A Few Things I've Learned from My First Year of Parenting

Monday, February 2, 2015

With Beckett's 1st Birthday right around the corner (sniff, sniff!) i've been spending a lot of time reflecting on the last year and how wonderfully different our lives have been since Beckett was born. Now, we are far, far from perfect parents, and this year has been nothing short of a learning process, but here are a few things that i've learned this year. oh, and these are my opinions, so if you don't agree with something, remember that you're voluntarily reading this.
hours old.
no matter of preparation can prepare you for being a parent.
you can read all the books. you can take all the classes. you can pin a million 'things to know' for your 1st year as a parent. But NOTHING can prepare you for the feeling you have when you first lay eyes on your child. Nothing can prepare you for the round the clock care. Nothing can prepare you for the loss of dignity in the hospital during birth. Nothing can prepare you for the crying, the poop, the snuggles. Its something truly special that Im pretty sure I can't even describe. You have to experience it to know. 

it's not always rainbows and butterflies.
lets be honest. the late nights are late. the crying can last for hours. the blues are real. the hormones are cray-cray. post-partum depression is serious. while you can appear to have the perfect life, the  little one, no one, no baby, no parent is perfect. Parenting is a journey and while the speed bumps can seem like the end of the world some times, your little ones will surprise you when you need it most.. They'll sleep through the night when it seems like months since you've gotten any rest. They'll stop crying when it seems like it's all they do. And when you have the worst day, ever and you're jamming out to Disney Pandora and 'You've got a Friend in Me' from 'Toy Story' comes on and your son walks over, smiles, and shares his snack and you are reduced to a puddle on the floor. They know. 

it takes a village.
we spent the first 10 months of Beckett's life in California away from family and it was hard. There were plenty of nights where CL and I would just look at each other like 'wtf did we get ourselves into?!' it's hard adjusting. It's hard to assume you're doing a good job. i've called my mom and grandmother more times than i'd like to admit for advice, help, and just to unload.  im thankful for friends who I could call in a pinch. i'm thankful for an understanding husband. even if your village is 1,000 miles away, you need them. 

being a stay at home mom is hard.
i don't give a flyingfuck what anyone says. it's hard. child care 24/7 is a thankless job, the hours are crap, your boss is a small human that can't talk (yet) and you don't get paid, and there is a lot of pressure to make it look like you've got your shit together, have a clean house and dinner on the table when your husband comes home. (side note, CL doesn't put pressure on me, but I feel obligated to get some stuff done in return for not working, after all i'm the CEO of the household!) I'm lucky enough that CL has allowed me to stay home and take care of Beckett, and I know it's not the case for everyone, but it's a lot of work. There are days when I don't get to shower. The laundry doesn't get done. The dishes pile up. My house is never clean all at once. Some days the only adult interaction you get is with your spouse who (may not) understand that the only talking you've done is to 2 dogs and an 11 month old. He may not understand the 'just let him cry' isn't as easy as it sounds when he's sitting in a quiet office with other quiet adults. I know he works his ass off, but sometimes I want him to switch places with me for a day or two and see how hard it is to balance everything. I mean, even Jay Cutler, quarterback of the Chicago Bears can't handle his 2 boys! "All hell has broken loose".. I die. haha
I know that some moms have to go back to work, and some moms choose to go back to work, and that's awesome. I applaud you. I can't imagine having to drop my tiny tot off every day to let someone else take care of him. There are a lot of little moments that they don't get to see, which is really sad for me, because I know I get to be here to experience every tiny detail of my kid's life. But to those who tell me 'I'd be SO bored.' or 'It must be SO nice to hang out all day' Well it's not boring. And yes we 'hang out' all day, but it's not all couch surfing and bon bons. Every minute of every day is un-perfectly planned out so that he gets all the sleep, exercise, learning, socializing and fresh air he needs. I think both staying at home and going back to work present difficult decisions and you and only you can make the best decision for your family. 

mom cliques are real.
this video? it's totally true. ever go to a mom's group or meetup? all the stereotypes are true. We all size each other up. We all judge each other by how long we breastfeed, how quickly we lost the baby weight or if we didn't, what kind of stroller we have, what kind of wrap we use (Ergo all the way!) or if we wear our kids, if we choose to stay home, or go back to work, if we supplement or use formula instead of breastmilk, if we co-cleep (we do sometimes!) or sleep train. The list goes on and on, and if say you've never judged another mom, your lying, it happens (it's not always malicious.. i've been known to be like damn her, she looks amazing! thats judgey, but not mean). Even I am guilty of comparing myself and what we have to others. But hey, it's normal and human and it happens. 

let it go.
sorry if you are now belting out the 'frozen' tune, but let it alllll go. your sanity. your timliness, cleanliness, perfectness, pre-concieved notions, your doubts.. everything. YOU are amazing, and no matter how bad you think you're screwing your kid up, you aren't. I don't think we give ourselves enough credit and are constantly comparing ourselves to others, but we are all parents first. I know this is something i've struggled with (you can ask my husband) but i've finally learned that first and foremost im doing the best I can and that's good enough.


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