I'm a first time Mom to a beautiful baby girl who is now 11 months old, she'll be a year old in less than a month. Also, I'm expecting my second child any day now.
As a first time mom, who helped to raise my godson, who is now 8 years old, babysat for many a child growing up, helped to raise my autistic sister and did medical transcription for a pediatrician, I have found that I was/am nowhere near as experienced in "mom things" as I thought I would have been.
There are still so many questions I have on a daily basis and I am often second guessing myself. I realize that some of the second guessing is my own insecurities and I also realize that every baby is different in their needs and wants but it can be so disheartening at times.
Picture this: Your child is crying, you have gone over the list of things that usually make them happy or calm them; diaper change, hungry, teething, tired, wanting a specific toy or some play time with a certain someone that isn't you but nothing is working. Absolutely, NOTHING is working. You've gone over this list several times to try to calm them and still, they cry. What do you do? What WOULD you do?
I, unlike some new mothers, have a backup plan to my list, her name is Oma. She is my mother, my daughter's grandmother, she raised two beautiful and healthy daughters, my sister and I, and has much more experience by far than I could ever seem to think I do. Whenever I start second guessing myself or have gone over the list so many times that I'm ready to pull my hair out, I call her.
When I do give her a call, she listens to what I have to say, usually agrees with my "diagnosis" of the problem and reassures me that what I have decided to do is similar to or the same as what she would do. There are some times where she will think of something I haven't and will suggest it but never force it on me. She realizes that my daughter is my daughter and that the in the end it is completely up to me as to how to raise her or take care of her needs and wants and I'm forever grateful for that. I know some new parents who don't have the luxury of a grandparent who does or would do the same things for their children and grandchildren.
I am and forever will be eternally grateful that my mother, Oma, has been around to help me in this first year of new mommyhood for me and my daughter and that she will be around for my second daughter in just the same way.
And "Oma time" is just fantastic. I have a unique living situation, you see, my mother who is physically disabled from years of transcription work (her back and hands are so messed up that she can longer do the work she had done for over 25 years) and my autistic sister live with me and my fiance and soon to be two daughters. It's a full house for sure but I'm glad I have this situation because when I've come to my wits end and no longer know what to do or even just need a break for an hour or two my mother is right downstairs and more than willing to have "Oma time" with my little girl.
"Oma time" can be anywhere from a couple hours to half the day, depending on how Oma is feeling, but there are even times where it's only for an hour or so and even that small break is a great relief to me. I couldn't be more blessed or more grateful for that hour some days and other days, my daughter doesn't get "Oma time" at all and those days are okay, as well.
My daughter really has brought so much joy to my mother's life, she's become Oma's little buddy, sharing toys and food with her and listening to music with her (my daughter will start dancing and moving her little head back and forth to the beat of some music that only she can hear and it is quite adorable) and dancing. My mother has battled depression for many years and having a granddaughter to share time and energy with has really brightened up her life.
I stray from the topic though, as I usually do, forgive me. What I'm trying to get at is that as a new mom you will forever have questions and you will always second guess yourself. It's inevitable, it's going to happen because no one is perfect and it's ridiculous for you to think that you know everything there is to know about children and raising them just because you've babysat a few or you've helped out with raising someone else's child or because you've read all the books on raising children you could possibly find.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, will prepare you for taking care of your own child except for personal experience. Even then, you have to remember that every child is different and that way may have worked for your first child may or may not work for the second child or third or fourth or whichever number you may be on. Yes, you may have all the basic experience down, diaper changing, formula making or breastfeeding, whichever, medicine giving (if you do), fever reducing, teething consoling and so much more but really think of it this way, could you find someone or do you know someone who is comforted in the exact same way you are? Or by the same things? You probably don't and if you do, then you are one lucky duck.
When you start second guessing yourself, turn to someone you trust to help you find an answer or to just give you a little self esteem boost and let you know that you really are doing what's best for your child. Be it a Mommy group on facebook, your pediatrician or even your own mother, everyone needs that little extra oomph in their self esteem when they start the second guessing process because nothing is working. So don't be afraid to turn to them in your time of need. And remember, everyone is different, what works for one child may or may not work for another and it doesn't mean there is anything "wrong" with you or them, it just means they're different, their needs are different and it may take time to figure things out but patience is your biggest ally in raising a child.