My sage advice after my first year as a parent

One year ago, I gave birth to the coolest baby I have ever known! Of course I’m biased! As I’m reflecting on the past year, I realize I’ve learned a lot! So, because I’m mom now to a 1 year old, I feel I should share what I’ve learned so far! Im no expert, and I have so much more to learn. So, you know, let me be proud of these few things!

1. It’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve had so far.

I’ve had a lot of jobs, and they’ve all had their struggles, but being a mom can be tough, especially when you decide stay home. It’s non stop, and you feel the need to be perfect 24/7. Here’s the thing, you can’t. Your job is literally 24/7! It’s an emotional roller coaster! But, the rewards will outweigh those hard times.
One day when Lily was just a few months old, I had the hardest time getting her down for a nap. She was fussy, I was fussy, and she was still up throughout the night. Finally, I calmed down, found my happy place, and she fell asleep! I laid her down, danced a jig, and passed out myself! I’m sure that happened a hundred times! But what I remember most is how much I loved watching her sleep. For being the toughest, it’s the most rewarding.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

I tried so hard to breast feed. It was so important to me, and Lillian latched on so well, from the second they handed her to me! One problem; my milk never came in. By 6 months I maybe produced 4 ounces a day. A DAY! My baby drank 4 ounces at least every 2 hours. I pushed myself so hard, pumping and nursing, then still giving her formula. I was miserable, and I battled with the decision to stop. I finally decided that if by 6 months it wasn’t working, then I was going to quit. So, at 6 months, I stopped breast feeding. It was emotional, but I had so much time now! I could play more with the baby, I could take more time to care for myself, and, it was easier to travel when I didn’t have to carry all the equipment. I realized how much more fun raising a baby is once I stopped being so hard on myself.

Don’t compare your baby or parenting style to the family’s next door

Just don’t. I’ve heard too many stories of people making moms feel bad for the choices they make (such as breast VS bottle). I mean sure, it’s going to happen, you’re going to see a parent doing something you would never do with your little one, just keep it to yourself, don’t say anything to them.
Also, don’t feel like the things they are doing, is something you have to do! I made my own purées as well as bought jarred baby food. One is not better than the other. I just love to cook, and it was exciting to watch my baby enjoy food I cooked! Parents have to do what’s best for their situation.

Pick your battles

Our pediatrician says this to us all the time! Do we let her cry it out tonight, or just give her a bottle and go back to sleep? Do you keep wasting wipes cleaning that teething ring she keeps throwing on the floor (cause it’s fun!) or do you wipe it on your shirt and give it back! There are things you will try incredibly hard to teach your kids, then there are things you’re going to have to say “fuck it” and move on. Yes. You will literally say “aww fuck it” and move on!

Keep your sense of humor

Our OB told us at every visit after we had a good laugh at how miserable I felt “keep your sense of humor! You’re doing great!” Even after having a stomach bug when I was around 6 months prego, I laughed and said “well, I didn’t die, so I guess I’m okay!”
There have been so many moments that could have ended in a serious break down if I didn’t just let go and laughed! The same week Lillian started walking, she started climbing. She climbed better than she walked! There is nothing that can keep this kid contained! I have had days that I literally did not sit down until I put her down for naps! If I didn’t laugh…I would have pulled out my hair!

Appreciate your significant other

Both partners have to remember; this isn’t easy on either side. Me and my husband can admit that neither of us have it easier/harder than the other. Some days we would love to say, I need a break! I do so much more with the kid than you do! But truly, that’s not fair. My husband works all day, then comes home and takes over so I can get some alone time. Sometimes I’ll go stay with my parents and give him some time off. You have to take time for yourself! I will go for a walk, go to Target, take a bath and shave my legs, go to another room and read a book or magazine. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, do it! Don’t feel bad about it. It gives you the fuel to keep moving on.

My last bit of advice I got from my mother-in-law before she died, and it rings true every day. The best is yet to come. I already know from how fast the past year has gone, before I know it, Lillian will be packing up to go to college. Or preschool. (I will probably feel just as broken hearted for both occasions). Enjoy every moment, don’t let yourself look back and say “damn, I wish I had done more”. Just do it! Take that extra picture, spend a little more time cuddling, get in all the kisses you can! Life is too short not to.
Happy birthday my little Lily Bean!
You have broken us in well.

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