Can you believe it’s already December? This past year has absolutely flown by! December is so special to me for many reasons, I love Christmas and it is our little one’s birthday month. He will be a year old on the 27th! Lately, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the past year. How I felt this time last year, the anticipation and anxiousness that I was feeling. How huge and uncomfortable I was at 9 months pregnant. Being a first time mom, I have learned so many things over the past year. I remember being somewhat sad this time last year, sad that my journey of carrying our little one was almost over and I would soon have to share him with the world. That feeling of sadness faded as soon as I heard his first cry, and it has been such an humbling journey ever since. Today I want to share a few things I’ve learned since I’ve been ‘mommy’ for almost a year.
A Year As Mommy: What I’ve Learned
You will live up to almost every ‘first time mom’ stereotype out there. The lack of sleep, the days without showers, the ‘oh how the time flies’…it will all happen to you. It happened to me! As much as I said “oh, we will sleep train” or “I will get dressed everyday”, it didn’t happen. Life happens and a baby makes that a reality very quickly.
You aren’t doing it wrong. Our first month with our little one was rough. He had a 2 week NICU stay, pneumonia and we had a difficult time breastfeeding. Due to his NICU stay and the fact that I couldn’t feed him for 3 days after he was born, breastfeeding didn’t come naturally to either of us. We had to supplement with formula from almost day 1. I really struggled with that reality at first, it wasn’t what I had planned, but it was what was best for our little one. When I set my emotions and plans aside, I realized that it didn’t matter how he was getting nutrition or eating, but the fact that he was eating. No matter your situation, if you are doing the best, you aren’t doing it wrong. We love our babies fiercely and that love can sometimes cloud our common sense. As moms, we need to cut ourselves some slack sometimes, and realize that we are doing the best we can and our babies will be just fine.
Trust your gut. You will have advice coming at you a million miles an hour from a thousand different places. Let 95% of that roll off of your back. Take each piece of advice with a grain of salt, smile and nod your head. Don’t fret over what your neighbor says about how warm you need to keep your house and ignore the nosy lady in the grocery store telling you that you need to buy your 2 month old peanut butter to eat. You are your little one’s mama. You were given this job because YOU are the best person for the job. Trust your gut.
You will learn to say no. This goes back to my previous point, learn to say no. I have always been a ‘yes’ person. I could juggle a million things and smile while doing it, before being mommy. I can still do that, just in a different way with a different focus. I don’t have to be at every single family gathering, or go to play groups once a month. It’s ok to cancel dinner plans because it’s been a rough day. Give yourself some slack, say no. Say no to guests who show up unexpectedly 3 hours after you get home from the hospital if you don’t feel like having company. Say no to people who want to hold your baby, if you aren’t comfortable with it. Saying no doesn’t make you hateful or a bad person.
You DO have what it takes. This goes hand in hand with trusting your gut. I wasn’t one of those people who took baby classes while I was pregnant. We were both so busy with work that it honestly just was never on my radar. The night before I went to be induced, I had a moment of panic. HOW will I bathe him? What do I do if he gets choked? How often should he eat? I didn’t know ANY of these things! While a baby class or two is never a bad idea, and it’s always good to be prepared, don’t panic if you don’t take a class. My instincts kicked in and along with the advice of some amazing nurses and my wonderful mom, I learned.
You will see the world in an entirely different light. From TV commercials to your parents, everything around you will suddenly look different. Things that were so important before aren’t necessarily that important anymore. You will understand and respect your parents and the love that they have for you, a million times more. You will automatically relate to every story about every missing baby, hurt child or sick parent and wonder what you would do if you were in that position.
It’s not about the stuff. Baby registries are great, stocking on products is wonderful. After a month or so when those supplies run low, real life hits. You realize just how much baby products cost, and you adapt quickly. You learn that you don’t necessarily need the $500 stroller or the $50 towels.
Soak it ALL in. I truly cannot believe how fast the past almost year has gone. Our little one has grown and changed so much that it’s hard to believe he was once that teeny tiny 8 lb little boy. Although I am sad that time is going by so fast, I am eternally grateful that I am blessed to be his mommy. I am grateful for each and everyday with him. Each smile, each laugh…and yes, even the temper tantrums. Enjoy it, mommas…it goes by way too fast!