First Time Mom Reflections: Easily Discouraged

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I think this is something most of us can relate to as first time moms. When Brayden was a baby, I was so easily discouraged. I had a picture of perfection in my head, and when that didn’t work out, it upset me. When he didn’t take the perfect nap, I stressed. I remember stressing even while I was pregnant with Kaitlyn. If he took a long time to fall asleep at night, I worried. I fretted over if he had enough food or not.

My oh my how I worried.

And where am I today? The other night, it was 9:30 PM and McKenna was screeching with delight in her crib. I turned on the video monitor to check out what was going on and saw her walking around the crib. How did I feel? Stressed? Not even a little bit. Worried? Nope. I laughed. A real laugh. I thought it was funny. I shook my head at her being up so late, then went on with my relaxing.

I have come to learn that the child will sometimes not sleep well. I have come to learn that a normal child sometimes eats one bite at a meal and is “full.” And that is all fine. I provide the opportunity. I provide the right atmosphere and do what I can to make these times successful. Then it is up to the child. If I did my part, I will not lose any sleep over her staying up a bit late one night. She will be fine. And I can see it for what it is.


If you are a first time mom, do what you can to relax and see the humor in the difficult situations that arise. They will come. Despite your best efforts and best planning, things will not be perfect. You will be so much happier if you can learn to laugh instead of cry. I know that is easier said than done :). If you can manage it, don’t feel guilty about it. You might be saving yourself some gray hairs 🙂

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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook


  1. Heather and TJ Bruce
    September 14, 2010 / 4:16 PM

    Wow, you have no idea how much I needed this post right now and how helpful that is. I have been following you for a few months now, I am a first time mommy to our 11 month old daughter and you are so helpful during times of questions, curiosity, needs, advice, etc. Thank you for this post and all your future posts for us first time mommies. 🙂

  2. Kristen
    September 14, 2010 / 4:32 PM

    val- Awesome…just what I needed to hear! I have a question for you. My 8 month old dropped the 3rd nap about 3 weeks ago. His first nap is really consistent at about 1.5,it's the second nap that is the problem. He rarely will make it past the 45min. We start at 6a and his first nap is at 8a. Then hes up at 9:30ish and his afternoon nap is at 1p. Any ideas??

  3. Kristen
    September 14, 2010 / 4:34 PM

    Oh and I forgot to mention so then he is up at 1:45p and upset and his bedtime is 6:30ish. That makes for a very long cranky afternoon.

  4. Angee
    September 14, 2010 / 4:49 PM

    Thank you for this! Being a first time mom is so stressful to me. After years of infertility and then the joy of adopting our sweet daughter, I thought motherhood would be easy and so natural. Haha. 🙂 I am going to try harder to laugh because if the choice is between laughing or crying, I need to laugh.

  5. Heather
    September 14, 2010 / 5:00 PM

    I agree with everyone's comments. I **SO** needed to hear this today, as my 13mo DD wouldn't eat anything but Cheerios for lunch. 🙂 I'm trying to laugh more than cry … and I think if I read this post when I'm having a hard time, it'll make those laughs come a little easier. Thank you, Val – you're a lifesaver!!

  6. Jessica
    September 14, 2010 / 5:31 PM

    Thank you! Well said! My daughter is 15 months and she is our first. I did the exact same worrying, crying, fretting. I'm finally able to laugh sometimes instead of getting so down on myself. "Provide the opportunity"…yes, yes, yes!!!! :)Jessica

  7. Jessica
    September 15, 2010 / 12:21 AM

    I also have a question for you…She is 15 months and goes to bed at 7pm. I was reading some posts on bedtime sleep and you said as long as 5 out of 7 days were consistent…we have a small group that meets once a week until 8:30. It's going to be difficult to get a sitter every week and I don't want to make it a habit to miss group everytime we can't get a sitter. What do you think? Is it wise to do this once a week or should we get a sitter? Thanks,Jessica

  8. PamKlip
    September 15, 2010 / 3:55 PM

    Thank-you! Thank-you! Thank-you! This post is an answer to prayers! I have been so stressed out lately about my 9 month old's eating that this couldn't have come at a better time! THANKS!!!

  9. Nanner
    September 15, 2010 / 10:37 PM

    I am a first time mom to a 16 week old son. I quit a 15 year corporate position to be a stay at home mom. I started babywise methods after two weeks, and he was STTN by 8 weeks. Nights have continued to be great, but we are currently experiencing major trouble in nap-land. I have stressed out to the point of almost making myself sick, when what I should be doing is enjoying my baby. I read your words of encouragement this morning and promptly printed it up and put it on my fridge. I have shed far too many tears – and forgetting that I have a wonderful healthy baby. He's already growing so fast. Thank you for helping me keep things in perspective. Your blog has done wonders for my psyche, and therefore the happiness of me, my husband, and my baby.

  10. WorkingMom
    September 16, 2010 / 3:59 AM

    I'm a first time mommy to a now 20-month old daughter and wow did I get myself into a lather when she was younger. Then one day it occurred to me that "hey, I made it to the next day and got to re-start even though the day before was crazy." Then I thanked God that time does not stand still. 🙂 Thanks for this post.

  11. Michael and Natalie
    September 16, 2010 / 4:43 AM

    Perfectly said. I think that should be the first paragraph in the BW book and it's basically what I say to any moms that email me stressed. As long as you know you're doing what you can, which to be honest is not a whole lot other than being observant about waketimes and being home to let them sleep among a few other things, you really have to relinquish control and not feel bad when things don't go as planned. I also remind myself that on my child's graduation day it will not matter one iota if she finished that one nap when she was 6 months of if she ate all sandwich when she was two or if she had 17 time outs in one day. It will matter that I addressed these issues cumulatively, but it will not matter in that moment.

  12. AA
    September 16, 2010 / 9:46 AM

    I LOVE this post!! Thank you! So true! x

  13. Plowmanators
    September 24, 2010 / 2:21 PM

    Wow! I am so glad this was so helpful to everyone. I honestly thought it might be one of those posts that people hardly notice 🙂 I almost didn't publish! I am glad I did.

  14. Plowmanators
    September 24, 2010 / 2:22 PM

    Kristen, he likely needs to go down around 11:30 or as late as 12, but no later. This will mean he will probably need a short third nap reintroduced to make it through the rest of the day.

  15. Plowmanators
    September 24, 2010 / 2:26 PM

    Jessica, I would try it and see how she does. Brayden was the type who couldn't have much variation on bedtimes, but both of my girls did/do fine with it. So try it and see what happens.

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