I thought I knew just about all there was when it came to babies and kids since I grew up working with them half of my life. Even when I heard mom’s talk about how exhausted they were and how they don’t have time for themselves, I would think to myself… “What do you mean? They eat, sleep, cry, and poop… how hard can it be. If you’re tired, nap when they nap.” HA! Little did I know. So first of all, I apologize for ever doubting you mothers out there. If you can keep your sanity and keep your kid healthy and alive, you deserve an award! Here are 5 things I’ve learned so far when it comes to being a mommy (and this is only month one)!
1) Learn how to function on an average of 5 hours of sleep!
I basically was living off of 1-3 hour naps during the night time as far as sleeping goes . The whole “nap when they nap” thing… that doesn’t always work. When my baby naps, I choose to shower, eat, clean, workout, or work on a project. I think I have taken maybe 4-5 power naps with her since she has been home. Needless to say, 2 cups of coffee was a must on most days. Luckily, our little bit is starting to only wake up once a night. Let’s just hope that lasts.
2) Breastfeeding is not for quitters!
We had our mind set from the beginning that we wanted to breastfeed. She latched on right away in the hospital and I thought it was going to be smooth sailing from there. That was far from the truth. Like most moms who choose to breastfeed, I was beyond sore for the first two weeks. Then, our little bit wasn’t gaining enough weight so I stressed about not producing enough. I started pumping and let me just put it this way…I pumped for 4 days straight and only got 1 oz. of milk. Talk about frustrating. I quickly learned that pumping just simply does not work for some people. Then along came a clogged duct, which never got too bad. But then I experienced what my doctor believed to be thrush (although my baby never had signs of it). Talk about painful!! I like to think that I have a high tolerance of pain but the shooting pins and needles feeling I was getting had me in tears. I wanted to give up. Luckily I didn’t because that has passed and now feeding seems to be getting easier each day.
3) Do what works for you.
All moms, doctors, blog posts, articles, books, etc. seem to have their own opinion on the do’s and dont’s of raising your child. Truth is…we do what works for us. Whether you choose to breast feed or bottle feed, co-sleep or put them in crib right away, vaccinate or not, in the future…homeschool, public school, or private school, and the list goes on and on, pray for God’s will over your children and your family and do what you feel God is leading you to do. You will never make everyone happy, and being the best parent you can be is not about anybody else but you and your family. Let the negative comments go, let people have their own opinions, and do what works for you!
4) Never stop working on your marriage.
Just like any big , new chapter/challenge in our lives, joy and stress are both typically an outcome. I’ve learned that it is important to continue to put my husband first. As difficult as it can be, I can’t forget to continue dating, supporting, flirting, and loving my husband. I have found that it is crucial to communicate during this transition and not only express my needs as a new mommy, but also ask what he needs in return. When I’m running on 2 hours of sleep, baby is crying, and the house is a mess…I have to remember that we are a team!
5) Patience is key!
First of all, I truly believe that your baby feeds off your emotions. So when they are crying and fussy, getting stressed and annoyed only makes the situation worse. I tell myself to stay calm and keep in mind that both the parents and baby are just trying to figure this new journey out. There have been times where I’ve gotten bummed out because I’m still having to wear maternity pants and I just feel blah. Once again, I have to remember to be patient. I just gave birth and it will take time to get my body back. Sometimes I really just want a full night sleep or a night out without any worries (keep in mind pumping doesn’t work for me so I can only be away from my little bit for so long). Then, I tell myself to just be patient because that time will come…probably too soon and I’ll be wishing for my little baby back. Sometimes I catch myself saying things like “I can’t wait till she can laugh….I can’t wait till she can talk…I can’t wait till she can walk!” I’m starting to learn to enjoy each moment as it comes without rushing it along because time flies by and you can’t get those moments back.
Life has changed with a baby that’s for sure. But the way she looks at me and smiles, her little milestones that she reaches, her falling asleep on my chest, the way she wraps her little hand around my finger, the way she knows “mommy’s voice” already and gets excited when she hears it, looking down at our little blessing and being amazed by God’s work makes it ALL WORTH IT!