Lessons Learned in Year 1.
Mark Twain famously said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
The day a woman gives birth – her baby is born into the world, and the significance of this colossal event reveals in her an identify shift unlike any other. Perhaps her whole life’s existence thus far cannot even begin to compare with the rebirth that motherhood so often demands – a selfless giving up of body, time, energy, resources, and love.
In light of the celebration of my son’s first year of life, I wanted to take the opportunity to share five of the little lessons I’ve learned during this first monumental year of motherhood.
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Leaking breastmilk through your shirt in public or having a diaper blowout in your new car seat are normal and perhaps even rites of passage into motherhood. Although annoying in the moment, these are the things you will look back on and laugh about months down the road (I’m speaking from experience on both of those, here.)
2. Adjust your expectations. Having unrealistic expectations for yourself and your baby can be detrimental to your overall mental health. You will sleep again. Your baby will become independent and not need you constantly. You will go on semi-regular date nights again. Your house will eventually be clean on a regular basis. This is just a season. One that goes by like lightning speed. Expect the broken sleep. Expect to be needed. Expect for not as much quality time with your partner. Expect your home to be messier than usual. It will not always be this way.
3. Do something for yourself every day. Yes, every day. This will look different for every new mom. Get some fresh air outside by taking a 20-minute stroller walk, look up a local mom’s play group to have real conversations with other adults, read 5 pages of the book you are currently reading when naptime begins, or pop your baby in the carrier while you call your best friend. You will be a better mother because of it.
4. Ask for help. Like, often. Even on your best day, you aren’t superwoman. If you are in a relationship, ask your partner for help. If you live close to family, ask if they can come over for an hour or two. If you have older children, post a few chores that need to be completed on the fridge and allow them to pick one to do. If you have the resources available, consider hiring a postpartum doula or nanny for a few hours a week. If you have neither a partner nor family nearby, research local resources in your community for single mothers-these are often plentiful. Don’t try to do it all yourself.
5. Get rid of the negativity. If there is a source of negativity in your life that is causing you unnecessary stress or emotional tension, turn the volume down on whatever it is. Whether it's the severing of an unhealthy relationship, an unfollow on social media, or a change in location or job title - be bold and cut it off. Only you can choose who or what you allow to enter into your heart and life. Becoming a mother is hard enough.
I hope these little lessons are encouraging and helpful for my expecting and new mommas! I write blog posts to share what I've learned and to uplift and inspire. If there is something in particular you'd like to read about - reach out to me! I'd love to hear from you.
Here's to a whole year. It doesn't quite feel real that a whole year has passed since his birth and, well, mine.