This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.
The first year is full of lessons, surprises, and messes. So. Many. Messes. As I enter the time in my life where my girls are growing in their independence, I love taking in all the moments and looking back at my girls’ first years. Motherhood has been amazing, in just these first 4½ years, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.
You started with a twinkle in the eye of a child. A young girl, who imagined things like feeding a baby, singing her to sleep, pigtail braids, and baking cookies on Christmas Eve.
When you came to me, it was with planning and love and a dream of a married couple. We didn’t think it would be so easy, but there were the lines, 2 pink, across the test. And just as easily as they showed, they faded.
Life is, after all, messy and complicated. No matter, I was a mother.
And you came again.
With 36 hours of labor, my Adelaide was born. And now, I didn’t just feel like a mother, I had a baby in my arms. A bonafide baby- who coos, and nurses, and cries, and spits, and poops. After all of the books I read and groups I’d joined and community surrounding me, I still had so much to learn.
In the first year, Motherhood taught me a lot of wonderful things. Some of the most valuable ones?
You can’t prepare for it all… but you can try! I tried to read it all, but it all conflicts with itself and is hard to decipher and can change in the moment. Parenting is ever-changing, know as much as you can and nothing more. Trust in yourself. You’ve got this!
No, you won’t always sleep when the baby sleeps. It’s age-old advice… and it really holds up. On paper. But parenthood isn’t a pretty packaged book, with edited words and theories tested on your family. Life comes at you fast. When the baby is sleeping? Do you. If it’s reading, showering, peeing alone, a short nap, a moment to Netflix and consume a chocolate bar. No matter how tired you are, sleep is sometimes not the best way for us to recharge. You choose what to do at naptime.
Children are not small adults, but they aren’t idiots. Your baby is learning from you, each button you snap, give it a count. Every body part you kiss, say its name. One of my favorite things to do is sing to my babies… and then hear those songs sung back to me just a year later. All those moments… they add up.
The neck on onesies open for a reason. In the first year, things known as blowouts can be plentiful. These are best handled with a deep breath… into the crook of your arm- then proceed. Most onesies have openings at the neck, start there and pull down over the shoulders, pulling one arm out at a time. Grab up some wipes and give your little love a sponge bath. My favorites are WaterWipes because they are chemical-free and durable. Baby skin is so sensitive, too many baths in a week can really dry out their skin. For any mess in the hair, spot clean with warm water and gentle massage. Continue to roll the onesie down until it is off, then finish sponge bath with wipes. Gently re-diaper and dress. Take another deep breath. Someday, s/he will be potty trained. I promise.
A schedule… you got jokes? I thought I knew it all and had a schedule. And then it changed. And then it changed again. I like to call it a gist. I know what I need to get done in a day and, if I have appointments, when they are. We make it everywhere we have to be, and get to most of the places we want to be. Anything else is a bonus.
Mastering the smile and nod. Opinions are cool, but often, totally unsolicited. I had to learn to master the smile and nod. Lots of people will come at you with what needs to happen. The baby is crying because, s/he looks too fat/skinny/tired. If your baby doesn’t sleep well, it’s because XYZ. There are a lot of thoughts out there. The only one that matters? Your own.
The most important thing isn’t getting work done… even when it feels that way. I’ve never regretted a single nap taken on my chest, an extra book before bed, or another 15 minutes at the playground. Some nights drag on, even after the kids sleep though the night because I was needed more during the day. Of course these nights are longer, but they are not impossible. Just keep living in the moment. You’ve got this!
Love will conquer all. This hard time? It’s just a phase, and the first year will feel like forever… but it won’t be. Love isn’t just for your baby… it’s for you, too. Take those moments for yourself. Love you.