Momtourage: Surviving the Early Stages of Motherhood, Moms With Children Newborn to Age 5, This One Is For You!

We thought it would be fun and informative to occasionally write an article specific to moms (or parents) with children in this age range. Why? Because we barely survived it ourselves, so we thought our wisdom and experience could benefit some moms (or parents) out there. This is why we got into business in the first place; to share, to learn, and most to support one another.

Having two best friends (a little younger than I am) with children in this age range, I often think of them and think how difficult it must be living in a pandemic with small children. When my children were this age, we had music class, playgroup, and all sorts of activities throughout the day; it got me through these challenging parenting days. The outings and adventures were precisely what my children needed, socialization. There is great difficulty in staying active and socially-distant with little ones who need peer interaction now. How can it be done? 

I am pretty sure after I survived these years, I visited every doctor in a fifty-mile radius to see if I was still healthy (yes, I am a self-proclaimed hypochondriac). I often joke that my nervous and endocrine systems took a hit from the years my children were in this age range, and the medical findings would probably support that hypothesis. But all joking aside, parenting at this time is laborious for an array of reasons. 

Some of those reasons are obvious; an infant needs constant feeding and attention, all hours of the day and night! Coffee, please! 

At the next stage, an 18-month old needs constant supervision; having just been released from the cradle into the world, you must follow behind them with every step they take. They are always getting into everything; you cannot turn your back for even a second. I used to say my son was a dangerous combination of fearless and clumsy at this age. Advice from the Momtourage: childproof everything! 

As they get into the toddler years, we have all heard about the terrible twos, and sometimes that bleeds into the “threenager” and then finicky fours! My daughter is a girl that knows what she wants, and I love that about her, but dressing her for pre-school (among other things) was always a challenge during the toddler years. What is the best way to help a determined toddler? Give them choices. 

But honestly, the most significant challenge during this time is the gap between what they are feeling and what they are capable of articulating. Your children are building their communication skills, and we, as parents, are working on our comprehension skills. The best way to handle this is to help them communicate better, encourage them to explain how they feel, and give them the tools and guidance to help express themselves. 

My mom couldn’t remember those days, so I would often ask her questions, but and my friends proved more helpful. These years end up becoming a blur for most, I guess? But my mother did have one treasured piece of information that always gave me a renewed sense of strength. She said, “Newborn to age five is tough, but once they go to kindergarten, I promise it gets easier, and that lasts until about eleven or twelve, and then you have to buckle up again!”

Boy, was she right – thanks, mom!

This leads me to the advice for new moms:

First and foremost, you need a friend (or two) who have kids the same age; find that person, whether at pre-school, music class, daycare, or the soccer field. Your children will go through the same developmental stages around the same time, and these friends will be your go-to people for advice, comfort, and, most of all, friendship. I could not have made it through these times without those people in my life, and to this day, some of them are my very best friends. We still share and help each other through new parenting stages as we embark on the challenges that having a middle-schooler brings. 

Secondly, make sure that you do take some time for yourself; you need it now more than ever. Try not to feel guilty. Thankfully, I had my parents, brother, and aunt and uncle who could babysit from time to time, and I realize that may be a challenge for parents now. 

My aunt was always so happy to help with the children. She remembered how much it meant to her when her mother (my nana) babysat for her children. She was reminiscing the other day when she babysat and held my son in her arms the entire time (it was hours, a whole dinner date, with dessert!) She just couldn’t put him down; in her words, “He was just too cute, and I didn’t want to wake him.” 

Your extended family enjoys spending time with your children, just as much as your children enjoy and benefit from spending time with them. You don’t realize it at the time, but you need the breathing space too. 

And lastly, remember this is only a short time, you will miss their cute little voices, their dancing to the gummy bear song when they think you aren’t watching (or filming), the television show songs that get stuck in your head and you find yourself humming out in public, you will miss that. 

The days may be long, but the years go by fast; that is the truth. I remind myself throughout every parenting stage, even the tween years; you don’t get this time back. You have to live in the moment and enjoy every second. 

Missing this cute stage a bit, 
The Momtourage 

With two adorable children in this age range, be on the lookout for some more valuable information from the Momtourage in our upcoming article written by mother, celebrity-stylist, lifestyle expert, Bravo TV personality, podcaster, and our friend Ali Levine

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