I can’t believe a year has passed since I became a mom! There are so many words I could use to describe my journey; scary, hard, blissful, challenging, rewarding, exhausting, frustrating, worthwhile, gratifying, inspiring, the list goes on and on. I have made many mistakes but I have also learned a lot about what being a mom really means. I thought I would share the top 5 things that I have learned along the way…
This is VERY real, it comes in all shapes and sizes and will hit you when you are least expecting it. As a first time mom, I educated myself on the different ways of laboring and birthing a baby. I wrote down a birth plan, shared it with my husband and sister; it was going to be so magical. Then I had an emergency C-section which resulted in the same beautiful baby girl. It took a day to sink in but soon the guilt crept up. All of the what if’s and why’s flooded my head and I began to feel like I was less of a mom because I wasn’t able to do it naturally. Now that I am writing this I can see that I was being completely irrational but when the guilt gets into your head, she’s a real witch and makes you believe that your guilt is valid. This was just my first experience with mommy guilt, then came guilt about not breastfeeding, not being home for dinner with E, being too tired to go to mommy and me class on the weekend, etc. The bottom line is Mommy Guilt is very real and its ok to feel guilty but don’t be too hard on yourself because at the end of the day, we are all just doing the best we can. My goal is not to be a perfect mom but to be a good enough mom!
Bottle/formula feeding will not ruin your child
Breastfeeding was not in the cards for E and I. I went through my pregnancy with the expectation that I would give it my best shot and I certainly believe that I did but in the end, I just wasn’t producing enough and was driving myself crazy. Breast vs. Bottle is such a touchy subject for moms and when I was faced with the decision I based it off of what was best for my sanity. I introduced a bottle when we were in the hospital. I was having a really hard time getting E to latch and she was jaundice so the lactation consultant suggested that I supplement temporarily. I can’t tell you the relief I felt when the pressure was slightly taken off. I spent the next few weeks nursing, feeding, pumping, sleeping. It was taking so long that by the time I was done pumping, it was time to nurse again. I was forgetting to eat, not to mention exhausted as all moms are, baking lactation cookies, etc. I finally reached a point after multiple home visits from a lactation consultant that I decided it was too much for me to handle and I had come to terms with formula feeding. E just had her 1-year check-up and is growing perfectly!
In the first few months being home with E, I found myself wondering what she would be like when she was older; daydreaming about when she was able to crawl, walk and ride a bike and all of the fun things we could do. Then I blinked and she turned 1! Be present in each moment you get with your kid(s). I really learned this once I went back to work. My time with E is so precious now and I want to soak it all up and freeze time. I try to avoid using my phone but I also love capturing all of the moments I get with her. There is a skill to balancing being present and using electronics to record moments. I am still learning that balance but they are little for such a short amount of time and then they grow up (cue the tears, I’ll have to write a whole post about tear production of a mother!). Cherish every moment with them while you can.
Advice: Take it or Leave it
Oh man…I could go on for days about all of the advice that moms get! I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Everyone LOVES to give advice and they certainly won’t shy from giving you their full opinion on everything you are doing as a parent. Graciously accept it and then do what you want with it. Your perception is your reality. Good intended advice doesn’t always come with a full understanding of the situation. Be confident in the choices you make, no one knows your kid better than YOU.
The Power of Love
This last one is very hard to explain. I’ve heard most people explain parenting as being the hardest job in the world but they wouldn’t trade it for anything. It is so exhausting on days when E is being whiny and nothing seems to make her happy and she attaches herself to my legs almost like she’s trying to climb back up into my uterus. But then when I give her a minute to snuggle and I remember that she loves me on my worst days and my best days, unconditionally. As a parent, your priorities shift without you even noticing. Things that you used to “need” or thought were the most important are no longer on your radar. It is the most challenging and rewarding job I’ve ever had to do and I am so grateful to have been given this blessing.