The big milestones (first word! first steps!) are amazing and worth the wait. And there’s a lot more for new parents to celebrate. Appreciating small parenting wins and everyday victories like these will give you a much-needed boost in energy and confidence.
1. You left your home in clean clothes and even styled your hair. No spit-up, pajama pants or mom bun, nothing but the dark circles under your eyes to give away how you usually look post-baby.
2. “Thanks, but I’ll handle this my way.” You can practically hear the applause in your head when you shut down someone giving you unsolicited advice about your baby. Sorry, mother-in-law or nosy stranger on the street, but this mom knows what she's doing.
3. The first time you figure out how to fasten your baby carrier and place your child securely inside it, you feel like you can handle anything parenting throws at you.
4. You see a new mom struggling with getting her stroller through a door or with fresh spit-up on her, and you step in and know exactly how to help. Her grateful “thank you” reminds you that you’re in an amazing community of new parents who are looking out for one another.
5. That first glass of wine. Or sushi. Or soft cheese. All those things you gave up when you were pregnant and couldn’t wait to welcome back into your life.
6. Your child slept through the night! Sure, you woke up repeatedly to make sure they were breathing and worried something was wrong (and if you’re breastfeeding, your boobs are rock-hard), but you slept! You look and feel like a million bucks thanks to that sweet uninterrupted rest.
7. Your first mom friend is a game-changer. With babies the same age, you have a ton to talk about, and you’re so excited to have someone to text with at 5 a.m. when nobody else is up.
8. When your child makes a face or a noise and you’re on it. You know exactly whether your baby is tired, hungry, cold or needs a diaper change. Any parent who has held up a crying baby and wailed “What do you want?” knows exactly how big a victory this is.
9. That first baby giggle is the best sound in the world. After months of making silly faces and noises to a somber newborn audience, getting definitive proof that your baby thinks you’re funny is a total ego boost. You'll spend the next few days trying to get more laughs.
10. Having an uninterrupted talk, by phone, FaceTime or in person, with a good friend. You talked about something other than your baby, and you felt like your old self again. Yes!
11. You’ve found a daily routine that works for you and, more importantly, for your little one. After weeks of winging it with a newborn, a schedule means you can plan when you’ll be able to shower and drink a hot coffee each day, and that is gold.
12. You transferred your sleeping baby from the car seat to the crib without waking them up. And then you nearly woke them up by doing a victory dance next to their crib.
13. Your first date night! Even if that date is just picking up takeout and heading home, you and your partner have left the baby and your home and spent time together again. You’ve missed that time. So do yourselves a favor and talk about something other than the baby while you’re out. And no sharing baby pics either.
14. The first time you change a diaper or breastfeed away from home can be nerve-racking. You’ve dreaded it, you’ve avoided it, but when the time comes, you and your baby get through it like champs. Here’s to getting more comfortable going out with your baby!
15. You’re shopping at a place with designated new-parent parking spots, and there’s an open space. Step aside for this new parent VIP!
16. You wake up on your own. No baby alarm clock. No actual alarm clock, just you blissfully opening your eyes when you’re ready to wake up. And that’s what it feels like to be refreshed and ready to face the day. You'd forgotten that feeling, right?
17. You show up on time to an appointment, a playdate, a visit with your family. Not on “mom time,” but actually on time. It’s a miracle. Enjoy it because who knows when that will happen again.
18. Your first time going someplace without the baby. Why do you feel so much lighter? Oh right, because you’re just carrying your wallet, keys and phone, not a million things your baby might need.
19. When another mom asks you for advice, it can make you feel like an MVP. Whether they’re wondering about your favorite stroller or how you settle your baby down for a nap so quickly, giving another parent advice is a total confidence booster.
20. That first monster blowout is a rite of passage for new parents. Everybody has a horror story, and they’re all equally gross and hilarious. We'll spare you any more details.
21. The scene: You’re enviously watching a mom who looks like she has it all together. She’s wearing pants with a zipper, her hair is curled, her nails freshly manicured, and her baby looks straight out of a Carter's ad. And you've been struggling that day. But then her baby shrieks or makes a huge mess, and that mom suddenly looks frazzled and overwhelmed. That's when you realize: We’re all doing our best and shouldn't compare someone's good moments with our bad moments.
22. When you’re cuddling with your baby and hear a contented sigh. That’s your baby, and nobody else in the world can comfort them as you can. Yes, the days are long and the years are short, but these moments are magic.
—Eva Ingvarson Cerise