This is part one of two in a series of personal posts I’m sharing in honor of my daughter’s first birthday next week.
With the beginning of July just around the corner, that means that it’s nearly my daughter’s first birthday and that it’s been one year since she made me a mom! I don’t want to brush over the challenges of this past year, but overall, the role of mom (“mama”) has been one of my very favorite roles that I’ve ever had. My heart is brimming with love for my little girl and I still sometimes can’t believe that God made me her mom – it just seems too good to be true.
Today, to help mark the one year milestone, I wanted to share a few things that I’ve learned in one year of motherhood. I’m not sharing these because I think everyone should agree with them – I’m sharing them because they’re my own personal experiences and I’m a big fan of looking back and learning. Here they are:
- As wonderful as the newborn stage looks, the lack of sleep makes it one of the hardest. I love looking back at photos of when my daughter was first born, but I’m glad I can’t actually go back in time. Going multiple months in a row without a full night’s sleep is really, really difficult. Ask any new mom.
- Keep every baby gadget and gear you’re given while pregnant. It might feel like just a lot of extra stuff, but you’ll use it all, even if it’s just for a short time.
- I can take hundreds (thousands?) of photos of my baby and not post them on social media. Mind blowing. Privacy, please.
- When your baby starts sleeping through the night, everything changes. Motherhood? No big deal, I can do this.
- There’s nothing that can prepare you for when your baby says “mama” and reaches for you for the first time. My favorite sound in the whole wide world.
- Contrary to what Rachel Hollis says, you actually can’t have it all. No, you really can’t have a thriving career and spend enough time with your little one(s). I firmly believe that one or the other, or some of both, has to give. My desire for this past year was to work part time, and I ended up working less than part time, which meant placing my career on hold so I could spend lots of time with my daughter. She thrived, my career withered. Right now, I am okay with that balance.
- You can really REALLY love your baby and still gag when you change their diaper. Or ask your loving husband to take one for the team. 😉
- You can also really REALLY love your baby and need a break from her from time to time. Take the break, enjoy it, and know that you’ll probably talk about her the whole time you’re away.
- Being a mom of a baby don’t mean you know more than anybody else about the next stages. I couldn’t tell you one thing about preschool choices, or potty training, or booster seats, and so on and so on. And I’m okay with that for now.
- Motherhood is isolating. A friend told me this early on, and unfortunately I found it to be true. So reach out to that young mom you know, and even if it’s hard for her to make it work with nap times, know that she’s lonely and needs a friend.
- Motherhood is also all about self-sacrifice. Little ones are demanding, and, at times, the only way you can meet their needs is to neglect your own. And it’s always worth it.
- Getting out the door is so much harder with a baby. You would think it would be twice as hard, but no, it’s much harder than that. It takes forever to get everything and everyone ready. So give yourself extra time!
- Get used to getting stopped everywhere you go to people can comment on your baby. Seriously, I get ignored when I’m out by myself, but if I take my baby with me, it’s a different story.
- Also get used to being told “It goes by so fast” ten times a day. And know that you’ll soon find this to be very true.
- You can’t do it all by yourself. My husband is an excellent father and has been nothing short of wonderful in parenting alongside me this past year.
- You’ll smile more than you ever have before in your life. I sure have this past year.
- There is nothing like the love of a mother. I can’t describe it, just know that it’s extremely powerful. I love my sweet little girl more than anything else and nothing will ever change that.