Guest Post: Caroline of High Heels to Hidden Toys, on Confessions of a First-time Mom

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

First-time moms have a lot on their minds.

There seems to be an overwhelming desire to do everything right. Get the right books. Take the right prenatal vitamins. Easy on the vodka. You know the drill. But when the whistle blows, the game takes on a life of its own.

Today, Caroline from High Heels to Hidden Toys reveals her confessions of a first-time mom – and they have nothing to do with vodka.

Caroline is an alumnus of East Carolina, one of my alma mater’s rivals in Conference USA. But this is an equal opportunity blog, people. Even a Charlotte 49er can get along with a Pirate if the snacks are up to snuff.

When you get a chance, check out Caroline’s page, too.

It centers on ‘home, health and motherhood,’ which is a lot like ‘futbol, food and fatherhood,’ like you get around here. She writes about her adventure in training for a race and hates the Tar Heels (like a good girl should).

Her son plays with dolls and has a stroller. I’m cool with that.


When I was pregnant I tried to do all the “right” things.  I exercised regularly, ate [mostly] well balanced meals, and avoided caffeine.  I also read books and took classes.  I remember being 30ish weeks pregnant and thinking, “This won’t be so hard, I got this”.  After all, those books and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all the dos & don’ts outlined so nicely.


Then my son was born and my life was flipped upside down in the most amazing way possible.  All of a sudden those “simple guidelines” didn’t feel so simple.  How was I going to do everything “right?”

I quickly realized I couldn’t do everything “right”… And more importantly, I learned it’s okay not to.  Once I was able to accept that, a weight was lifted and this whole parenting thing got a bit easier.

So instead of sparking yet another Mommy War that will perpetuate this idea of perfect parenting, I’m going to share some confessions… Because ya know what?  It’s okay to be imperfect!

Confession… I supplemented with formula.  The night I brought C home (I also gave him a paci! gasp!).  I was horrified C would never latch again.  We continued to nurse for 13 months!  Nursing/formula– It doesn’t have to be all or nothing—it’s okay to do what works for you.

Confession… My son watches tv.  The AAP recommends absolutely no tv before age two.  This was a rule I tried reallllly hard to stick to.  Last spring I had the worst sinus infection and was unable to entertain C, so we snuggled up in the recliner and flipped on some Baby Einstein.  A year later he’s a smart, happy child.  A little tv won’t hurt.


Confession… There are bumpers in my son’s crib.  Most pediatricians warn against bumpers due to the risk of SIDS.  I understand this; SIDS is a new parent’s worst nightmare.  However, when your child is waking up 5+ times a night, screaming and horrified because one of his limbs wiggled its way between the crib slats, something’s got to change.  After a few days of no sleep we invested in breathable bumpers so we could all sleep more soundly (thank goodness!).

Confession… I accidentally coslept with C on his first night home.  Somewhere between midnight nursing sessions and countless diapers that eight and a half pounds of love and I drifted off to dreamland.  I woke up in panic, filled with guilt.  What if he rolled off the bed?  What if I squished him?  I had not prepared to cosleep and the AAP would have considered my bed filled with pillows and blankets a death trap.

Confession… We sleep trained at 5 months.  Sleep training is quite possibly THE hottest topic I’ve come across in the parenting world.  At four months C went through a major sleep regression; it was terrible!  Nobody in my house slept for a solid month and our pediatrician suggested sleep training.  I hated every second of it.  Not only did I hate listening to my baby cry while anxiously staring at a timer, but I felt judgment on my every move.  Even with the pediatrician’s blessing I was so ashamed.

​So there you have it!  Five confessions of a first time mom!  I’m sure I’ll continue to struggle with what is “right” and what works for us, but for now I’m enjoying loving my little boy every minute of every day!


Do you have any parenting confessions?  Non-parenting confessions?  What advice do you have for a new parent?


  1. I can relate to all of these confessions. We sleep trained my oldest son at five months too. He was getting up every two hours and I couldn’t take it. I cried over the decision, but in the end it only took one or two nights then I could lay him down awake and he put himself to sleep and started getting up once a night. It was the best thing I ever did. So no judgements here.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      In parenthood – like in coaching – you gotta do what you gotta do.

    2. Sleep training is the WORST… We were getting up so much my dogs were getting anxious and having accidents in the house! I’m with you, I couldn’t take it… I decided C deserved a rested mommy, not a zombie! Thanks for your comment! ❤

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        rest, caffeine … it’s a fine line for me.

  2. ksbeth says:

    i love the honesty and agree you just have to choose your battles, let some things go, and do it your way, whatever works for your family and with some measure of sanity left ) great post –

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      she knocked it out, didn’t she beth? and so much of parenting is forgetting what people will think, and doing what you think is right, from the heart.

      1. ksbeth says:

        she sure did, and you are so right!

    2. You are so right! Even our pediatrician says half of parenting is survival, haha. Thanks so much for your comment! ❤

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        There are great many trials I can face because I’ve already been a dad.

  3. Tamara says:

    What does “right” even mean? I did 4 out of your 5 things, and I added probably a dozen others, too, because they felt right to me.
    I enjoyed reading this, Caroline! My son is called C as well, and he’s 5. I let him take sips of my Coke zero and play with the IPad probably more than parenting books suggest – I don’t know what the reasonable amount is, I skipped that chapter, haha!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The book should have one chapter, one sentence, that reads, “trust your instincts – good luck!”

    2. Haha! Oh I have more confessions, but I didn’t want my guest post to turn into a novel! My C plays with the iPad every time we do groceries… I may get judgmental stares, but it’s either have him happy IN the cart, or fight him trying to climb OUT. I’d rather have him watching Thomas the Train than a busted head in the middle of Target! I can’t wait to check out your blog! Thanks for your comment! ❤

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        You’re going to love Tamara’s blog, Caroline – great stuff.

  4. This is why my blog has the word confessions in the title, because I am all about confessing and letting it all hang out as a first time mom twice over. Wonderful confessions and thank you for sharing with us today (could relate and then some!).

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I knew Caroline’s words would resound with you!

    2. Sounds like I would enjoy your blog; I can’t wait to check it out! Thank you for your comment! ❤

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Janine is also a champion commenter, Caroline.

  5. tamaralikecamera says:

    Yes, the weight gets lifted when you realize it’s ok and that not everything will be perfect! I love that. And by the way, the stroller story is fantastic. My son has full access to all of his sister’s toys and I’m pretty sure that crappy plastic won’t change who he is in his heart!
    Anyway, back on track. My daughter really didn’t watch TV until she was well over two. She also didn’t drink juice or have cookies, but mainly because she didn’t know about anything that luscious.
    My son. Has an older sister three years more into cookies, juice and TV than he is. He has to catch up and he has to catch up fast, he tells me.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m still trying to catch up, Tamara.

    2. I’m glad you enjoyed the stroller story– it’s one of my faves! Your son sounds too funny! Thanks for your comment ❤

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Des is the coolest little boy since … well, me.

  6. stephrufa says:

    Every mom should be able to relate to this – we are all just trying to do our best and what a shame that we would feel guilty that what works for us and our family is wrong. With my first, that first night was awful we couldn’t get him to eat for anything and we were up for hours trying, because we thought he was supposed to eat. We learned very quickly that if the baby is hungry he will let you know, no need to follow any rules but your own.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I remember charting every feeding for Elise when she was a baby … by the time Grace came along, we were reasonably sure she’d had dinner most nights.

      1. I feel like this would make a good huggies commercial… You know the ones “first kid” and they’re listening to classical music and going over flashcards… then “second kid” and they’re banging on pots & pans, haha!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Pots and pans? Mine banged on each other.

    2. Oh I had the little app and tracked every diaper, feeding, nap for weeks…. Now I laugh about it because you’re exactly right– a baby will let you know when they need something! And you’re right, the guilt is such a shame. That is one thing they did not talk about in the AAP books! Thank you for your comment! ❤

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Maybe there should be a new book. Choose Your Own Adventure style?

  7. I couldn’t agree more… I’m sure I’ll have a slew of new confessions if/when C becomes a big brother, haha! Thanks for your comment! ❤

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      They also will occupy each other – sometimes for good, sometimes for evil, but you can’t be picky.

  8. Hey Caroline! Great to see you guest writing for Eli. First a Hokie, then a Pirate; before you know it he’ll be inviting a Tar Heel to guest post!

    I’ve learned that as your children get older, your confession list just gets longer! I have ton of confessions from over the years, but I also have two sons that have turning into pretty amazing young men. When raising children you need to go with your gut instinct and do what works for you; and usually that’s the right thing.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I will never invite someone to specifically write about the tar heels. Ever.

    2. Caroline says:

      Since this post was published, I find myself thinking of so many more confessions throughout the day… Like C mayyy have slurped up the last of my iced latte the other day….

      Thanks for your comment Deb… I love your blog! ❤

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        You should have a daily confession on twitter, Caroline.

  9. debsrandomwritings says:

    It feels like a lifetime ago since the children were babies, but I still remember vividly the well meant and often contradicting advice that was thrown at me. With my first born I thought I was a really bad mum, little did we know back then that he was not your average baby – something we are getting to the bottom of 17 years later!

    When my daughter came along I found the strength to follow my instincts and it was so much better. Yes I made mistakes, but who is to say what is right and what is wrong.

    Do everything you can to enjoy your little one and don’t let what you think you should be doing mar your enjoyment. I would advise any new Mum to follow their instincts and to do what works right for them and their child. What works with one child may not work for another.

    I remember one time that I forgot totally to feed my son, my parents came down and started fussing and he just wouldn’t settle making me feel like the worst Mum in the world. He was really young then, I was breast feeding, life was crazy and it wasn’t until later I realized that he had gone without a feed, which explained his grumpiness. It made me feel awful, but I never did it again.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Nothing in my life has taught me more or given me more growth than being a dad.

    2. Caroline says:

      That is great advice, Deb! And I’m sure you’re not the only parent to get caught up and miss a feeding. Thanks for your comment! ❤

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        My girls would never, ever miss a meal


  10. Rorybore says:

    we used the breathable bumpers too. And we did the biggest NO NO NO of all time: our babies slept on their tummies! I was worried a lynch mob would actually come after us. But they would not sleep on their backs. Wasn’t happening. I don’t know if they just had tummy/gas/reflux issues, but they would never sleep consistently unless on their tummy. We put them to bed on their backs, but they would wake up screaming and then every time we laid them back down – again, with all the screaming and crying. So …. like uber good parents in these modern times, we bought one of those fancy crib alarms. It went under the mattress and would sound a LOUD alarm if there was no breathing for 30 seconds.
    I still wake up with a start some nights thinking I hear that thing go off.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think I might need one of those alarms – for myself.

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