10 Things I’ve Learned as a First-time Mom

It’s been over a year now since I became a full-time mom while working from home because of the pandemic. On the other hand, I just celebrated my tenth year of blogging and it feels like I'm forced to have a travel hiatus to take care of a little human being. But then, I must admit that I miss the good old backpacking days. I am not complaining though, I still consider myself blessed to have my two boys with me (the husband and the child) for twenty-four hours a day—all day, every day.

Ever since I entered motherhood, which took over my social media posts, I became more focused on child-rearing stuff on the internet—especially actual first-hand momma experiences of bloggers and influencers. And so, I thought of posting something I experienced as a first-time mom to my now 20-month old baby boy, Akira. Hopefully, I could somehow translate my passion in writing travel-related stories to mommy stuff.

The list is based from my personal experiences and I could easily extend it to a hundred or so but I'm trimming it down to ten. Just a little warning though—I am not an expert in child rearing and I do not wish to be the perfect mom raising the perfect son, ‘coz life is too boring and devoid of laughter and happiness when everything is smooth sailing.

1. The Goal Of Infancy Is Not Independence

I once read an article saying that a newborn baby could be trained to sleep on his own by letting him cry all night, leading him to fall asleep on his own. I was astonished, because, why? Why would you let your baby suffer at a very young age when they are naturally dependent on you? It may let you sleep longer, but why would our convenience matter at this crucial time of his life?

2. My Kid Is Not An Investment Plan

I want to be that mom who lets her child choose the career path he wants because he is passionate about it and not because I want him to primarily earn so much money from it. I want my son to be the best person he could be by doing something he loves, and that is my definition of what success is. Money is crucial, but happiness is more important.

3. My Child Is Not My Property.

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”

An excerpt from “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran

I read this beautiful poem when I was in college and it somehow influenced my thoughts on having children. So yes, Akira is not my property and he is his own person. I will guide and love him but I  definitely do not consider him as my possession.

4. Time Flies Fast

The first two weeks with Akira was really stressful especially for a first-time mom like me. But yeah, the sleepless nights will end and the endless diaper change will eventually stop. Hug and kiss your kids while they still allow it.

5. Being Compassionate, Kind, And Honest Is Better Than Being The Most Intelligent Kid

I, of all people, definitely know as a teacher that there are parents who are very keen on their child's academic performance which can lead to a child's toxic school environment focusing on the "award" rather than "learning" itself. I am hoping for my son to do all his best in all his endeavors, but he needs not to be on top of the class. Onthe other hand, I would be the happiest mom if he would grow up to have the most kind-hearted soul. 

6. Electronic Gadgets Are Okay For Some, But Not In Our Household

My child knows that a cellphone is not a toy. It may be hard to not go with the flow but my husband and I want him to explore real tangible things. And yes, he loves his books, toys, and boxes—yes, those discarded cardboard boxes.

7. It Is Okay For Babies To Cry, Sometimes

Babies couldn’t communicate verbally so they cry because they feel unsafe. Since Akira was born, I made it a point to immediately pick him up whenever he was about to cry—this gave him the security he needed. But now that he is older, he will sometimes let out an outburst when he gets frustrated when we don’t understand what he is trying to convey. So we let him express his frustrations while assuring him that everything will be okay.

8. People Will Give Unsolicited Advice, All The Time

I’m into exclusive breastfeeding for 20 months now and I couldn’t be happier. Upon knowing this, a friend blatantly asked me why I'm giving the cheapest possible milk option to my baby, then telling me that formula milk is way better than breast milk. I just laughed it off and told her that I appreciate her concern. But at the end of the day, it will be us, the parents, who will ultimately decide on the child’s welfare. Accept those kinds of comments and shrug it off afterwards.

9. It Is Okay For Our Child To Make Mistakes

Learning will foster if the environment of a child allows him to make mistakes and do something about it. I'm not the kind who would restrict my child to run just because I am afraid that he might fall down, I will allow him to explore for him to understand and know the consequences of the things he does.

10. Online Search Is My Best Friend

I would never know that giving an ice-cold bath to a sick baby can be very dangerous or that you should never give them honey if not for my intensive online searches. Thank goodness for information on demand—just know how to screen legit information from fake ones.

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