Becoming a first-time mom comes with new responsibilities and challenges. It can seem daunting, so don't be afraid to seek out advice. Here are what experienced moms have to say to all you new moms out there:
1. It isn't always easy
"When your child hugs you and then kisses you, it makes everything worth it (even all the sleepless nights). It isn't always an easy job, but I think it's the most important one there is. It's human to get mad or frustrated with your child sometimes, and sometimes you have to take a minute for yourself. Don't feel guilty for it, because you need to be at your best set of mind to take care of your child."
- Janny Lucky, mother of one year
2. It goes by quickly
"People aren't kidding when they say babies grow fast. You'll think this stage will never end and it's really hard, but you'll look back a year later feeling like it was yesterday and wishing you would have given him just a few more hugs and kisses, but also realizing that you made it through the rough patch."
- Brittni Jones, mother of two years
3. Take care of yourself
"I have long known that taking care of myself is important, but in becoming a mother, I've discovered just how important that is. My husband has been a tremendous advocate of self-care, and I have found that as I eat nutritious meals, rest well and ask for help in areas that I need it, I'm a happier, healthier version of myself, which helps all of our family."
- Melissa Bair, mother of two years
4. Don't stress
"Don't stress so much, take it day by day in the beginning and don't worry if dirty clothes and dishes pile up. Taking care of yourself and a brand new baby is far more important. Getting some rest is much more important than making sure the floors are mopped and the counters are wiped down."
- Deanna Ocampo, mother of seven years
5. Just remember
"Remember that everything is a phase. So when you have those nights where you have been sleep deprived for months and months, just remember, it's only a phase in the grand scheme of things. When you have a child that is going through their terrible twos (or threes), remember, this too will pass. And when they are older and all grown up, all the struggles you had when they were younger will be but a distant (and sweet) memory."
- Roxy Miller, mother of eight years
"Relax! When you are pregnant, everyone is going to give you advice and tell you horror stories. What works for them may not fit your style. You will be nervous at first, but in no time you'll find your stride. Motherhood is the hardest thing you will ever do, but also the most rewarding. You will make mistakes! You will sleep through the first 10 minutes of them crying; that's OK. You will run out of clean outfits and be out in public with a shirt covered in spit up; that's OK. You may accidentally bump them or pinch them or cut their fingernails to short; it's ok! They'll be screaming bloody murder in a grocery store, but that's OK, too! Animal crackers for dinner? Sure! They just ate some play-doh? Look for rainbow poop.
We've all been there. Other mothers will understand when you don't have it all together. Ignore anyone who criticizes your parenting style. But most of all, enjoy every second, take lots of pictures and videos and don't forget to take pictures of you, too."
- Jennifer Erb, mother of 22 years
7. Here's the secret
"The secret in motherhood is learning to make the most of 'the now.' There is never a perfect moment for anything. You just have to grab what you can. Sometimes, of course, you can plan ahead for things. Many moments (for me, most moments) are created from a desire to make memories as best I can under the imperfect situations that come. Motherhood is not easy, of course. You will have to create the joy. Finally, develop a faith in God. He is the one that is going to help make the best of motherhood happen for you."
- Kristin Walker, mother of 22 years
8. It's worth it!
"To steal an old slogan from the Peace Corps, motherhood is 'the toughest job you'll ever love.' Hang in there. You are shaping the next generation in a way that only you can do. It's worth it!
Don't keep score with your husband as to who is changing the most diapers, etc. It will only make you feel resentful. Instead, talk openly with one another about your needs and be patient with one another.
Don't worry about all the things you can't get done because you're busy with your little one. Dishes will wait! And don't listen to that mean voice in your head that tells you you're not as good as so-and-so; you know, that mom who has it all together (or so you think). Be kind to yourself - you're doing hard work on very little sleep! And last of all, keep trying, keep hoping and keep believing. It will all work out!"
- Karen Long, mother of 23 years
9. Don't compare yourself to others
"My advice would be to be kind to themselves both in word and deeds, do the best they can every day (and it will change depending on the day) and be happy with that. It will be hard, but the joy is amazing. Don't compare yourself to others, and take time to rock, cuddle and play with your baby. They grow so fast! You won't be the perfect mom; there is no such thing. But you will be an amazing mom if you can be kind to yourself. Be flexible. Rarely will things go smoothly but that's OK. Don't let what you think should happen ruin the experience of what happens. Look at it as a beautiful twist to the plan or a really funny story for later."
- Paisley Miller, mother of 25 years
"For me, the foundation of motherhood is prayer. Even though we aren't perfect in parenting, we can receive support from the perfect parent, our Heavenly Father. As you teach your children, mostly by example, also learn from them. A child has much to teach us about loving, forgiving and simplifying life. Listen to them earnestly. Being a mother is our greatest learning experience."
- Judy Miller, mother of 53 years
Remember that as you enter this new and exciting stage in your life, your family and friends are there to help you along the way. You've got this!