3 Things a Not-Yet Mom Wants from You

I well remember the days when I was buried in baby life and I yearned for a friend who was not-yet a mom. First, she’d be able to come help! But, second, I knew she’d bring fresh perspective like this post from Malisa, that not-yet mom I needed so long ago.

Jessica’s blog was one of the very first blogs I found in the Spring of 2010 with her Spring Clean Along series. I had never really heard about blogging and for sure didn’t know the world that would open up to me through the “mom bloggers.”

As a wife and a not-yet mom, there are many valuable topics I have learned from the blog world including: meal planning, freezer cooking, Godly attitudes, and marriage. The other day, I had a wonderful conversation with a friend of mine. She shared how every morning her toddler comes into her room and wakes her up with a smile and happiness.

My friend said, “it’s weird how as adults we can often lose the joy children have; when I see my daughter’s outlook it reminds me of why I love being a mom and encourages me to be more joyful!”

This conversation got me thinking. My friend didn’t know it, but that story lifted my outlook on parenthood. What she shared expressed the joy of having kids.

So often in our society the role of parenting and motherhood, specifically, is looked down on. I will not accept that belief. Moms are raising our next leaders and have a challenging task. With all the negativity, I need some positivity and a paradigm shift.

There are 3 things I’d like to ask current moms to do for us not-yet moms.

Share the good about being a mom

I have heard many times that being a mom is the hardest career ever, but it is less frequent I hear moms enjoying their lives. Please share the little kisses you get, the “I wuv you, Mama,” and the feeling you have when your child wants only your attention. It’s important to share the difficult parts of parenthood, but a balance of positive stories would be great to hear.

Share how your life has changed

Telling stories about your how your life is different encourages me not to be scared of the changes that occur with parenthood.

  • Do you still see your friends?
  • Do you and your husband do things differently now because of your kids?
  • What things about life do you appreciate now that you didn’t before?

These are some of the things I love hearing about. I have never thought of closing my eyes at the beach as a luxury, but to some of my friends, it is.

Share how you still need non-mom friends

I imagine being around children all day is stressful and talking to and about children all day, is also stressful. There is a big difference in lifestyle between parents and non-parents. It is important for moms and non-moms to talk about where they are in life. Being around you and seeing you raise your children helps me. I hope that being around me and having adult conversations helps you too.

Lastly, keep up the good work and sacrificing for your children, it will pay off! I look forward to one day joining you on the other side!

Is there anything you would add?

What would you share with a not-yet mom?

Malisa blogs about cooking, crafting, and opinions about the world around her. She loves sharing the latest recipe she’s modified and easy DIY crafts. Malisa enjoys discussing her experiences as a married woman and a follower of Christ in the 21st Century. You can follow her on twitter @malisaprice.

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Comments

  1. This is an EXCELLENT post! Great suggestions. I was the first in my “circle” to become a mom, and it was challenging. Sometimes I wanted to find a way to prove that I really was still the same woman deep inside. Yes, my schedule and priorities and routine had changed, but my personality didn’t morph overnight! :)

    • Thank you, Jessie Leigh! I am one of the last couples to have kids in our circle of friends. So, I can relate to the challenges on the other side of mommy-hood! I love that you said your personality didn’t change overnight. That is so encouraging to me.

  2. I love this! Yes, a balance of positive stories is much appreciated. Sometimes I see a bunch of negative attitudes about motherhood on blogs or Facebook statuses and start questioning how much I really want to be a mom.

  3. All too often, it’s the “negative” comments/blog posts that have stood out to me too. I want to focus on the positive aspects of motherhood. From what I’ve heard from friends, there are many! Thanks for your comment, Amanda.

  4. I LOVE this post. Great job Malisa. :) I’m on the same page about sharing both sides to the story…yes motherhood is hard, but it’s SO so good too. Honesty in motherhood is key, especially when it comes to the good stuff.

    • Jodi, your writings have been a source of encouragement and inspiration to me! I hope that when I’m a mom, I’ll be similiar to you in sharing both sides.

  5. I’m always amazeed at the way the youngest child can make me smile. No matter how sad, or worried, I might be about very serious things (no income, or very litttle of it), my youngest manages to make both me and my husband smile and laugh every single day. Each child brings joy, but it is always the littlest one, running through the house giggling, making jokes (I never knew one-year-olds could make jokes, but they can!), smiling, giving hugs and kisses, insisting on giving daddy a zerbert on the cheek before he goes to work that makes us smile and laugh each day.

    I love hearing a child sounding out words as he learns to read, watching him get excited about it.

    This morning I enjoyed watching my ten-year-old daughter and my husband discuss a series of books that they are both reading. I watched my husband listen to my daughter as she continued to speak about the books, and that was wonderful, too.

    I love the way my children play together, pushing their younger sisters on the swings in the backyard, or pulling them around in a wagon.

    I love the way they say, “Mama,”, and the way they sing.

    I love that the simplest things have them shouting, “Yay!”, such asa fvorite lunch, a picture to color, or bubbles in a bath.

    • How true that the little things in life can sometimes bring about the greatest joys. I think that aspect of modern life is missing! Thank you for all of your wonderful examples, Brandy.

  6. I love this post, Malisa. I am around a lot of non-moms in our church, so it’s helpful to read this!

  7. What a nice post. I usually make a point to talk to and encourage new moms when I see them out and about. This is a great reminder that Not Yet Parents need our encouragement too.

    I was one of the last in my then group of friends to become a Mom. While I learned quite a bit from these ladies I also remember being incredibly frustrated at some of the negative comments. It’s all to easy for us experienced Moms to be dismissive and belittling of what Not Yet Moms might think their lives are going to be like, you know? Because you can’t truly *know* what it’s like until you’re there. It’s all too easy to scare Not Yet Moms with horror stories about childbirth and those first few months.

    What the advice I do give pregnant women is if they think they want to breastfeed they should find a lactation consultant and call her up for a chat before they give birth. My own experience was that I ended up needing breastfeeding help and support and had I not known a BCLC I might not have stuck with it. Along those lines I try to be honest about the challenges I faced while acknowledging many women have an easier or more difficult time. If I’d had a more accurate picture of what breastfeeding was really like, especially while working, I wouldn’t have felt so discouraged. I also try to be very careful when talking about breastfeeding so the friend I’m talking with doesn’t feel judged if she formula feeds. It’s a tricky subject and I hope I manage it well.

    • Wow, Beth! Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and experience. How wonderful that you are cautious in what you say to others! I really appreciated this part:

      “Because you can’t truly *know* what it’s like until you’re there. It’s all too easy to scare Not Yet Moms with horror stories about childbirth and those first few months.”

      I try to limit the “when I’m a mom, I’ll never let my kids ___” or “my kids won’t ever ____”. Because I don’t know what I’ll do or say until I’m in that position. Thank you for being so honest.

  8. What a great post! Thank you so much for this perspective. I was the first of my friends to have a baby and there were definitely challenges. It’s good to hear this view and to have more understanding.

    Also, I completely agree that many mothers, myself included, can sometimes paint a grim picture of our role. Most of the time I believe it is just venting, but sometimes this can become a habit. It is good to be honest about motherhood, the frustrations and the joys, but to try and talk about the joys more often.

    • Rebecca, I couldn’t agree with you more. Venting about jobs, health, marriage, or children can become a very hard habit to break. I have been trying to change that even in how I respond when people ask me how I’m doing. Thank you for pointing out this truth.

  9. I will share a good/funny story that happened today when I picked up my 5 year old from school. I was was asking him how his day went and he got upset and started to cry. I asked him why he was upset and he said that he needed to find someone without a dad. So I asked him why and he said that he wanted to be a dad when he got big, but that all the kids he knew already had dads, so who was he going to be a dad for.

    I proceeded to tell him that when he got big and had a wife that he and his wife would make a baby and he could have his own child and be a dad to them. Then he got even more upset. He was then upset because he didn’t know who was going to be his wife and who he could have kids with. I explained that he would find his wife when he got older.

    My husband must be doing a good job as a dad if my 5 year old already wants to be one too. It’s amazing to watch their minds work!

    • What a fantastic story! I love watching my husband with our kids. He is such a great dad and I often share with other non-moms on how the love with your spouse deepens after becoming parents. I saw him in a totally different light when he held our firstborn in the delivery room.

    • Amazing story! What a kind-thougtful son you have, Coby. Your son sounds like me when I was younger, always thinking of the future! The fact that he wants to be a dad is definitely a compliment to your hubby!

  10. I agree with you completely on the first two. Women who don’t have kids need to know that there is a whole lot of stuff that makes up for not being able to go to the bathroom by yourself (and the other bad stuff, too). I love being a mom, raising up little people. I love shaping their minds and helping them learn.

    Anyway, I don’t agree with your last point. I can’t think of a single friend in my life who doesn’t have kids, but I don’t feel like I’m missing out on any relationships. Having said that, I understand why non-moms need mom friends, but I’m not sure I understand why it would go the other way.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I think relationships with folks in all different stages of life are good. We get perspective on any number of issues. I think we could learn from anybody and everybody. ;)

  11. I, too, found this very eye-opening, to remember what it was like. I remember when I was a new mom for the first time wishing and praying and being irritated that no one had told me what it was really like. I felt so unprepared.

    As a mom of four now, I have vowed to always answer not-yet moms’ questions honestly. For me, the day-to-day parts are sometimes hard (and having a child with autism exponentially increases that foregoing statement), but it really is such a joy and privilege to hang out with these guys all day and watch them discover and figure out who they want to be (and, again, having a child with autism exponentially increases that foregoing statement). I try to make sure I always, ALWAYS follow a statement of truth about hardship or drudgery with one of blessing or thanksgiving. Or better yet, combine the two.

    I did have to chuckle at the second-to-last segment of your post, though, Malisa. ;) It’s hard for me to remember my life before kids. I will answer those questions honestly for you.

    (1) yes, I still have lots of friends. Like every aspect of life, friendships change with time. Now, the friends I most enjoy are those who have the same mommy philosophy that I do and one’s who are real about themselves and their kids. More often than not, those are not friends that I had pre-motherhood. I attribute that to meeting and falling in love with some amazing mommies when my eldest was a baby. Had it not been for my children, I would have never met these amazing souls.

    (2) my husband and I do different things now that we have kids. Time alone together is very rare (but we fight hard to get it). We usually go shopping or watch a movie or run errands, just like we used to, but it’s quieter. I think we talk less and enjoy being more because those rare times are our time to unplug from all the questions and talking we otherwise do with the kids (we had four in six years, and our oldest is now 8.5).

    (3) this last one is the absolute crux of it. I enjoy everything now in a way that I didn’t before. I don’t take myself or ideas or things all that seriously before. I have realized, happily so, that I am an absolute idiot who really knows very little about anything. I truly know what matters in life now. I don’t care about any of the silly, mundane, tangible life things that used to really trip me up. I realize now that I now have a life, even though shortly after my first was born I was so sure that my life had ended. That life did end, thank goodness. The life I know have is better in every way that I could have ever imagined. My children changed the very core of who I was, and I am thankful to God every single day that they did.

    I thank you for your honest and sincere post, Malisa. Thought-provoking and inspiring.

    • Thank you, Holly for all of your honesty in answering the questions I wrote. A common theme I saw running through your replies was that your priorities have changed. And it sounds like it is definitely for the better! Your perspective is an encouragement and I really appreciate you sharing it.

  12. I tell people that being a mom is the most unrewarding rewarding thing they will ever do. There are pieces that are no fun. My daughter cries every single morning before we go to “work”. I’m terrified that she is going to do the same thing in September when she starts kindergarten and the kids will make fun of her for being a crybaby.

    My teenager started an alternative education program today because he is unable to function in the wider world of high school. He is medically diagnosed ADHD and we’ve struggled with his schooling literally since 2nd grade. It’s been a constant struggle.

    I am plagued with Mommy guilt that I’m doing the right thing for my children.

    However. On the flip side. There are far more amazing pieces then I can list here. Watching your child take their first steps? Incredible. Knowing you had a part in teaching them their first word? Amazing. Having them wake in the middle of the night, pad into your bedroom and gently wake you up by kissing you and saying “I want you Mama?” Tiring but wonderful. Having them snuggle under the blankets with you, curl themselves up and take your hand and place it under their cheek while they sigh the deepest sigh of contentment? That is a feeling I can never ever describe for you.

    I am so awed by the feelings of love and sometimes just cannot believe that God entrusted these two little people to me and trusted me enough to bring them through every difficulty and every triumph, while teaching them both to be sensitive, empathetic, responsible, happy and loving adults, complete with a solid faith and a sense of humor, even if it is a bit warped like mine, lol.

    Being a mom is terrific and terrifying, rewarding and unrewarding, amazing and overwhelming. I have a number of non-mom friends. I liken it to being friends with someone who is single when you are married. It brings a certain amount of perspective into your life. When you are friends with non-mom friends, it gives you an excuse not to talk about toddler and teenager tantrums, runny noses and bad dreams. But then again, it also allows you to share with them the amazing experience that is being a mom.

    • Tracy, what a great way you described being a mom. There are pros and cons to every aspect of life. It’s weird how much guilt creeps up in all stages and ages. Boy is that something I can agree with you on!

      I love what you said about having non-mom friends and the similarity between single friends. I am grateful for the perspective I gain from others I interact with too!

      I won’t forget the part about parenting being rewarding and nonrewarding!

  13. Great! Especially the tip on sharing the good. Before I had kids, my mom friends would complain about this and that at every stage of parenting, particularly infants. It was very scary when I was expecting! There is so much good and it all outweighs the bad so we certainly need to talk it up some more!

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment, TyKes Mom. What a relief to hear that you had a similar experience to me prior to having your children. I hope that when we have kids I will remember to share the positives as well as the negatives.

  14. It’s interesting bc Facebook and blogs were not common when I was pregnant for the first time. I never read or heard anything negative and was completely shocked into the reality of the constant work and no sleep. I remember thinking “Why don’t any of the books tell you that some days are just gonna be plain horrible?” Apparently technology has really changed that. I guess my advice would be that at some point you will feel like you failed the mom test, but we all go through it and rise above.. And then you do it all over again and again with every challenge and phase and then every once in a while you’ll catch your child doing or saying something amazing and you know all that hard work has paid off.

  15. I was almost 39 when my 1st child was born and almost 41 when my second was born. I had been married to my husband for 11 years and had a 16 year old stepdaughter (who lived with us) when my 1st was born.

    When my 1st was born, 2 things were totally shocking to me….#1 the instant and complete loss of 100% of my privacy and independence, #2 the overwhelming intesity of absolute love and adoration I had for my infant son.

    Now my kids are 3 & 5 and I’m home with them and homeschooling them. Here are the best parts…..They are hilarious. I have never laughed so hard as I have at the things my kids have said or done. It’s better than a comedy show. My husband loves the phone calls or texts I send him in the workday with the latest comedic gem from the kids. My kids tell me all the time that I’m “the best mommy in the world” or their “best girl”. They think I’m beautiful and brilliant and wonderful and I completely recipricate the feelings. The kids are so smart and it’s really great to watch them learn something new. I had a nearly 20 year career that I walked away from when I had kids. It was a super rewarding career that doesn’t hold a candle to the rewards in being a mom. Being a mom has stretched me and made me grow in ways that nothing else could have, and that I didn’t know that I needed.

    Now all that being said…it is often difficult (isn’t everything of value difficult at times?). Yes, motherhood is at times exhausting, and frustrating and tedius. But it’s also wonderful and rewarding and exhilerating. Yes is changes the relationship you have with your husband – but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I love my husband more when I see him cuddled up with both of our boys reading them library books, than when he brings me roses. My husband is the only person in the world who shares my overwhelming love for our boys. Our extended family loves our boys, but the love that my husband and I have for them is different and we alone share it. It brings us closer. The nights that my husband gets up to deal with the latest nightmare, or potty trip or desperate need for a drink of water and lets me sleep …..he’s a rock star in my eyes.

    As far as needing kidless friends. Well my situation is a bit different being that I’m and older mom. At my age there just aren’t many of my friends left who haven’t had kids. Actually I have as many friends with grandchildren as with little kids. A great many of my contemporaries have older kids or are empty nesters now. So for me to hang out with childless friends I’d have to find friends in their 20’s and honestly at 44 I feel a bit like their mother. So really I don’t have many friends without kids. In my 20’s or even 30’s it might have been different though.

  16. Amen and amen and amen!!! I couldn’t agree more! Anytime my husband and I (both not-yet-parents) tell people that we are trying to start our family, they try to change our minds (say goodbye to sleeping in on saturdays or regular date nights, etc……I mean how shallow do they think we are?!?!) and we finally had to tell our sisters to stop complaining about their children unless they are also going to tell 2 good stories for each bad one. In a world that is not very encouraging or respectful of life, I would LOVE to see believers start to talk about how wonderful and how much of a blessing children are! They aren’t just a nuisance to be avoided, but can be a wonderful part of your life! I absolutely couldn’t agree with this more!!

  17. Here is an blog post that Amy from Finer Things in Life wrote answering my question for her:

    http://amysfinerthings.com/if-not-now-when

  18. I loved this post! I was a “late mom” being 38 years old when I had my one and only son. I loved my life and career up to that point, but, oh boy! how it has changed for the better by adding him to my life. My husband and I always say, “God knew what he was doing when he brought him to us. God wanted us to wake up and smell the roses! ” He was a colicky baby so the first six months or so I felt like a complete failure. No matter what I did, he screamed and cried (well, unless I held him endlessly) and I screamed and cried a bit, too. But it bonded us deeply and we have raised an independent, smart, wonderful son that we are very proud of. Has it been challenging and hard? Yes! Has he done things that made us want to disown him? Yes! Will he continue to make mistakes along the way? Yes! It’s called Real Life 101. I make a point to brag openly about him and his achievements often because I am proud of him and want him and others to hear it. My parents were not so gracious – always negative and I have never been able to do “enough”. I tried to remember all through his life to comment on the amazing things he’s said and done. To give positive reinforcement. Now that he is almost grown, I am a “mentor” to new moms… I have a good friend with tiny babies right now that I visit often. It helps to reach out to people of all ages and stages in life. It makes your life more amazing to open your arms to the whole world out there. Young, old, rich, poor, moms, singles… we all are perfect in God’s eyes.

  19. I think that I knew a lot of the nitty gritty, or I thought I did, until I had a baby that was extremely colicky and I thought I was the world’s worst mom. I wished someone had told me that sometimes you will not enjoy being a mom, but the little moments make up for it more than many times over.
    I wish they had told me that it is okay to go to the bathroom alone and not feel guilty….it took me a couple kids to do that. I wish that someone told me that while it is not always fun to breastfeed, the sacrifices we make for our children starting with that one are some of the longest lasting, and can help our grandchildren in the future.
    I wish that more people told me that it can be so rewarding to be a parent, even in the midst of hard work, there are so many rewards!

  20. This was lovely :)
    I also think its good to share the bad days…so we dont give the illusion that its all baby showers, coos and smiles.
    Share the positives, but also be real! Its hard work..but its the best!

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