I cant believe a year has passed since Hunter was born. I've been reflecting on things "I wish I knew" before we had him to better prepare for this roller coaster of a year. But of course as any mom will tell you, the challenges and uncertainty that we faced last year were completely overshadowed by the pure joy raising a baby has been. (Super sappy but true). God has blessed us this past year and on his birthday I just wanted to shout "we made it!"
Here are a few things I've learned as a first time mom in baby's first year.
1) Get out!
Yep, get out! Go outside! Run an errand even! I was so focused on keeping the baby on the schedule that I forgot that I needed to get out! (It is possible to do this and still keep baby on the schedule by the way) When Hunter was about five months old I really started feeling sad during the day, not depressed or anything, just kind of struggling with feeling overwhelmed, and feeling like I was not getting anything accomplished. I joined stroller strides... It is a wonderful program that gets moms together for an hour most days of the week to work out with their babies! We meet in the park or in malls before the stores open, runaround, workout, sing to the babies etc. I got an awesome workout, and Hunter got to socialize with the other kids. This was life-changing for me! I realized the value of a good community, and what a solid workout does to your mood. So if you don't have a program like this, I would encourage you to find something else to do! I'll be writing a post soon on outings for you and your little one, so stay tuned :)
2) You won't always know WHY
This was one of the harder lessons for me to learn. I am so calculated and I try to have everything boiled down to an exact science, but that is not at all how babies work! Once you figure out one problem, the next one is brewing right around the corner. First you wonder why your baby is waking early from naps, then you figure out it's because they're hungry...A few days after that they start waking up early again and it takes you two weeks to figure out that they were popping a tooth! OYE! so I had to change my attitude and obsessive behaviors of trying to figure out the WHY, and focused on the WHEN. The WHEN symbolized the reassurance that everything is just for a short period of time, just a quick season of little trial that helped further shape me into the person I am supposed to be: to become more patient, slow to anger, gracious, and thankful. Lord knows that it's going to take many more trials to shape me into this person! So every time a rough day loomed and I would shout out in frustration "WHY!" I would remember when: when it passes it will be a fleeting memory, and me and baby will come out the other side all the better.
3) Never say never!
Have you seen that commercial for State Farm? where the couple always says "we will never do_____", and they always end up doing it? Ya... That was me! Call it judgmental, call it naivety, call it what you want... but I will never say never again! You just don't know where you will be in that stage of life, so you can't proclaim you will never do something if you've never been there! "I will never let my kid have sugar!" .... My boy has definitely had sugar, just look at the first birthday pictures of that huge cake he is dominating. "I will never post pictures of my baby all the time!" ... Um, so guilty! ... You get the picture! So, I have committed to never say never.
4) Accept Help!
Okay so you have this massive to do list, and you don't think you can get what's most important done in time, you know what I learned you kind of have to do you? ACCEPT HELP! Wow this is a hard one! This speaks right to our pride that we can do it all! There's no shame in accepting help from friends or family members that are willing to lend a hand, even if they want to babysit while you run some errands! Take the help! Don't rob somebody the gift of helping you because you are too proud ;)
5) Give grace!
To yourself, your body, your spouse, pretty much any when you come in contact with on a regular basis, they need grace! I say "to yourself" first because this is probably the area where people struggle the most. Have you checked out Pinterest lately? How many people are making their own baby food, using cloth diapers, and have lost all the baby weight within a matter of days after birth! I mean come on! Where are you hiding the nanny and personal trainer? Ah! I need so much Grace! And you noticed how I mentioned your spouse? Yep, they need grace to! This is a whole new world to have somebody else to share your attention with! Most guys are new at the whole baby thing altogether! So if they don't ooooo and ahhhh over your child every single moment of the day, give them grace! Its all new:)