On Friday of this week, my little girl will be a year old.
As we've gotten closer and closer to the big day, I've been thinking about what the past twelve months have taught me. I've learned a lot about myself, about being a parent, about my husband, about babies.
So without further ado,
1. When a friend has a new baby and you take her dinner, throw in a bottle of wine or cupcakes. Donuts are a nice treat too. Any of these are a huge treat to a new mom.
2. Turns out, I can actually eat really fast. If you ask my husband what one of his biggest pet peeves about me is, he'd probably tell you that I'm a terribly slow eater. But having a baby has totally changed that (and I hate it). I can now eat my whole meal in a fraction of the time it took me to take a few bites. I miss being able to eat a meal at my own pace!
4. Pumping is, hands down, my least favorite "mommy duty." I don't mind nursing, I don't mind changing a blow out, cleaning a high chair three times a day isn't even that bad. But having to pump is just the worst. I hate every part of it. My hat goes off to exclusive pumpers. You're a rockstar in my book.
5. I don't have to wash my hair every other day like I once thought.Or every three days. Heck, I've managed to stretch it to five days some week. Dry shampoo is a lifesaver to a new mom (and the mom to a mobile baby who just never stops.)
6. There is no baby just like M....living in 2013 I have loads of information right at my fingertips. I can google anything or ask a question on twitter and find an answer in seconds, but sometimes, those answers don't work because each baby is so so different. What may have worked for a friend's baby, may not work for mine. And what may have been a lifesaver for us, may not work for someone else. And that's okay! Each family has to figure out which methods of parenting work for them.
7. My husband can sleep through anything. Literally, ANYTHING. I, on the other hand, can be waken by even the tiniest of squeaks that our baby makes on the other end of the house. This still proves true, twelve months in.
8. Finding a network of other new moms to connect to is crucial. For your sanity and for your emotions. I was lucky enough to find two groups of Charlotte moms that I am in Facebook groups with, where we share questions, funny stories, the high moments, and the low ones. These groups (plus the wonderful mom friends I have form twitter), have played a major role of support to me in the past twelve months. I think it's easy to feel isolated as a new mom, but put yourself out there and form relationships with others who are in your shoes. It will do so much good for you!
9. Listening to your husband read books with funny voices and making up songs and wearing your baby in the Ergo and helping her "fly" up the steps....all these things are why you will fall in love with your husband all over again.
10. There's nothing quite like the first few week of the newborn haze. It's a crazy, blurry cloud you live in, but it's also such a sweet special time and I would pay big bucks to relive it all again. A friend called it "the new family cocoon" and I really love that image. As sleepless and exhausting as the first few weeks were, and as sore as I was from my surgery, I loved it. EVery second.
11. Every new milestone your baby passes (smiling, cooing, rolling over, sitting up, first tooth, crawling, standing, walking...) will seem like the greatest moment of your life, and will most likely just melt you to pieces. I think back to when M was six weeks old and we had friends visiting her and she was laying on her playmat just smiling away at the toys hanging above her and I wanted to cry with excitement seeing real smiles from her. My tiny little girl suddenly seemed SO big. Before I was a mom, these little things seemed cute when someone else's child did them, but when it was MY baby, it seemed just incredible.
12. There's nothing that can compare to being a parent. It's easily the best (and hardest) job I'll ever have. Before I had a baby, I thought I was pretty well prepared since I had two dogs and had taught elementary school. HA! I was so wrong. Sure, those things may have helped me in some ways, but there's nothing that can prepare you for the immeasurable amounts of love you will feel for this tiny little person you have been given the honor of raising. It's a job like no other.