12 Months of Motherhood (3 months late)
It took me 3 months too long to put these words onto paper.
JJ is now 15 months old, and I can’t believe his first birthday was over 3 months ago. Seriously, where does time go?
I feel like at the beginning of mom life, the days are so freaking long. And yes, even now, some days seem to crawl by. But, as much as I hate to admit it, that piece of advice so many moms before me spewed out, is right. “The days are long but the years are short.”
God are they short.
I think it took me so long to write this blog for two reasons:
1) Life is chaotic…and sometimes the days go by so fast I cant remember what day it is, let alone try to get my rambling thoughts onto paper.
2) I get in my own way (this is non mom related so stay with me for a sec). If you have ever had an entrepreneurial spark in your heart, I know you get it. I get in my own way all of the time…I make excuses, I put other things first, I self sabotage. But here’s the thing – it is my DREAM to have a successful motherhood blog. Not the blog that teaches you how to get your kids to eat kale, or make your home Pinterest worthy. But a blog that shares the REAL side of motherhood with you – the scary, emotional, rollercoaster ride that is this life.
So, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get this blog out to you. I’m sorry I stopped writing for so long. But I’m back mommas, and I’m not going anywhere any time soon…I promise.
Anyways, I bet you’re wondering what I learned through the final stretch of my first year of motherhood.
1) Motherhood is like being baptized by fire – my girlfriend Megan said this to me once during my early months of momming with JJ. And boy has it stuck with me since. When times are tough, when I feel like I can’t catch up, when everything seems to be collapsing around me…this is the saying that comes to mind and for whatever reason calms me down. The first year of motherhood is…well to be honest I don’t even know how to explain it except by saying “it’s like being baptized by fire.” But maybe my upcoming lessons below will be able to explain this saying further.
2) You and your babe got this – before I had JJ, my sister had two kids, and a few of my close friends had popped out babies a month or two prior. Anytime I had a question about the way JJ was sleeping, or if I was feeding him properly, or what type of swaddle he should be in, I asked a friend. Although I am beyond grateful for the never-ending support and guidance I received, I look back and wish I trusted my instincts more. I wish I knew everything would be okay. I wish I knew it was okay that he was cluster feeding longer than most babies and that didn’t necessarily mean he wasn’t getting enough milk. I wish I knew that it was okay he wasn’t sleeping 7am to 7pm like all of the other sleep-trained babies. I wish I gave myself more alone time with JJ those first few days he was earth side. I wish I gave myself the grace to move through early motherhood.
Now this isn’t me regretting decisions or having guilt – this is me knowing (or at least hoping for) what I’ll do differently next time. So if you’re preparing for the arrival of your first little nugget, or you’re in the throes of early motherhood, just breathe. You know exactly what your babe needs. Just listen to those motherhood gut nudges…they’ve got your back.
3) Your relationships will change – THIS is a big one. Every relationship you have in your life, friends, family, significant other, will change in one way or another. Some friendships will evolve into the thing you never knew you needed. Beautiful relationships are created and for whatever reason, others will slowly disappear. Your family, at least in my experience, will have your back like never before. My sister was there to answer my 2am text messages, my mom pulled all-nighters with me with a newborn baby, my dad ran to the store and bought me grannie panties after my C section, and my brother played with my 8 week old son so I could eat a meal and have a shower. They had my back through that first year, and I’m so thankful I get to call them mine.
My relationship with baby daddy and partner in crime Jackson…boy has that evolved. I couldn’t count the amount of times I wondered if relationships were this hard for all new parents. But what I realized is that they are. No ones sleeping, hormones were raging, your old life is GONE and left with no traces to be found, and you’ve come to develop these new parent identities over night. But through it all, we’ve loved each other unconditionally, we communicate better than before, and we are in this parent thing TOGETHER. So if you’re a new parent, wondering if you’re the only person who’s partner is driving them crazy…you’re not. I promise you, their are a million other parents out there just like you.
4) The postpartum journey is ever evolving – I always thought postpartum meant you with a newborn baby. Or postpartum depression was baby blues after giving birth. Or postpartum body was the time your body took to heal and “bounce back” (lord I had that term bounce back). But what I’ve come to realize is that the postpartum journey is EVERYTHING after giving birth. It’s you with a newborn. You with a 6 month old. You with a 1 year old. Its every moment and every feeling of your journey as a mother. My postpartum depression and anxiety comes and goes. I never find myself where I was at 4 months of motherhood, but there are definitely times I feel the anxiety and sadness creep in, the overwhelm and exhaustion take over, and I find myself burnt out wondering how the hell I’m going to make it through the day. But I keep pushing through the hard times and I enjoy every second of the good times. And you should too momma…because your postpartum journey is ever evolving.
5) Take a vacation WITHOUT your baby – the first time I left JJ he was 6 months old. It was the hardest decision I made to leave him for three days, but the greatest thing I could ever do for myself. I came back a better human, partner, and mother. I felt more connected to myself and my world outside of motherhood, and I came home so appreciative for my little family. Since that vacation, I have yet to go away solo (girls trip coming in hot), but Jackson and I try get away for a night or two every once in a while. It’s good for our souls, and even better for our relationship. So whether you’re a new mom, or you’re two years in and are terrified of leaving your babe, trust me I get it. But you have to get away – take a deep breath, let your mother in law, or cousin or best friend take care of your baby, and go. The hardest part is leading up to the departure – the rest is glory.
I finish these points off and think, “that’s it? I’ve only learned 5 big things through the first year of motherhood? Why can’t I remember anything else?”
But here’s the thing…these are my BIGGEST takeaways from my first year as a mom.
So be kind to yourself momma. Take a deep breath. Accept and enjoy how your life is evolving. Take care of you. And do you girl.