a while
Every mom dreams of the moment that she meets her baby. She envisions looking into her newborn’s eyes and immediately being filled with love. And many yearn to feel the bond even before the baby is born, as if that can help assure them that things are going to be OK. Many women worry a lot when they don’t feel that instant bond, but it’s not something to worry about because it will happen even if it isn’t instant.
No woman should feel pressured to feel a certain way at any moment, especially when she is going something as traumatic and painful as childbirth. The hormone changes can make it hard to feel much of anything in the immediate postpartum period. But we know that mother’s love their children, even if it takes a bit to feel a rush of emotion.
13 Does Matter: Mama’s Village
There is a phrase that has been around for generations — it takes a village to raise a child. The reason it’s lasted for so long is because it is so important. Moms need support to get through parenthood. The child not only takes her energy but so much more. But there are other people who are important in the child’s life, such as grandparents and teachers.
For the mom, it’s really important to have friends and family, not only to help her when she needs a hand with her child but to renew herself when she needs a break. We think that mama’s village really matters.
12 Getting the Nursery Decorated: the baby doesn’t care
When you are pregnant, there aren’t a lot of things that moms can control. The mom is going through a lot of changes to her body, and the complications can be a bit scary, so many women try to control other things, things that don’t really matter in the long run but that can seem very important at the time.
That’s what happens with some moms who feel like they need to do something tangible to prepare for the arrival of the baby. They might get anxious over pain colors and plan for weeks over furniture and accents. While it can be nice to have the crib set up before the birth, many babies end up spending their first few months sleeping in their parents’ room or in a bassinet in a family room. It’s fine if the nursery isn’t complete before the birth. After all, it won’t be long until you want to make it a toddler room with a theme that your little one adores.
11 Feeling Like A Natural Mom
To some women, everything about having a baby comes naturally. But that isn’t true for everyone, and unfortunately, that can be a big worry for some women who think that they will be a failure if things aren’t coming to them as quickly as they think it should. But they don’t realize that even babies need practice to get a hang of life with a newborn, so a mom should not be measured on how much she knows how to do without reading up or trying things out.
Parenthood is a learning process, and unfortunately moms don’t have long to figure out the basics of newborn care. But as long as the baby is growing and healthy, it’s OK if it takes a while to figure out breastfeeding or soothe the baby’s tears. Eventually, things will click, and a mom who didn’t feel like a natural at the beginning will know that she made it to become a great mom in the end.
10 The Best Baby Clothes and Gear: save your money
Everyone wants their baby to have the best. But unless you are a KarJenner, that’s probably not really possible. Still, many new moms think that they need to only get the most expensive car seat on the market to make sure that the baby is safe. They want the fanciest stroller and the nicest baby clothes.
But the truth is that the baby doesn’t need expensive things. He will outgrow his baby clothes in a matter of months, so don’t feel like it’s wrong to give the baby hand-me-downs. Instead of spending thousands on a crib, that money could be put to better use in a college fund. There is no reason to put yourself into a tricky financial situation when there are perfectly safe and quality baby goods.
9 Tempter Tantrums: kids just need to cry sometimes
Before people become parents, they have all kinds of opinions when a child throws a temper tantrum in public. They tend to judge the parents, so many moms are so embarrassed when it happens to them. But notice that we used the word “when,” not “if,” because it happens to all of us. And in the end, moms need to understand that it doesn’t really matter in the long run.
Toddlers have a hard time controlling emotions. It’s not because they are spoiled or the mom isn’t a good parent. It might be because they need a nap or the situation was too much. Or it might just be a bad day. Children need to cry sometimes, and the mom won’t even remember the details in the years to come. It might seem bad at the time, but it doesn’t matter in the long run.
8 Keeping Up With the Housework: the laundry can wait
In some women’s minds, part of being the perfect mom means keeping the house spotless. But when you are a new mom, the bottles and laundry and baby things can take over more than you ever expected. It can drive some women crazy and make them feel like failures, especially when family and friends want to stop by to visit. But it’s not worth the stress.
In the first few months of motherhood, we want moms to know that it’s OK to have a nap instead of folding away the laundry. The dishes will keep while you spend some time playing with the baby. It doesn’t matter if the house is perfect, as long as it is a comfortable and lived-in home for the family.
7 Does matter: Accepting Your Child for Who They Are
Gender reveals are a big deal these days — parents throw huge parties and plan epic surprises to tell their family and friends if they are having a boy or girl, complete with pink and blue snacks. At the same time, we are talking about equality, how to treat women right, and people have come to accept transgender individuals more and more. The two trends can seem to be on different sides of the equation But we think that the important thing is accepting your child for who he is.
If you want to celebrate that you are having a girl, just realize that your girl might not want frilly dresses and dolls, and that’s OK. Gender stereotypes can be stifling to some children, so instead of focusing on the pink and blue, focus on the baby’s heart and soul and show them love no matter where they find happiness.
6 Hitting Milestones Early: there’s no need to get competitive
Life is so competitive these days, and that can even seep into parenthood. Many moms feel a lot of pressure for their baby to hit their milestones early, even though being an early talker or walker doesn’t translate into a smarter, more talented kid.
All of the baby books list milestones in a range because not all babies hit them at the same time. Some babies might be walking at nine months but slow to talk, and that’s just fine. It is important to let the doctor know if the baby is late on milestones, but that might not be a sign of a problem — just something to keep an eye on. Moms don’t need to be competitive about milestones and instead just enjoy them with their little one.
5 All Natural and Organic Everything: not everyone can do it
These days, part of choosing “the best” for the baby is trying to avoid anything that isn’t organic. That includes baby food as well as textiles for blankets and onesies. But the all-natural lifestyle is really expensive. It’s hard to deal with cloth diapers, and too much for working moms and others to deal with making their own baby food.
We love the idea of going all natural and organic, but the trend definitely doesn’t fit everyone’s lifestyle or wallet. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t giving the baby everything that you can — and most kids will be just as healthy if they aren’t.
4 Does Matter: Kindness
There are lots of traits and talents that moms and dads worry about for their child — is she smart? Will he be athletic? Can I teach him to be musical like me? We think that those talents and personality traits are nice, but there is one that matters more than any other and that is kindness. It’s up to a parent to teach a child that kindness is always the answer — and the best way to teach that is to show kindness yourself, especially to other parents who are doing their best to get through.
There are lots of things to worry about as a mom, from the baby’s health to how they will grow into an adult. It’s hard enough to get through without adding to those list of anxieties, so do your best to take care of the things that matter the most and don’t worry about the rest.
3 Babies don’t need shoes until they can walk, and even then they should do it barefoot
Some moms feel like they need to stock up on shoes for baby, spending lots of money on different types of shoes for the little one. But baby shoes don’t matter, and we want people to stop the madness. First, the baby doesn’t need any shoes until after he starts walking. Most experts say it’s best to let the baby learn to walk barefoot, so he can feel the way that he bears the weight on his feet, although some people think the baby needs expensive shoes throughout the first year.
Some people prefer the expensive moccasin-like shoes for the first couple of years afterward, but if you take them to a playground with wood chips, it’s probably better to have a sturdy sole. Unless the baby has a physical issue that causes the doctor to recommend a certain type of shoe, we recommend spending money only on what you need – they will outgrow the shoes fast anyway.
2 Sleeping Through the Night
The loss of sleep is definitely one of the hardest parts of having a newborn. It’s no wonder that parents put such a stock in getting their baby to sleep through the night, since it can be so hard to deal with the lack of sleep. But in the end, it doesn’t matter if the baby starts to sleep through the night early — it doesn’t mean he’s smarter or the parents are doing better.
Babies need to eat around the clock at the beginning, and they can start to stretch that after a few months. Technically, “sleeping through the night,” means sleeping at a five hour stretch at a time, and that can help. But even if the baby gives the mom a break pretty soon and sleeps for longer, he’s probably going to start getting up some at night when he’s a toddler. Eventually, moms will actually miss those late nights just them and their little one, so don’t rush it.
1 Playdates and Activities All Day: kids can play alone
We all want our children to have friends and find their talents, but some parents take it to the extreme and have dance on Monday, soccer on Tuesday, kindermusic on Wednesday, art class on Thursday and a couple of activities every weekend. The schedule can be exhausting, and it takes away from the child’s time to be creative and play on his own.
Playdates are fun, but it’s OK to stay home sometimes and let your child be OK by himself. Kids can feel pulled in a lot of different directions, and the mom and dad can feel at the end of their rope. It doesn’t matter as much as a mom might think, as long as you encourage your child’s talents where you find them and let him have a break every once in a while.
References: Scary Mommy