Yesterday was my son’s first birthday. I look back at the year and wonder where the time has gone. It’s seriously incredible to think of how much he’s changed, and the milestones he’s achieved in such a short amount of time.
I’ve learned so much as a first time mommy too. I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve learned in this first year as a mom.
1. Don’t be too hard on yourself
No one is perfect. Hear me? No. One. You hear your friends kids can read at 7 months, and your kid can’t? Don’t beat yourself up. Your friends kids eat avocado and fruit and an all-natural organic diet, and all your son wants is waffles and cheese quesadillas? Don’t worry about it. Every child grows and matures at different rates. You aren’t doing anything wrong. You are doing the best you can for your child and your family, so don’t be too hard on yourself. (Side note–please talk to me if your child reads at 7 months, cuz that’s just darn impressive!)
2. There’s more than one way to feed your child.
Oh, how I wish I came to this realization earlier. So many people tell you “breast is best,” and if you don’t breastfeed you’re harming your child. It’s complete B.S. Utter B.S. I thought if I didn’t breastfed I was an awful mom. I tried and tried to be successful at it for 2 months, and in that time he was barely gaining weight. We supplemented still and I felt like I failed. I went to strict pumping, and while hard, I realized that he takes a bottle SO WELL and my husband can help me feed him, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. My son gained weight. When pumping became too much, I switched over to only formula and HE DID AWESOME. It doesn’t matter HOW you feed your child. What matters is that they are fed. Breast or bottle. Mommy’s milk or formula. They will all be crazy teenagers in the near future, and no one will know how they were fed as a baby!
3. Sanctimommies are everywhere.
What’s a “sanctimommy”? They are the moms who can do no wrong. They are the moms who are quick to judge and put you down for your parenting choices. Don’t listen to them. Or if you have to, brush off their comments. Only you know what’s best for your family and your children. If you choose to vaccinate or not, that’s your decision. If you choose to baby wear or not, that’s your choice. If you choose to breastfeed or use formula, that’s your decision. What doesn’t change is your love of your child. Those sanctimommies don’t know you or your life or your children, so keep doing you. Keep doing what you want and what you feel is best!
4. Listen to your mommy instinct.
Mommy’s know. My mom will be the first to tell you. She knew every time something happened with my brother or I. Had a weird feeling in her gut. And when I know something is wrong with my son, I have this feeling. 9 times out of 10, I’m right. Mommy’s are connected right from the beginning to their children. It’s a connection that you can’t even explain. It’s a deep down, crazy love, that’s stronger than anything you’ve ever felt before in your life. Always listen to your mommy instinct and trust it.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
With EVERYTHING. Especially early on. When family comes to stay with you after baby is born (if they do), don’t hesitate to ask for help with laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, or just holding the baby after he’s been fed and changed so you can take a shower or have a nap. Sleep is so so hard to come by nowadays so when I get the chance to nap, I take it. Even though my son is sleeping through the night most nights, I still sleep with one eye and ear open. But ask for the help when you need it, and don’t be sorry for it. I ask my husband all the time for help in either changing a diaper or getting my son some food just so I can take a minute break. It’s necessary!
6. Take time for yourself.
Like stated above, taking a minute break is necessary. Minute. 30 minutes. An hour. Anything. If you take time for yourself you will be happier person and can be a better mother and wife. It took me a while to feel comfortable leaving Jayden with anybody (yes, even my husband). I just could not leave him. As he got older, I knew that I needed to make time for me to have some balance in my life. You aren’t a bad mom if you take a break to better your mental state–even if that’s just a spa day, or a day at the library reading, or going to the pool to just sit. Make sure you set time aside each day, even if it’s just a minute here and there. You’ll be thankful you did!
7. Yoga pants go with everything.
I lived in them. Still do. Granted I have a job that I get to wear workout gear everyday, but still! When you’re running after your kiddos, the comfort and flexibility of yoga pants or leggings trumps the stiffness of jeans any day! You CAN dress them up. Black leggings? Add a cute flowy top and some cute shoes, and head out the door! Seriously though…why wear something uncomfortable all day when you are moving up and down and everywhere with your kids?
8. Don’t be afraid to do nothing all day.
ESPECIALLY when they are only just a few weeks old. Cleaning can wait. Laundry can wait. They are only young for such a small time. Put things on hold and enjoy your kiddos. Don’t be afraid to let things pile up (ok, maybe not too much cuz if you’re anything like me, I’ll go crazy if I have a ton of cleaning to do in one day!) It’ll all be there tomorrow.
9. Messes happen, and so will accidents.
My child fell down the stairs. There. I said it. We are in the process of moving, so our baby gates had to be removed to show our house and he just took a tumble head over heels down our stairs. My heart sank. Poor child was more scared than anything. But accidents happen, even though my husband and I were RIGHT THERE. Children are resilient. After a minute of crying he was back to running around like a crazy man in our house. Things happen, and as soon as you realize you cannot be in total control of everything, the sooner you’ll be at peace when things do happen.
10. Cherish every moment because the first year flies by.
What an understatement. I felt like I blinked and he’s already one. Felt like yesterday he was placed in my arms and I was introduced to him. When I say “let things pile up,” I mean it. When you look back on your first year, you aren’t going to say “wow I managed to keep an incredibly clean house and I cooked dinner every night!” No. You’re going to say “wow I can’t believe he’s 1 now and we got to see his first teeth, his first steps, when he first said mama and dada.” THOSE are the moments you’re going to remember.
So hug those babies every chance you get. Show them your undying love. Let them know you’ll always be there to pick them up when they need you. Give them kisses. Cuddle them close. And tell them “I love you.” Their first year is full of firsts, and full of memories. Cherish each and every one of them. ❤