The first year of motherhood has taught me thousands of lessons. Some big, some small and some I’m still learning. My first year of motherhood has been a rollercoaster. But it’s been the type of rollercoaster that leaves your adrenaline pumping. It’s the type that leaves you exhilarated and wanting more.
There’s been nights where I’ve cried myself to sleep and nights where I cried from laughing so hard. Each day has brought a new, exciting adventure. A new milestone, a new word or a new laugh. Watching Madison discover new things has been the highlight of my life. While I’ve watched her learn and develop over the past year, she’s taught me something new every day as well.
1. How to change a diaper – seriously. I remember sitting in the recovery room freaking out because I had no idea how to change a diaper. Thanks to my c-section, my husband got to handle all the dirty diapers for the first day.
2. To write everything important down – like ALL appointments. Because if you’re anything like me, you’ll forget if you don’t. Before becoming a mother I never ever forgot about appointments. But now my mind is preoccupied with a million other things and nine times out of ten, I will forget.
3. Explosive diapers happen at the most inopportune times. Like on a plane, while shopping or during a road trip with NO WHERE to stop except for the side of the road.
4. Bring burp cloths everywhere. You WILL need these the one time you forget to bring them. Kind of like the time I brought Madison to church and she projectile vomited on the person sitting next to us. Holy fail.
5. Carry spare outfits for YOU and the baby. I kept an extra pair of jeans and a shirt in my car for those inopportune explosive diapers and projectile vomit. At some point in time you’ll be thankful for the spare outfit to change into. Trust me.
6. That I am stronger than I thought. Having a baby puts a huge emotional and physical toll on your body and mind. Yet somehow after having major surgery I was walking around, rarely sleeping and putting someone else’s needs fully before my own. I never realized how exhausted and sore I was until my husband stepped in. Yet I could have kept going in order to give my baby what she needed.
7. How to multitask. As a Mother, we rarely are fully focused on just ONE thing. I thought I was a pro at multitasking before I had my baby, but I learned a whole new level of multitasking post baby. Whether I was on a phone conference call while bouncing my daughter on my hip or walking with the stroller while trying to control my dog on a leash, I learned how to keep my cool and manage more than one task at a time, if needed.
8. That not everything will work out the way you plan. Prior to my daughter’s birth, my husband and I decided on a birth plan. I wanted to have a natural birth and planned on fully breastfeeding. NONE of this worked out. Between a breech baby and my milk not fully coming in, our birth plan was pretty useless.
9. To ask for help. I am horrible about asking for help or letting others know I can’t handle something by myself. But as a parent, you have to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your child. By asking for help when I needed it I was able to be a better parent to my daughter.
10. To be conscientious of what my daughter is eating. I don’t mean this in literal sense. I mean this as in what ingredients go into her food. I don’t want my daughter to eat unhealthy food or things that are not beneficial for her. Her nutrition is a top priority for me now, so I want to ensure my daughter is getting the best nutrients that she can.
11. Hard times will pass. Every sleep regression, sickness and teething episode can drive you to the point of exhaustion. However, it will not last forever. Just when you think you’ve reached your breaking point they’ll do something absolutely adorable or hit a new milestone that will bring you immense joy.
12. Mother’s Intuition is real. Listen to your gut. If you feel like your baby is sick or there is an underlying problem, address it with your doctor. There were many times where I called our pediatrician’s office or brought Madison to the doctor because something seemed off. Even when it was just a viral infection, at least I had confirmation and peace of mind.
13. No two kids are the same. I loved hearing parenting-advice from friends and family. I was also an avid researcher on the “proper” parenting methods. With that said, I learned that no method works for every single child. What works for my child may not work for yours. But it is great to listen/research/read up on advice and other methods to figure out what works for your baby. This is also where listening to your gut comes into play as well
14. Time goes by faster as a mother. This was the fastest year of my life. As cliché as this sounds, babies really do grow up quickly. It feels like we just brought our daughter home from the hospital. Her newborn clothes and even her swaddleme swaddles were too big for her. Now she’s 19 pounds of joy and silliness that LOVES to talk. This year flew by and as she gets older, time seems to be going by even faster.
15. To enjoy the little moments. Enjoy the snuggles and rocking your baby to sleep. Enjoy the late nights and early mornings. The snuggles will happen less and less. Soak them up and give them the love they crave. While at the time the days/nights seem long and hard, in retrospect they are short.
16. To take care of myself. As a mom it’s easy to put everyone else first and when we have little ones that solely depend on us to survive, we have to. But it’s also important to think about and take care of ourselves. We are able to be better parents when we are well rested and healthy. It’s okay to admit we need a break. It’s okay to ask your partner to step in sometimes so you can work on a hobby, go to the gym, go to a hair appointment or even just to give you alone time to shower or even nap.
17. That my love for my husband will change. Seeing Matt with Madison just made me fall in love with him even more. He’s such an amazing dad and always tries to give his girls what we need. The first year of parenting is really, really hard. And it can also be hard on your marriage. I feel so lucky to have someone who is mine and Madison’s biggest fan. Parenthood did change our marriage and how I love my husband, but in a good way. We saw different sides of each other we didn’t know existed and we endured hard times but our relationship became so much stronger as an end result.
18. How much my mom loves me. Growing up, my mom always told me I’d understand how much she loves me when I have kids of my own. I never really understood this completely until I held Madison in my arms.
19. How much I can love someone. It’s indescribable the amount of love I felt when I first saw my daughter. But that love just grew every single day. The smallest smiles from her bring the most immense joy to my life. With each new day my heart could just burst with how much love my daughter fills it with love.