What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Mom

During those nine long months of that first pregnancy, most of us first-time moms probably did all sorts of research about pregnancy.

First, we probably focused on figuring out if that new ache or pain that showed up during our first, second, or third was normal. Then, as that 40-weeks mark drew closer and closer, we studied up on signs of the onset of true labor and what to pack for the hospital. And then, of course, we read all about labor and delivery.

Finally, with each passing day, the anticipation heightened to where we were just ready for this baby to come.

And then suddenly, it happened: the baby that we had waited so long to come finally arrived!

The baby was in our arms.

We were now a mom.

What an incredible experience.

And then we realized that, despite all the studying and reading and researching that we had done, we hadn’t covered everything. We still had a lot to learn.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, here are some of the things we wish we had known about being a mom and caring for our new little bundle of joy!


Postpartum is hard. For some women, those first few days and weeks might even be harder than labor and delivery, so give yourself time to recover. It is okay to give yourself permission to say ‘no’ to extra activities and allow yourself to take it extra slow those first few weeks. Your body just went through a major ordeal and you hit the ground running. Feel free to ask fellow moms about their postpartum experience, as well as their labor and delivery experience! Most women are more than willing to share their experiences in all these areas!

Milk let-downs are painful! No one warned me that in those first few months of breastfeeding there would be multiple times a day where my breasts would feel like there were a thousand prickles poking into me. They also didn’t warn me that I would be almost frozen in place while waiting for the sensation to pass. I thought something was seriously wrong and that I might have had mastitis. Eventually, it got better but I still didn’t know if it was normal. At a later appointment, I mentioned it to my doctor. She laughed it off and said “Oh yes! I can remember being in the store, just standing there waiting for it to pass.” Four kids later and I can now also attest, it’s normal.

Breastfeeding isn’t as easy as it might look. There are so many facets of breastfeeding that can go wrong. And sometimes breastfeeding can be hard. Really hard. So if your breastfeeding journey is so much harder than you expected it to be, it is okay to make the decision to pursue an alternative method of feeding your child. You are not less of a mom if you choose to not exclusively breastfeed! 

Having a simple manual breast pump on hand is a lifesaver. Even if you’re not planning to ever use it, get one. With my first child, we had latch issues, so when my milk first came in, I was in so much pain! My little hand pump relieved the incredible pressure and helped me to endure during those first six weeks until I could finally say “Ok, I think this is how nursing is supposed to work!” I am so thankful for that little pump. 

As a side-note, if you are having trouble with breastfeeding, getting an appointment with a lactation consultant is money well-spent! They take their time with you and are ever so helpful! However, if you’re tight on money, there are a lot of great, free resources online that offer help in this area as well. If you are on Instagram, @karrie_locher is a postpartum nurse and has an incredible amount of helpful information in her story highlights on postpartum in general, as well as tons of help for troubleshooting problems you run into while breastfeeding or pumping.

Parenting is not all black and white. I started my parenting journey thinking it was going to be pretty cut and dry as far as teaching my kids what is right and wrong and training them with yes or no. Boy, did I ever have a lot to learn (and the water is only getting deeper). For example, my child has a meltdown. Now I not only have to address that their fit is wrong but also evaluate their little heart because it is not wrong for them to have sadness in many instances. So here I have to correct sin while at the same time caring for genuine emotion. Parenting takes a lot more grace and wisdom and TIME as we nurture little hearts! 

It is okay to make exceptions to good habits. Working to establish routines and schedules and sleep habits and so on can feel all-consuming at times. And then, when bedtime ends up being an hour later than usual or a road trip throws routine all out of whack, it is easy to feel like all of our hard work for the little progress that we have made is being thrown out the window. But you know what? In the end, it usually doesn’t end up being as bad as we expected it to be. So relax, take life as it comes, and try to not stress too much about those exceptions when they come your way!

Parenting reveals the sin in my heart. Before I became a parent, I had no idea that God would use parenting as a tool to help me grown in my sanctification. I am slowly learning that more often than not, it is my own sinful heart that is to blame for a rough day of parenting, not my child’s misbehavior.


Being a mom is definitely not an easy job–so many ups and downs, joys and sorrows. However, there really is nothing that can quite compare to the incredible joy of having someone call you Mom!

Loving on the mom with a newborn

We recently welcomed baby #4 into our family. What an exhaustingly sweet time! With each addition to our family I have been amazed at the creative and loving ways people have shown up for us in these seasons of transition. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to bless a momma with a newborn so you can also show love and support to those moms that are in your life. 

  1. Set up two weeks of meals for after baby arrives ( Here is an extremely easy tool to help you set something like this up. https://takethemameal.com/ )
  2. Help prep freezer meals that she can pull out later.
  3. Give local restaurant gift cards for her pull out in a pinch. (Subway, Pizza Hut, etc.)
  4. Drop off a year supply (can be less 😉 ) of paper plates, silverware, etc. 
  5. Set up a diaper/wipes pounding. 
  6. Offer to come over and clean/vacuum while she takes a bath/shower. 
  7. Text her and let her know you are praying for her. 
  8. Write notes/verses on a bunch of newborn diapers so she can smile while she’s doing changes.
  9. Make a goodie basket for her to pull out whenever she goes to nurse. This can include mini water bottles, snacks, verse cards, lanolin cream, fun little gifts for her to open, etc. 
  10. Drop off new toys/books for any older siblings to help keep them entertained while they all adjust to large amounts of time being taken up with nursing/feedings. 
  11. Take any older siblings to the park or library so Mom can snatch a quick nap.
  12. Offer to sit with the baby while Mom goes and does something with any older siblings in order to give them some needed quality time together.
  13. Babysit ALL the kids so she and her husband can go on a date. 
  14. Offer to vacuum out their family car. (Someone did this for us with baby #4. I had never even contemplated it as being a helpful idea but this allowed the van to become a clean space for my brain to relax in every time I had to load all the kids up. And instead of being greeted by a mess, I was reminded me of just how loved I am.)

“Best Advice” we’ve ever received

The past year has been different in so many ways for all of us. Most of us have spent a lot more time at home and a lot less time with people; perhaps we’ve also had to do without or get creative with essentials. And undoubtedly, we have all had to redefine “normal.” Yet even with all the changes, a lot of things have stayed the same–we are still wives, mothers, homemakers, friends–and so some advice we have been given by other women over the years rings just as strong and true today as it ever has. We hope these little nuggets of advice that have been helpful to us will be a blessing to you and encourage your heart as you go about the roles and responsibilities that God has placed before you!

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“There are times when my husband doesn’t deserve my service and that’s when I just say ‘Lord, this service is for you!’”  

A dear friend of mine shared these thoughts at a time when I was really struggling with submission. Her timely comment helped me to remove my husband from the situation in my mind and realize anew that my service is ultimately an act of worship to my God. – Chrystal

 “Make your plans in pencil.” 

A missionary lady shared this with a group of us when I was in Bible College.  The point is that we can make plans but as we make our plans we must remember that God is ultimately  in control and we should hold those plans in an open hand. There have been countless times over the years where I have gone to write something in my planner, set down my pen and gone to find a pencil. There have been many times that I have gone back with the eraser and been thankful for that perspective when I made those plans in pencil.  – Rachel

“When I was having a rough day with my kids, I’d put them in the bathtub and let them play for a while. Some days they took three baths!” 

My older friend shared this with me and we both laughed over it. Her frankness about parenting not always being easy was such an encouragement to me! And it also gave me the freedom to use her idea on my own rough parenting days. – Chrystal

Just do something!” 

When asking an older, wiser woman for advice on how to know God’s will for my life, she gave the illustration of a parked car: it isn’t going to go anywhere as long as it is parked, but once the car is moving, the driver is able to steer it in one direction or another. Similarly, when wondering whether something is God’s will for my life, many times I just need to do something instead of waiting around for the answer to fall in my lap. God will then open or close doors, as He sees fit!   – Angie

“Live your life in such a way that for those coming behind you, it will have mattered that you were here.”

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth shared something along these lines at one of her conferences and I have thought about it many times since then. I may never meet my grandchildren or great-grandchildren but the choices I am making today can make an eternal difference in their lives. – Chrystal

Ask yourself “What can I do now to help make life easier later?” 

This is the question that I learned to start asking when I read The Lazy Genius by Kendra Adachi. As simple as it seems, this question has been so helpful during my current season of life with young children. It has made me learn the importance of redeeming the time and realize how helpful it is to pick up a few toys quickly or do some simple prep for supper during naptime.  – Angie

Empty Cisterns

Have you ever watched the “Mom Song” on Youtube? (If not, you can check it out here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXgoJ0f5EsQ

I think we can all relate to the busyness this mom is describing. Some days it feels like we are living a never ending cycle of meals, laundry, bills, groceries and kids who need our physical and emotional energy. At the end of the day, we collapse on the couch, feeling desperate to be refueled because we know that tomorrow will require more of the same energy we used up today.

When those days, weeks or months of busyness hit, where do we find our source of strength to carry on? Often, I find myself wanting to turn to my phone, Facebook, a movie, etc. I want somewhere to go where I can just veg out and have nobody needing or requiring anything of me. After all, I’ve earned a break, right? 

While there is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying any one thing, I have discovered that when I turn to “things” for my refueling they are always sadly lacking in the “life-giving” arena. In fact, I often end up more tired because I’ve stayed up too late phone-scrolling or binge-watching, desperate for some down time to myself. 

Jeremiah 2:13 says “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

Everything we have ever really wanted or needed is found in God, yet, we are so determined to look in every other place imaginable. 

We waste our time digging wells that will never yield anything with which to quench our thirst. We want a refreshing drink but instead of water, we keep on turning up dust.

Jeremiah says that God is “the fountain of living waters.” I love that analogy. A fountain keeps on giving, keeps on pouring. It never stops running. So, when we’re feeling empty, He is the One we need to constantly be turning to for “filling.” 

When we open our eyes in the morning and the kids are already clamoring for our attention, will we stop with the kids and pray that God would give us patience? 

When the kids are down for naps and we’re feeling stretched thin, will we grab a quick drink from the Word before closing our eyes for that much needed nap? 

When we’re feeling short of temper, will we text others and ask them to pray for us? 

When we fail to show kindness to those God has entrusted to our care, will we confess that sin to God and accept the forgiveness He offers? You see, when we choose to run to God, instead of all the empty cisterns that so easily draw our attention, we will find the true rest, true strength and true life we are seeking. It can only be found in Him.

These are a few of our favorite things (Baby Edition)

Because Chrystal and Angie both had babies recently, we thought it would be fun to compile a list of some of our favorite baby items! Some of these items are essentials, but other items are ones that we have found to make life with a baby a little bit easier! (Please note that while some of the links are for the specific brand that we like, other links just go to the broad category of the item because we are just recommending the item in general, not a specific make or model.)

Johnny-Jumper — Get one of these! Not only have all my girls loved bouncing in these but I have loved all the work I’ve been able to accomplish while they are happily entertaining themselves!
Boppy Pillow — This is really helpful during those early newborn days. It can be used for mama to sit on while healing or it can help in supporting and keeping the baby in place while nursing. This is also really nice to use during tummy time, as well as when the baby is learning to sit.
Bandana Bibs — These bibs are super handy (and cute!) during those weeks of endless drool. However, I have found that not all bandana bibs are made equal. I like these particular bibs because of the special fabric on the back that helps protects the baby’s shirt from getting totally soaked. I also like that they have a snap instead of velcro, as velcro often either doesn’t stay on well or can easily irritate the baby’s skin because of the rough texture.
Bumbo Seat & Tray — We used the Bumbo seat and tray as a highchair for our daughter from the time she was about 6 months old until she was about 2 years old and we loved it! Initially the table seemed a little on the small side, but we never had issues with it. Unlike traditional highchairs/seats that have a cover or insert, this model of the Bumbo seat is all one piece (excluding the tray attachment), which makes it super easy to clean out the crumbs that land in it during meals!
Reusable Food Pouches — I initially expected to use these pouches when we were out and about doing errands and such, but because they are not sealed, the food would need to be kept cold. For this reason, they haven’t been as handy to “throw in the bag and go” as I originally thought they would be. However, they have still been super nice for using at home because they help eliminate spills and extra messes. Our daughter uses one everyday when she eats applesauce for her afternoon or bedtime snack! These Baby Brezza pouches are nice because they open on the side of the pouch instead of the top, which makes them very easy to fill and wash.
Baby Monitor– Unless you want to go the video-monitor route, we found that the cheapest monitor at Target worked just fine for audio. Quality and distance were rarely an issue.
Mini Crib– We were pressed for space when we were expecting our first child so we chose to buy a mini crib instead of a full size crib. Now, four kids later, we live in a different house with more space but we’re still using the mini crib. We like that it doesn’t fill up more of the room than necessary and that our kids have had no trouble sleeping in pack n’ plays when out and about because they are used to the same dimensions in their crib. ***(Our kids did outgrow it around age 2, at which point we just moved them into a toddler bed. However, if you want your child in a crib for longer, then this might not be as good of an option for you.)
Pack ‘n play With both of our babies, we have just used a pack ‘n play for their bed and it has worked just fine! Similar to the mini crib, the pack ‘n play has been nice because it is so small; it has also helped cut down on expenses because we didn’t have to get both a crib (for at home) and a pack ‘n play (for travelling.)
Manual breast pump This isn’t exactly a baby item, I found a simple hand pump to be a lifesaver during those first weeks of breastfeeding when I and the baby were still figuring out how to do it! It has also come in handy for the occasional nursing strike!

This list is short and sweet, but we hope you have found it helpful! We know that there are a lot of other really good baby products out there, so if you have an item that you just can’t live without, we would love to hear about it!