Being a new mom is hard. The learning curve is large and the time to do it is short. Just as you get into a good routine and feel as though you are actually in control everything changes. Noble turned one on the weekend and looking back now I can honestly say this year challenged me in ways I could have never imagined.
Although I will be the first to admit it has not been easy, often the most challenging experiences come with the biggest rewards. I have loved every minute of it and have learnt some important lessons along the way.
Here are the top 10 things I have learnt since becoming a mom.
It’s okay to not have all the answers
You never will. Life is a learning process and babies are one of the best teachers. They help us to appreciate the little things again. They show us the world with a fresh pair of eyes. In the last year I have learnt so much by being an observer, following my instincts and really tuning into his cues. Your baby is your best guide.
Don’t doubt the power of trial and error
Do what works for you. There are no right answers (see above). I don’t do sleep training. I did not give my baby rice cereal first (to the horror of my mom). I let my child sleep with blankets. The list goes on… Just because something worked for your friend or fourth cousin removed does not mean it’s right for you.
Comparison will drive you crazy
It’s great your friend’s baby rolled over at four months, but that does not mean yours will. All babies grow and develop at their own pace, it’s not a race or a competition. Developmental milestones are averages and although we need to make sure our baby is somewhat on track, if things don’t happen exactly when they are supposed to (or when you would like them to) don’t panic.
Trust your gut
You know more than you give yourself credit for. You can tell a hungry cry from a tired cry. You know their favourite toy. You know how to make them smile. You have a special bond that will never be matched or replaced. Although it can be scary and overwhelming I always like to remind myself that I’ve made it this far…
Don’t forget about your husband
It’s easy once the baby arrives to quickly forget about the relationship with your husband. A lot of the attention and affection that was directed towards each other is now directed toward the baby. This is just the reality for new parents but it’s not an excuse. Taking time to connect and actually talk to your husband is important. Relationships take work and after a long day watching mindless TV seems a lot easier than having a conversation. Make the effort. The long term gains will be worth the short term pains.
Ask for help
You are not in this alone. Your husband, family and friends are usually more than willing to help but you need to ask first and for me that can be the hardest part. Don’t be afraid. New mom burnouts and breakdowns are a real problem but they can usually be avoided if you have the necessary support in place. Raise the white flag and call in the troops.
Enjoy each second
I know it’s cliché to say but I honestly cannot believe how fast time goes. He’s one year already? Since having a baby I honestly don’t know where the time goes. I do know that he’s only going to be this little once. I’ve tried really hard to remind myself to slow down and be grateful for this time and extremely precious gift I have been given.
Be less busy
There are never enough hours in the day, as a new mom working full time, time never seems to be on my side. No matter how much I plan, prepare and organize I can never get to everything on my “to do” list. Is the problem, there is not enough time, or is the list just too long? For me it’s usually the latter. I have learnt that I can’t do everything. I’m learning how to use the word “no “. Simplifying helps because being less busy usually means being less stressed.
How many Facebook friends will you lose if they don’t see a pic of what your child is eating for dinner? We are all guilty of it. The unfortunate reality is today sometimes it seems a lot easier to tune out of the real world and to tune into the virtual world. Put the iPhone down. Connect with your baby. Enjoy the moment instead of tweeting about it.
Make me time
This is another lesson I’m learning but have not yet mastered. With a new baby, husband and full time job there is not a lot of time leftover. Finding “me time” is usually the last on my long list of priorities. It’s so important for all us moms to take a moment. Make the time to go for a 20 minute run, read a chapter of your book or call a girlfriend. I’m not talking about an afternoon at the spa, but taking 30 minutes to do something you enjoy will help you reset and recharge.
What did you learn during your first year of motherhood? What was the biggest challenge for you? What was the biggest reward? What is the best piece of advice you have for other moms? I would love to hear your thoughts below.
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