1. Those first few weeks and months are hard. REALLY hard. But looking back a year later, it seems like such a tiny blip on the radar.
In the moment it’s intense, and it can be scary when you’ve got your hands full with this teeny little human who knows absolutely nothing that’s going on (and neither do you). But honestly, most of those moments are fleeting, and (most of) the ones I remember are just amazing.
2. Nap times are sacred. It wasn’t until a became a parent when I truly realized just how important nap time is. BC (before children), when friends of ours would need to adjust times or plans due to a baby of child’s nap time, I would think it was silly. I mean, if the baby doesn’t sleep then, they’ll sleep later and just be a little tired, right? Wrong. Oh, so wrong. And if a child falls asleep on you? You stay put.
3. Sometimes it’s easier to just stay home. Jay and I always said we wouldn’t be one of “those” parents that skips out on plans or doesn’t go out as often just because we had a baby. Sure, no biggie, right? Just bring the baby along! Boy, were we naïve. Granted, I’m sure some babies are easier than others, and it’s not that Lucas was/is necessarily a difficult baby, because I’d say he’s far from it. But he’s still a baby, who wants what he wants, when he wants it. And sometimes, we just weren’t prepared to deal with that out in public. Maybe it’ll get easier whenever baby #2 comes around?!
4. Washing bottles and pump parts sucks. That’s all there is to say there.
5. I’ve never been the best at being on time…and having a baby didn’t help that. It never failed: just when you think you’re finally ready to go, it happens. A spit up, a diaper blow out, an “I need to eat NOW cry.” And in those first couple months when Lucas was eating every 2-3 hours? Forget it. I still remember my first time going out solo with Lucas and it felt like I should have earned a medal. Jay and I were once three hours late to a meet up with friends. Hey, it happens. Don’t sweat it!
6. A smile, a laugh, a hug, or a kiss from your baby can change your mood in an instant. There have been a number of days where I’ve just felt wiped. Whether it was a long day with a fussy baby in those early weeks, or just a long day at work. But as soon as Lucas would give me that little gummy grin, or now, look up at me with those big brown eyes with his arms open wide, I melt. And immediately, I’m reminded of what’s truly important.
7. There are so. many. diapers. And just when you think you’ve experienced the absolute worst…the next one happens.
8. There’s always going to be someone who disagrees with you and/or your style of parenting…and that’s okay. I struggled with this at first, though. Hearing someone else’s thoughts sometimes made me feel like I was doing something “wrong,” and often made me second guess whatever it was I was doing (swaddling, letting him cry going to sleep, being “too scheduled” with sleep). But Jay and I finally realized that they were only opinions from others and, ultimately, we know our baby best. So if we felt comfortable making the decision beforehand, we felt okay sticking with our gut. And in the end, nothing has come back to bite us!
9. It’s good to want to give your baby the absolute best…but it’s also okay to just be able to give YOUR best. I don’t know how much that makes sense typing it out, but it’s just something that’s been in my mind this past year. Sure, I’d love to get him that top of the line car seat out there on the market, snuggle him up in organic, cashmere blankets, and feed him all organic meals every day. But the truth is, I just can’t. We research and we do the best that we can do. When we can afford to buy the organic fruits and veggies, we do. But sometimes we don’t. And we’re okay with that.
10. It’s okay to admit you’re not supermom. My home has been presentably clean maybe half a dozen times in this past year. Maybe. There’s almost always dishes in the sink or laundry piled up. I’ll give Lucas a couple extra minutes to watch TV or feed him another handful of puffs just so I can get done whatever it is/was I was working on. I can’t do it all, and I’ve never claimed I could. I’ve certainly learned about priorities though, that’s for sure!
11. Trying to balance all of your roles can be tough. For this past year, my role of mom has come first. And with so much focus being on that little boy of mine, there’s been many times where I forget that I still need to balance being a wife, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, and homemaker. Now that Lucas has turned a year and is able to be a bit more independent, I really want to work on re-balancing all of those roles once again. Jay and I also need and want to take the time to focus on our relationship as husband and wife and regain that connection of ours. We’ve both admittedly been so sucked in to the “new parent” role, that we’ve kind of forgotten about the importance of “us.”
(photo credit Cara Olsen Photography)
12. You will learn a love like you’ve never experienced before. Before Lucas arrived, I knew I’d love him. Obviously! But once he was here, and as the days and months (and year!) have gone on, I honestly feel like my heart could just burst with the amount of love I feel for him. It’s almost kind of scary, at times, to experience such an intense feeling like that…I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. But my love for this little boy is undeniably deep, and I would do anything and give everything for him.
(photo credit Cara Olsen Photography)
For the moms and the dads out there…what else would you add to your list of things you’ve learned from your first year of parenting?