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7 Biggest Rookie Mom Mistakes

Photograph by Twenty20

The biggest secret about parenting is that none of us knows what we're doing. We have instincts to feed, clothe, shelter and love our kids. But beyond that? We're all just winging it.

As you adjust to this new world called parenthood, you'll often find yourself wondering what to do in the ever-changing circumstances and situations to come. Be assured: you’ll make mistakes. You'll also learn along the way.

Here are 7 common rookie mom mistakes. No shame if you made them, too.

1. Giving them loud toys

“Huh, waking up to endless meow-meow-meows from a cat-shaped keyboard is not exactly how I'd like to start my day.” If you get your kids hooked on toys with buttons, lights and sounds, that's all you'll hear during playtime. Now I understand the resurgence of wooden toys and cloth dolls. They'll use their imaginations and I won't have to hide their toys in the garage.

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2. Fancy baby clothes

They look adorable, no doubt. But spit-up and diaper blowouts are a part of life. The last thing you want when this happens are baby clothes labeled “hand-wash only.” Eventually, you start to look for kid clothes that you can easily wash, won't be easily stained (buh-bye white dresses) and can withstand serious playtime.

3. Not being in the photos

I was a stay-at-home mom for a year, but if you look back through our photos of the time, there are hardly any that include me. For instance, I only have one sort-of-blurry picture of me breastfeeding my daughter. That's it? That's what I have to remember this phase of motherhood?! I was always behind the camera, but I wish I had asked someone to take photos of us together to preserve those early memories.

4. Over-packing the diaper bag

Seriously, we don’t need so many blankets, extra bottles and high-contrast educational baby toys for a trip to the pediatrician. When you're a new mom, you pack for every possible scenario your baby might encounter. But then you to lug everything around and for what? Just to use one diaper and a couple of wipes? The more you get used to motherhood, the more comfortable you'll feel leaving the house with only the essentials.

There's a very real temptation (and pressure) to devote ourselves entirely to motherhood.

5. Leaving your new shoes on the floor while a potty-training toddler is on the loose

My shoes, my beautiful, beautiful shoes! I guess my real mistake was thinking I could have suede shoes in the first place. Delicate leather and 3-year-olds just aren't a good combination. Here I thought I was some kind of super mom who could still enjoy impractical fashions from time to time. Lesson learned.

6. “I think I’ll skip caffeine this morning”

If you're like me, you might have read some holistic magazine article about how caffeine is ruining our health. So you commit to ease off the stuff and skip caffeine one particular morning. Unfortunately, a mom's morning without coffee or tea is setting her up for failure. You'll be tired and irritable—more than usual. The next morning, you enjoy your usual cup.

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7. Not doing something that is all your own

There's a very real temptation (and pressure) to devote ourselves entirely to motherhood. But no matter how much you love your kids, they can't become your sole identity. You've got to keep doing something that is all your own or else you'll burn out. Maybe it's little things like reading a chapter of a book or painting your nails after the baby goes to bed. Maybe it's something bigger like continuing on your career path, despite what others want you to do. That “something” is different for all of us. But we all need it, even you, Rookie Mom.

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