Updated: Oct 31
It's hard to believe that just about a month ago now, my Jackson turned one! What a year it has been. After this past year of many trials & tribulations, I'm more confident in parenting now & I'd like to think I've learned a thing or two to get me here. Here are the top 10 things I've learned in my first year of motherhood.
1. Your body is going to change.
Your belly has stretched. Your hips have widened. All to carry & deliver life after 9 months. The "bounce back" culture is cruel. It took 9 months to grow a life...why should it take 2 days for our bodies to "go back to normal"? What even is normal anyway? Don't jump into trying to "lose the baby weight"-embrace this new season with open arms (when you're not holding your baby, that is).
2. Your journey is your own; don't get stuck in a comparison trap.
Easier said than done, thanks to social media. I'm guilty of this: looking at the influencer moms who get up & get dressed, do their hair & make up. "They make it look so easy" and "wow they look amazing" I would think. I even caught myself comparing myself & Jackson to other mom friends & moms online: "wow they're baby is crawling already, is there something wrong with Jackson?" "Look at how many teeth she has! Why doesn't Jackson have teeth yet?" Truth is: you'll make yourself crazy by comparing yourself & your baby to everyone else & their babies. Jackson started to crawl & his teeth started to come in, all in due time. Your baby is going to grow & progress at his/her own rate. And so are you, mama.
3. Reminiscing on pre-baby life is normal.
Especially in the early days. I had MAJOR FOMO. It used to be so easy to go out with friends, sleep in, travel. Now, sleeping in past 6:30 is a dream come true & Jackson only having 1 meltdown when we're out at dinner is a win. But this is our life now, and we have to shift our perspectives from the then to the now, or else we'll miss everything.
4. There's this horrific thing called 'mom guilt'
Mom guilt: refers to specific feelings of guilt mothers experience that relate to their role as a mother and their ability to meet their children’s needs. (https://www.choosingtherapy.com/mom-guilt/) I personally feel it when I go do something for myself, or if I'm crabby one day and not in super-mom mode. It's important to remember these feelings are 100% normal & completely validated: we all have our limits.
*If you are having thoughts of anger towards yourself or your child or depressive thoughts, please seek professional help*
5. Even though there's mom guilt, take time for yourself.
Power through that guilty feeling: take a bath, go for a walk, go out for a coffee. The saying "remember to fill up your own cup, because you can't pour from an empty cup" is something I read a lot in the early days. As previously said, we all have our limits. Some are reached more than others. I have about as much patience as a Chihuahua who has to pee does. Meaning, when the Chihuahua has to pee, it'll just pee on the floor (learned from experience); when I've reached my limit, I have REACHED.MY.LIMIT. Encourage your partners to do the same: they have their limits, too.
6. It's messy.
The diapers. Thew blow-outs. The spit up. The laundry (how can one tiny person create so much laundry??). The bottles. The food stains on the wall & floor. Your hair (because sometimes it's easier to just not). It's not going to be glamorous & easy everyday. Take what help you can get & rest assured that it doesn't have to all be done right then and there.
7. It's OK to cry.
I remember the second week after Jackson was born, I got a UTI so bad that my doctor said it was a day out from becoming a kidney infection. I couldn't walk, stand up, or even hold Jackson for that matter. I was hunched over the bathroom sink sobbing, "I can't do this" over & over again to my husband. It took a few days of some strong antibiotics & some more tears, but I stood on my own again, walked normally & held my son. It's OK to have moments of weakness; it's OK to cry it out.
8. Don't forget to live in the moment.
Of course you want to be the one to capture it all! The sounds: giggles, coos. First smiles. But don't forget to actually be there. Don't live behind the lens. Be part of the moment. Be the one your baby takes their first steps to. Sometimes, the best moments are the ones that aren't captured on camera.
9. We mama's have to stick together.
A shoulder to cry on. A confidant on the hard days. Play dates. Mom dates! But most of all, a friend through it all. (No offense to our partners), but there's no one better than another mom: because she's gone through it too! She'll get you like no one else in this season.
10. The days are long but the years are short.
Paying homage to a poem I wrote & shared on here. (https://www.heymamaclub.com/post/the-days-are-long-but-the-years-are-short) But it's as real as it gets. I can't believe Jackson's a year now. I keep catching myself looking back and saying "holy crap." Because, I never thought I'd get here! Middle of the night wakings, sleepless nights, early wake-ups, napless days, crying days. They all seemed so long. But, we're here now & it's been the best year ever.
You got this, mama.