What I Learned My First Year As A Mother


1. My second child is not a replica of my son, only with a vagina instead of a penis. Somehow, I thought she would be. She has the nerve to be her very own person.


2. Babies are merciless. Even when you’re the one who was practically ripped in half by a head in the 99th percentile for newborns, that newborn may come out looking exactly like the man who did it to you. Not fair. Maybe God is a man. Damn chauvinist.


3. Mommy brain also includes forgetting how hard a baby was the first time around, which is why you agree to do it again. I seemed to only remember my son sleeping anywhere and everywhere and being out for at least 6 hours through the night from day one. My husband reminded me that I was very, very wrong. People who say their babies sleep through the night at three or five weeks or even five months are fucking lying to you .


4. One kid is nothing. Breezy. Easy peezy. Two is a veritable tornado. Three is more than I could handle (without ruining my nice hair).


5. Despite what the American Academy of blah blah blah says, television, mobile devices, and computers are great babysitters. Why pay $10 an hour?


6. Yes, the going rate for a babysitter is $10 an hour. I wish I got paid for babysitting my own kids. That’s $120 a day x 5 days = (hold on a minute let me get my calculator) $600 a week, times 52 weeks in a year divided by 12, is a whopping $2600 a month. How much is that in a year? Only 31,000? WTF? Maybe I wouldn’t need to pay taxes, though? And don’t forget overtime. Waking up in the middle of the night would be 50 bucks a shot. Breastfeeding, extra. A lot extra.


7. Speaking of breastfeeding, guess what? Your kid won’t croak if you don’t do it! In fact, your baby can be plenty healthy and not appear at all to have a pallor of sickness if not given the precious golden drops of mama’s milk. Formula, my dears, is not poison. This I’ve learned. (In fact, my almost one-year-old daughter doesn’t seem to want to give it up, which is pissing me off.)


8. Formula! It’s all the same! Target brand, Walmart (though I refuse to shop there), supermarket brand, all must adhere to the same FDA standards of vitamins and minerals. So that $28 can of formula you keep buying? Toss it and go for the generic $13 a can. Seriously. You won’t be harming your baby. She’ll thank you for the savings in her college fund.


9. Not only are girls’ clothes cuter, they also allow us moms to live vicariously. While I may be frustrated by five kinds of jeans that don’t fit well, all jeans look fabulous on her. So I’ve been buying lots. And lots. And then some more, because she grows fast. Don’t even mention shoes. I might have to open a new credit card….


10. Parenting gets better and easier, mostly because I become more confident. When my wonderful, adorable family is together, giggling and gnawing on cookies and talking about deep subjects like Spiderman and Buzz Lightyear and pureed bananas, I am joyful. I am quite a lucky woman.


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  1. 2

    Vicki says

    At 8 weeks until my first baby is due, I’m wary of MORE advice and lesson. But I have to say, this is brilliant and exactly what I want to hear right about now. All of it. Thanks.

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    • 4

      Jana @ An Attitude Adjustment says

      You’re right–you get too much advice as a new mom. But the one thing you don’t hear enough is to trust yourself. So here I am, telling you–ignore the multitude of articles and just trust yourself to be able to figure out what’s best for you and the baby.

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    • 5

      Jana @ An Attitude Adjustment says

      So yeah, Vicki, I posted two nearly identical responses to you because the I didn’t think the first one showed up. Anyway, I guess it doesn’t hurt to tell you TWICE to trust yourself. Here is the third. Three is the magic number, right? :)

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  2. 7

    Karen MEG says

    I had to laugh at #9. Just wait until she gets a tiny bit older and has some say in the outfits. My baby girl is hitting 6 next month and already has her own recycling room of clothes for her younger cousins. (Just kidding – sorta). And #2 – pretty hilarious. Although both my kids look alarmingly mostly like me – I thank goodness for their crooked baby fingers a la their Dad, that’s all I’ve got to say!

    Great post. Enjoy each moment with your “last” baby – although you never know, right?

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  3. 10

    Kameron says

    So true! I never knew how easy one kid was until number two came along. My situation is reversed as number one came out with that sparkle and number two is more subdued, but we all have to have one right??

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  4. 12

    Amy Hillis says

    *giggles* I’m a stay home mom with 6 kids, 4 under the age of 7. It gets messier, louder and my hair is a wee bit wilder than it was 10 years ago! But it’s all good and it’s all about confidence!Great article! Thanks for the giggles!

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    • 13

      Jana @ An Attitude Adjustment says

      I am bowing to you right now from my home where I’m avoiding my own two by letting them watch the best babysitter–television. Six!? I wish I had an award to give you virtually. :)

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  5. 14

    dusty earth mother says

    “see the dust bunnies on the floor as not a sign of my domestic inadequacy, but cool fuzzy things that might feel neat in my mouth”. Okay, that is the best line ever. Jana, I read you all the time and this is one of your absolute best and thanks for the babysitting tally; now I realize how much I’m really worth :-) Love you girl!

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    • 17

      Jana @ An Attitude Adjustment says

      I knew I’d get one of these. I did breastfeed for two months until it was no longer possible. And formula isn’t poison. Poison kills. Babies don’t die from formula, or didn’t you know?

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      • 18

        Elaine G says

        Hmmm, lets see..poison? was breast feeding my son (now 26yrs old) at 4 days old he scratched my nip with a fingernail, the scratch and my milk glands got infected..(btw pain like i’ve never felt before!! or since) almost killed me, and if i’d tried to nurse him then? would have hurt him too, Formula feeding for the boy after that..and gee he (and his 11yr old sister) are fine happy people! Its a personal choice and those who don’t agree with it need to keep it to themselves. Pediatricians, Nurses, etc say its safe and also for some women the only way to feed their children. People need to stop trying to make Mothers feel guilty for formula feeding (not that i ever felt that way) , it makes them just as bad as those who don’t agree/think its horribly wrong to nurse in public, if not worse . This is just my opinion though.

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          • 21

            Becca says

            Huh, funny. I fed baby #1 formula as well (didn’t have much of a choice in the matter since we adopted him) and he’s still alive. And the healthiest kid of all my friends’ kids (seriously, the dude never gets sick). And he’s smart. And damn, the kid is fast. I breastfed baby #2 and loved every minute, but given the evidence in front of me, it does appear that formula is not, indeed poison after all. :)

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          • 22

            Yvonne says

            You have convinced yourselves. I just hope you won’t sway some other new mother into rationalizing the use of formula who may have chosen to breastfeed her baby.

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          • 23

            Jana @ An Attitude Adjustment says

            I hope to give a mother the confidence to do what she thinks is best for her and her family, and that means not putting herself through more than she can handle. While breastfeeding is wonderful and special and shows how amazing our bodies are, it can also be quite difficult for some people. Choosing not to do it, or stopping when it gets too difficult or tiring, does not make someone a bad mother. Women feel enough guilt about all the things they should be doing for their children–they don’t need to be told that feeding their babies formula is akin to poison, that they are inadequate or “not trying hard enough.” I often wonder why some people advocate breastfeeding over the mother’s mental health and well-being. What is the point? What does one achieve through making a mother feel like she is not good enough? It doesn’t sound very woman-friendly to me.

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          • 24

            Yvonne says

            “In all my time & effort researching the best ways to mother, I’ve come full circle to realize that in almost all cases, the best choice for the health of children & mothers are the ones you’d make if stranded on a deserted island & forced to follow your instincts. Breastfeed. Sleep by your baby. Wear your baby. Keep your baby whole. Communicate with your baby. Listen & respond to your baby’s cries.” ~Jennifer Coias

            Enough said. But I’m sure you’re probably one of those people who likes to get the last word in–like me. :)

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          • 26

            Jana @ An Attitude Adjustment says

            You sound pretty angry, Yvonne. It might be best to discontinue our discussion since my opinion–that formula is not poison, that mothers shouldn’t feel guilty for yet another thing they may struggle to do–upsets you so much.

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          • 28

            Jennifer says

            #1, so, so true. I kept looking at my son and wondering why he wasn’t exactly like my daughter. My mom (ever the rationalist) replied, “well are you anything like your brother.” Ah. The voice of sanity.

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  6. 29

    Erin Margolin says

    I have been thinking about # 6 a lot lately. I tend to obsess about the fact that I’m not bringin’ home any bacon, but man, if I was? I somehow might feel better about myself. Validated, maybe. We moms work 24/7 and frankly, $10/hour seems a bit on the cheap side if you ask me.

    Wonderful post!
    erin @ the mother load

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  7. 33

    "Cookie" says

    Loved it! So true! My hubs and I were just talking the other night…. “You don’t realize how easy 1 child is until you have 2.” SOOO true! And, I *think* I want another. But really, I don’t know if I could handle it. Right now…. we can tag team. With a 3rd child, one of us would have to deal with 2 at once…… and god bless my husband but no way in hell could he handle two child at once on a regular basis! :)

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  8. 34

    Abby says

    I also thought Baby #2 was going to be a replica of Baby #1, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. And they’re both boys. If I had a girl we would be flat broke from footwear alone. But #6 — you’re telling me you only “work” 5 days a week?! Even when my hubs is home on weekends, I still feel like a full-time mommy. (Of course his version of taking the kids “all day” means playing with one for a couple hours while the other naps!)

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  9. 35

    suzanne @ pretty swell says

    Talk about refreshing! I love this article. I’m pregnant with #2 and, I swear, I think every single day about how much my life is going to change. Having one kid kicked my butt that first year, so I can only imagine how another child is going to shake things up. But your last point? Reminds me why I want another child. I can’t wait.

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  10. 36

    MacDougal Street Baby says

    Great post. Totally true about girls clothes. The only time I get wistful is when one of them grows out of a really cute outfit. As for the debate over nursing and formula, I think more young mothers need to hear that it’s okay not to breastfed. I nursed all four of my kids for nine months and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I suffered physically and mentally. The pressure I put on myself was grotesque. Women have enough to deal with. They shouldn’t have to experience guilt right out of the gate.

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  11. 38

    Sarah says

    My sister gave me the best two pieces of advise:
    1. You are The Mom (kinda like you da man) – it’s your baby and you know best! Trust it and go with it. Unless you’re an idiot – then ask for someone’s opinion.
    2. Do Not (under any circumstances) Let Them Outnumber You. Which is why we have two kids. See how that works? Two kids – two adults. And I’ll be dammed but they still win – I cannot imagine what it would be like with 3!

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  12. 39

    Becca says

    “Also valuable, I guess, is how my identity morphs into something new and old and fairly beautiful as I age; how much having children allows me to be playful and imaginative, something my soul has longed for for much of my life; how inspiring yet overwhelming childhood can be; how I never quite knew joy until I heard my son and daughter cackle at each other; how marriage seems utterly simple until you add kids into the equation.”

    Yes. Beautifully said.

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