Time flies. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. In my 30 years of life I’ve experienced many measures, but none have moved quicker than my first year of motherhood.
As I prepare for my child’s big, one-year celebration, it’s hard not to stop and think about my new life and new title of ‘mom’.
Looking back on laughable parenting mistakes, blow out diapers, sleepless nights, breastfeeding tears, and mass amounts of laundry, I realize how much I’ve grown and how far I’ve come since the moment I held that little baby in my arms for the first time.
Reflecting on this natural progression of life gives me all the feels. It’s like I want him to grow, but wish I could stop time for just a moment. Hold him close to my bare chest just a little longer. Rock him to sleep just a little longer. See that first smile just a little longer. Listen to his baby coos for just a little longer.
But, alas, I can’t. Time moves on despite what I may want. My baby will grow and change, and there’s not much I can do about it.
As an educator, I always put together corny activities for my students to do before summer break begins. The goal of these lessons is for the kids to see how much they’ve achieved as students, but also allow them the time to think back on all that’s happened during the year. I want them to take it all in, because lasts are usually followed by firsts. And likewise, firsts are followed by lasts.
So, in the spirit of cheesiness, reflection, firsts, and lasts it seems only fitting for me to expect the same from myself! Amidst starting to dress my baby in big boy clothes, feeding him huge meals of grown-up food, and watching him learn to walk on his own, here’s what I’ve learned during my first year of motherhood- the good, the bad, and the downright dirtiest depths of it all.
1. Breastfeeding is Hard
Rarely have I met a mom who said anything different. So why didn’t I get the memo? Breastfeeding was a million times more difficult than I ever expected. Although I stuck with my goal, it was met with soreness, tears, Facebook support groups, and an awesome lactation consultant.
2. I Can Do Just About Anything, One-Handed
A baby in one hand, and everything else in the other. There’s not much I haven’t tried.
3. I’m Emotional AF
I used to think my mom was so weird when she would cry over the littlest thing in a story we read or a movie we watched. Now, I totally get it. On any given day, I can cry quicker than a Real Housewife on cue. With my baby’s birthday rapidly approaching, I have been crying more than ever. Today, I cried while dressing him in a T-shirt because he no longer looked like a baby. Maybe I need help, or maybe this is normal first year motherhood behavior!
4. I’m Obsessed with Poop
In no other situation would Googling pictures of poop be normal, unless it’s your first year of motherhood. Brown, yellow, green… but please, not too much green and definitely no white or red.
5. I Appreciate My Parents Way More
I feel like I understand my parents on such a different level. I get how it feels to love something so much that you would give up anything for it. How could I have ever been a hormonal teenage biotch to them? How did they ever let me drive? How did they let me go away to college? How did they let me backpack Europe? My baby better buckle-up because he’s never leaving his room…ever!
6. I Have Changed
One major thing I learned during my first year of motherhood is that I’ve definitely changed. I was so set on being the same person once I had a baby, but why? I grew a life in my body for 9 months, birthed him after hours of labor pains, pretty much lived off of 3 hours of sleep a day for 3 months straight, and sustained him with nutrients my own body produced. You would be different too if you had gone through something like that.
The changes I’ve made since becoming a mom are beautiful, in all seriousness. I care less about myself and more about how I can make this baby’s world the best it can possibly be.
7. Having Mom Friends is Important
I have great friends, but I learned during this first year of motherhood that it’s vital to have mom friends. When I talk to other new moms, I feel normal! All the emotions, pains, struggles, joys, triumphs- mom friends get it, and they have your back.
For more on mom friends, where and how to find them, visit my post here.
8. Drool Is Literally Everywhere
The floors. The couches. The beds. Nowhere is safe.
9. I’m Not Superwoman
Yes, moms can do anything. We are strong and powerful but even superwoman needs a break to refuel. I’ve learned this year that it’s okay to ask for help!
10. What Does “On Fleek” Mean Anymore?
The other day I tried to wear a dress. Man, that was ballsy. During my first year of motherhood, I’ve learned to embrace non-style. Yoga pants, yes! Make-up, just enough! Hair, don’t ask! Jewelry, forget about it!
11. Nap Times Make Me the Most Efficient Person Ever
We just moved to a new house, and I wanted my husband to get up early to start organizing our garage. In response to this request he stated, “How much can I really get done in an hour anyway?” Literally, everything. Everything gets done in just an hour!
12. You Can Survive on Little to No Sleep
Is it sad that sleeping in means 6:30 now? My college self would die of horror. In fact, let’s all say a prayer for our before-kids sleep.
13. The Female Body is Incredible
I knew women were meant to do amazing things, but after experiencing it firsthand, I’m in awe. From pregnancy to birth to my first year of motherhood, I still can’t believe what my body is capable of. The anatomy of a woman is a beautiful, wonderful, and oh so purposeful thing.
14. All Children are Different
I’m still in the process of learning not to compare my child with others. It doesn’t get me anywhere!
15. Amazon Prime is Better Than Chocolate
Well, not really, but I’ve learned during my first year of motherhood that Amazon Prime is freaking awesome, and if I order chocolate, it can get to my house the same day! It’s incredible, magical, and reminds me I need a new shipment of Babyganics dish soap right now.
16. Teething Lasts Forever
Want to know why your baby is fussy? It’s teething. It’s always teething, and I’ve learned there’s no end in sight.
17. The Love I Feel is Indescribable
On most days, my heart feels like it’s going to beat right out of my chest. It’s bursting with love. This baby is everything. His eyes. His smile. His laugh. His chubby thighs. I love him more than I’ve loved anything in my whole life. Yes, I love my husband and he loves me, but we created this living, breathing, person together and it’s the most incredible feeling in the world.
The First Year of Motherhood in a Nutshell
As this first year of motherhood comes to a wrap, I know it’s okay to be sad that an era is ending, but taking the time to embrace it is important. I am proud of my baby (who is now a toddler, I guess) and damn proud of myself too. I am doing a job that is completely new and everchanging, but it’s the best job on the planet.
I love you, my little man, and remember, I will always be there to hold you close just a little longer, rock you to sleep just a little longer, laugh with you just a little longer, and listen to your stories, just a little longer.
Being a new mom is a crazy rollercoaster, but we’re along for the ride. What did you learn during your first year of motherhood?