Note to Self: You’re Doing Great


There’s no way of knowing what kind of mother you’ll be. Before August was born, I had all these ideas about how I’d approach his first year.

1. Will make all his food by hand!
2. Will breastfeed exclusively for the first year!
3. Will avoid too many toys and gadgets!
4. Will consider cloth diapers!
5. No screens for two years!

Eight months later:

1. Ha.
2. Breastfed for three months.
3. House is full of crap.
5. Whoops.

Even with the best intentions, it was comical how quickly I fell from my first-time mom pedestal. We all want the best for our babies. We all want them to be healthy and happy. And it turns out, no book or expert can tell us exactly what our babies need, because everyone’s experience is COMPLETELY different.

In my more desperate moments, I had a couple laughable Google searches. A few highlights:

“baby chewed on dog toy should I be worried”
“is my baby allergic to me”
“how long can a person survive on 3 hours of sleep”
“what does green poop mean”
“how often should my baby be pooping”
“what does normal baby poop look like”
“baby hernia?”
“how to get over the fear of your baby choking”

Talk to any mother about the expectations she held for herself before the baby and how they’ve changed since becoming a mom and she’ll give you an earful, with some hearty belly laughs mixed with a tinge of nostalgia and reflection.

At some point, all of us realize that the best thing for our family means turning away from the rule books and opinions and the advice you didn’t ask for, and instead focus on trusting your gut, your life experience, and your love for your child.

Mom really does know best. And while no child is born with a set of instructions, each experience is different, and as parents, we have to trust that we are doing the best we can for our children; that I’ll be the best mom that I can be for my son.

Motherhood is a process, a sisterhood, a badge of honor. And no mom is alike, just as no baby is the same.
Sometimes it is filled with joy and other times it is filled with doubt.

The more I talk about these feelings and thoughts with other moms, the more I realize that I’m not alone in worrying about doing things the “right way.” And when I do follow my own gut, sometimes I fear other mothers will judge my decision. My friends who have children agreed.

I started asking myself why we felt this way. What was it about being a mom that made all of these confident, successful women question their choices and instill doubt?

While wrestling with this question, I connected with the team at Dove about the launch of their new skin care line, Baby Dove. I’ve been a fan of Dove for a long time, their lotions and soaps are gentle and were a godsend during my pregnancy. I knew that this new skin care line would be gentle enough to care for August’s skin.

What also excited me about this partnership (aside from the fact that it is available at Target), was Baby Dove’s #RealMoms campaign, focusing on trusting your instincts. This has been one of the hardest things for me to let go of, the insecurities of doing things the “right” way. This campaign is focused on reminding moms that there is no “right” way to be a mother, you need to trust your way.

Motherhood is a huge part of who I am, but it’s not all of my life. For me, part of trusting my way is to make sure that I’m caring for myself. Taking time to have a cup of coffee with a friend, connecting with other moms, growing my business. Aspects of my life that are still very important to me, and make me who I am. Part of the reason I wanted to work with Baby Dove, was the ability to share these insights with other moms that might have these same concerns about doing things the “right” way. I want to create the reassuring content that I needed during my time of self-doubt, and use Wit & Delight as a place for other moms to feel safe about sharing the good times and the bad times, without judgment.

I’ll be sharing with you, my own experiences along with my conversations with other mothers from all different backgrounds and experiences during this milestone filled the first year: the first smiles, the tears (his and mine), the first time I got peed on and laughed so hard I peed. This “Note to Self” series is a reminder to trust your way. You’re doing great.

Ed. note: This post was sponsored by Baby Dove. The compensation received in exchange for placement on Wit & Delight is used to purchase props, hire a photographer, write/edit the blog post and support the larger team behind Wit & Delight.

While compensation was received in exchange for coverage, all thoughts and opinions are always my own. Sponsored posts like these allow for the development of additional dynamic content to be produced, unsponsored. Thank you for supporting our partners!

BY Kate Arends - April 18, 2017

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add a comment

  1. Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    April 18th, 2017 at 10:36 am

    I really have to applaud all the Moms of this world. I don’t know how you all do it, you are really superhuman!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Taylor

    April 18th, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Love this! It is amazing how much a child changes how we think and do things. I always said I would never nurse my baby to sleep, well I did, and I did it until he weaned himself, it made the most sense to me and that was all that mattered, and he sleeps great! My most cherished advice when our son was an infant “this too shall pass”

  3. Jill Elliott

    April 18th, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Love, love, love this post. I, too, am constantly second guessing myself in the mom department. I worry about all the ways I am messing up little S daily…but in the end, I take comfort in knowing that I know my own child’s heart like my own and will make the right choices + decisions if I listen to my instincts.

    Beautifully written as always Kate!

  4. raja

    April 19th, 2017 at 2:21 am

    Nice baby tips very useful Thanks

  5. Anna

    April 19th, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Such a fantastic post AND a fantastic campaign. Way to go, Dove!!! As a mom to a 2.5 year old, I went through (and, to some extent, am still going through!) that whole second-guessing bit. I guess that’s just how parenthood works…on the job training 🙂

  6. Onyinyechi

    April 20th, 2017 at 2:52 am

    This was amazing to read. Had a smile on my face all through. Like you said, there is no best way to bring up a child. The most important thing is to follow your instincts and love the process.

  7. "Having it all" and other Motherhood Myths - Wit & Delight

    April 24th, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    […] was going to be the mom that “had it all”; I was going to make it work and make precious, wonderful moments that we would all look back on […]

  8. Shawnna Thompson

    April 25th, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    This! Loved this so much. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve often said that I thought I was the best mom ever, until I had my kids. We all go into this crazy parenting gig with the best plan for our babies, but as most of us have learned, most “plans” fly right out the window when small children and post-partum hormones are involved 😉 We just have to deal with things as they come and trust our intuition. We also have to invest in boxed wine and reeeeeeeally good undereye concealer.

    Also, I’m going to sound like a massive tool for saying this… but the beginning of this post reminded me of something that I wrote on my blog, if you feel like checking it out.

  9. Kristin

    April 26th, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Thank you – This was great. I’m a soon to be mom and have already been feeling the pressure from others. I’m curious, I know you said you planned avoid getting too many toys/gadgets. What have you found to be totally necessary for having an infant? I’ve been toiling over if we actually need a ‘travel system’ or if we truly need a ‘baby bath’, white noise machine.. etc.

    Thank you!

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