Dear First-Time Mom:
Whenever you have gone on a trip in the past I’m sure you researched your destination and thought ahead. Sure, not everything happened as you expected. Planes were delayed, a tourist attraction closed, a fun destination worth spending more time at bumped another item off your agenda… all kinds of things you couldn’t know about in advance happened along the way, but still everyone around you knew it was a good idea to prepare as best as you could for your journey.
Despite all that, when it comes to planning for the great adventure of parenthood… your attempts at preparedness are seen as almost silly or a waste of time by your friends and acquaintances who have had kids for years.
Did the veteran parents at that dinner party chuckle when you said you weren’t planning to do or use such and such with your kids?
Was there an exchange of amused glances between some more experienced moms when you mentioned something you read about in a birth book?
How about that baby gadget you researched and are so excited to use? Unnecessary, they deemed; a rookie purchase for sure
I know few things crushed me more when I was expecting my first child than knowing that the time I was spending reading, researching, and learning about things was seen as a waste of time to experienced moms around me.
Well guess what, I want you to know that it is okay to plan.
Read that parenting book.
Try out that gadget you think looks so clever and helpful.
Write down that birth plan.
Ask all those questions.
Read as much as you can about things that you think are important.
Sure, you might find some of what you thought would work for you doesn’t. No one can possibly know exactly how things will be with a kid before they come, and at that, every child will have different needs. I’ve done things I didn’t think I would, and not used things I thought I would. (And I’m sure there is more of that to come as the years go by!)
But you know what? I’ve done so much in my family that I did plan on, even though it was different than most of the people I was around at the time.
I was told cloth diapering wouldn’t last more than a few months. That I’d regret home birth because I’d be crying for an epidural. That one cheap baby carrier would be enough because no one needs to wear a child more than the first few months. (I own five and still put Philomena up sometimes!). And as crazy as it sounded to some people, we still don’t own a crib because of co-sleeping.
These and so many other things I read about, researched, asked questions on, and even went to meetings about proved to work very well for our family. (In fact, I think going to La Leche League meetings before Philomena was born had a huge positive impact on our easy nursing relationship. The time invested in those meetings proved invaluable for us.)
More than once I have been so glad that I got to sort out and sift through the information I gathered about birth, babies, and parenting before I was in the midst of the crazy, exhausting, day to day grind.
Many of these plans gave me confidence as I started navigating the beautiful and overwhelming journey.
Know that as long as you adapt as you need to, it is okay to plan.
I made plans for baby and many of them came to be. Yours could to.
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2 thoughts on “Dear First-Time Mom: It’s Okay To Plan”
I think the biggest part of planning is being willing to be flexible! Recognizing our plans aren’t set in stone or concrete, and we aren’t “less-than” if we have to change plans.
But, you’re correct – plan away! Part of the fun is the planning, the research, the “new-to-you” ideas!
While I don’t typically try to rain on people’s planning parades, I always caution them – *especially with birth plans* – to remain flexible. Remain open minded, and be willing to deviate from the plan if needed. But, I try to support all the plans a new expectant mama makes!
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Great post! I couldn’t agree more. Many well-meaning mothers bashed my ideas on breastfeeding, cloth diapering, circumcision, unmedicated birth and baby-wearing. Even after I had children, people would challenge my current or future plans to limit screens, transition children out of a family bed, homeschool, and enjoy future children while staying home full time.
There is lots of wisdom older moms have to share, but things like “it didn’t work for me and it might not or probably won’t work for you” are not as helpful as “I thought I would x, but instead I chose y because . . . ” Unlike most moms I love having a changing table, BUT I don’t use a crib, pack in play, or a stroller! Fortunately, most people DON’T criticize my “crazy” ideas. And if they do, I can always vent to my husband 🙂
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