Hey Friends! Today is Tuesday April 24, 2018. I am a day late on getting this blog up and I apologize for that. I unexpectedly had an allergic reaction yesterday and wasn’t able to write out the blog post and get it up in time. In today’s post I thought I would share some thoughts, advice, ideas, etc on things I have learned since becoming a mom and really since I found out I was pregnant. These are not in any particular order. So lets jump in.
- Take Advice With A Grain Of Salt
As I am sure most of you have experience, once you become pregnant or give birth you will receive a ton of advice. All this advice of course comes from a very loving place and a place of wanting to help a new mother out. I appreciated all the advice I was given, however I kind of chose what advice I would follow through with and what advice I would let pass me by. We only know what we have experienced and every person’s experiences will be different and that is perfectly OK. What a boring world we would live in if everyone’s experiences were the same. There would be no room for growth or really anything to talk about. With that being said though, you will hear so much advice. Most of this advice will contradict the advice that someone else just gave you on the same topic. My best advice (here comes some more) is really to just thank whoever gives you the advice and then decide later on once you’ve done your own research on whether or not you would want to follow through with that advice. This leads me to lesson number two. (On a side note, never be afraid to ask for advice. It doesn’t make you any less of a mom for not knowing something. We need to help and support one another!)
2. Research, Research, Research
OK so before you roll your eyes at the thought of having to add something else to your never ending to-do list, just hear me out. I am a firm believer that knowledge is power. This power gives you the ability to choose what advice from earlier you would want to follow through with. We’ve all been told a thousand times the old wives tales on what to do and what not to do. The reality is that most of those are not science backed. Doing your own research will help you to understand what really is science driven and what is opinion driven. Also remember that there are new studies coming out every day. What was once thought to be OK when our parents were raising us, oatmeal and rice in baby bottles, is no longer thought to be the correct approach. Reading up on the studies gives the power back to you as the parent to be able to make an informed decision that is based on your own knowledge and not on what others may be telling you. Of course this comes with the ability to decide what is worth researching and what is OK to do with just the popular opinion and only you can decide that.
3. Trial and Error
Let’s be honest. Some times the you can do all the research in the world, read all the parenting books that are out there, gather the advice from all of your mom friends, but at the end of the day nothing prepares you for parenthood. These things I have mentioned above definitely help you to make an informed decision, but sometimes babies require some trail and error. Your baby may have loved the mommaroo, but my baby hates it. Your baby may have hated to be carried in a baby carrier, but there is nothing my baby loves more . Especially with the huge amount of baby products out there, you really just won’t know what your baby likes until you try it. My daughter very rarely liked to sleep in her Dock-A-Tot and only liked her mommaroo until maybe a month and a half old, however my baby loves to sleep in her crib and has since about right at two weeks old. This leads me to the fourth thing I have learned.
4. Every Baby Is Different
I can’t tell you how many times I have had to say this. Along with trial and error you will find that nothing is the same between babies, even ones born by the same mother and father. Every single baby is different and this comes with their own individual needs and care. Like I stated earlier my daughter loves to sleep in her crib and has since about two weeks old. She is an amazing sleeper and always goes right to sleep and doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night. I actually wake her to feed her. This works amazingly for our family and for this particular baby. Our next baby could be totally different and in fact I expect it to be. It’s good to remember this when you may see or hear for example that I have a great sleeper. You may start to think about why doesn’t your baby sleep great and what might you be doing wrong, etc. Remember that my baby is different from yours and that your baby just requires a bit more special attention when if comes to sleeping. I feel every baby has an area that they struggle with that another baby doesn’t and that’s OK. Remember that we as adults do the same thing. I myself need lots and lots of sleep (well, before baby – I’ve had to adjust) to be able to function on a daily basis. My husband however does not. So at times he can get frustrated that I go to bed so early when he wants to stay up later and spend time together. We each have our own set of needs.
This was something I didn’t expect to have happen to me. I worked in child care for six to seven years and had done so much research. So when people told me to get prepared for the wave of hormones, I just brushed it off. You see I am not a particularly emotional person. I don’t normally cry at things and hardly ever question myself. I think this is why I was so surprised at what happened the first couple of weeks after giving birth to Penelope. I went through so many emotions and lots of them was me worrying and questioning myself. I didn’t have postpartum depression, but I did struggle. There were days when Penelope only wanted me to eat. The rest of the day she wanted to be snuggled by daddy. Hey girl I just gave birth to you and you don’t want me! That was hard to handle. I know now that babies just go through phases of wanting one person or another. Another emotion that I felt the first week was inadequacy when it came to providing food for my baby. I was a first time mom who was tired and trying to figure out breastfeeding. Like I said before I had done so much research and reading about how to handle breastfeeding, but you forget all that those first few days. Yes I knew it was normal for her to drop weight that first week, but as a new mom I was terrified that I wasn’t doing my job. Of course that second week when she started gaining weight, those fears started to fade and my confidence came back. You just have to push through those first few days or weeks or however long those feelings last for you. Seek outside care if it’s something you can’t shake. Postpartum depression is a very serious thing. Be prepared for the emotional roller coaster you may or may not go on.
6. You Will Experience The Highest Highs
For myself this was something I experienced and was really the most amazing thing ever. Figuring out the balance of motherhood, wife-hood, me-hood, etc has taking time, but I have loved every moment of it. The highs of motherhood far out weigh the long sleepless nights. It’s amazing how God designed this beautiful relationship between mothers and their babies. It’s amazing how the alarm goes off at midnight and I walk to her room in a sleeping daze to get in there, wake her up, and have her give me the biggest smile in the world. It’s moments like that that just change your whole entire world. Those moments of me breastfeeding her and us just staring into each other eyes for that ten minutes mean so much. All of a sudden you don’t miss sleep. It honestly just isn’t important. This leads me to number seven.
7. Your Priorities Change
It’s quite amazing how much your world can change when this sweet baby enters it. All of a sudden things that you once cared about just don’t matter anymore. I went from sleeping 8-10 hours a night because I literally couldn’t function without that much sleep to getting maybe 6 hours if I am lucky and honestly I don’t miss the sleep. Some how it doesn’t bother me. I function just fine without it. Now don’t get me wrong, there are still things that are extremely important to me like health, fitness, career, etc; but these things are far less important to me then spending time with my child. I’ve skipped events with friends to spend time with Penelope, I’ve not made working out a priority right now, but my focus is on her and her needs. Things just change and I don’t see it as a bad thing. I see it as a different chapter in my life where my focus had shifted from one thing to another. Don’t get this confused though with not making time for yourself. I one hundred percent believe in the importance of time for one’s self and carving out space for husband-and-wife time. That is where this all important task of balance comes in and you will realize that you are much stronger then you ever thought possible. You will realize you can push yourself further than you ever have before and in my experience be completely happy while doing it.
8. Mommas Need To Support One Another- It Takes A Village
This lesson is huge! We can’t do it on our own. The phrase “It takes a village” has never been more true for me than it is now. Also the need for support from other moms is just as equally important. We mothers need support in all shapes and sizes. Whether you are a working mom and need child care or a stay at home mom who just needs a few hours away. Whether you formula-feed or breastfeed. Whether you use cloth diapers or use disposables. Whether you crib-sleep or co-sleep. None of these things matter in the greater sense. We need to show love and compassion towards each other and lend a helping hand when possible. I have some amazing mothers in my life without whose help I wouldn’t be able to provide for my family in many different ways. The reality is that we all need support and especially as moms we should be supporting each other and not tearing each other down.
9. Live In The Moment
Anyone else here have the problem of wishing life away? … no just me. OK, I have this problem where I am always thinking of the next phase. In college it was “I just can’t wait to graduate and have a career.” Then it was “I just can’t wait to get married.” “I just can’t wait to have a baby.” “I just can’t wait until she can roll over.” The list goes on. I have learned these last four months and really this whole last year of pregnancy and parenting to just live in the moment. I know you’ve probably heard this a billion times, but time has never flown so fast for me. My sweet baby is a totally different baby today than she was four months ago. She no long is my infant, she’s now a baby. That might not make sense to some, but for me there’s a difference. She no longer wants to just sit in my arms for hours without end and sleep. She wants to twist and turn and see what’s going on in the world around her. Her physical body alone has changed so much. She no long fits into preemie clothes, but now wears a size 3-6 month clothes because of those super cute chubby thighs. Now when I catch myself thinking about the days of her walking and being a toddler, I will just stop and really try to focus in on the stage she is in now. I know that it won’t last long. Here soon she will be walking and I will be mourning the moments of her not being able to yet.
10. Best Ride of My Life
Lately these last 13ish months of pregnancy, birth, and parenting have seriously been the best ride of my life. I have dreamed since a young age of becoming a parent and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It is my greatest accomplishment and the proudest chapter in my book. I am this little girl’s hero and I carry that title with such honor, pride, and great responsibility. That pride you feel on a daily basis will be something you will wish you could bottle up. You are making me a better person every single day, Penelope, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the many things you are teaching me. Thank you Penelope for making one of my biggest dreams in life come true.
Baby Dust To All,