The first year as a parent is a real doozy. The highs tend to be high – like ultimate euphoria high. And the lows tend to be dark and scary and they usually involve poop. Most moments are equal parts wonderful and terrifying all at once. Everything is so new – and the creature left in your care is so very tiny. And the sleep, well the sleep is just not around much.
Looking back on this last year I can’t help but remember the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all. Here are my thoughts on my first year as a mom.
- Seeing her face. Seriously – it never gets old. I have a ritual where, almost nightly, I sneak into her room and watch her sleep. She breathes through her mouth when she sleeps. And I stand there, watching her in awe – breathing her in. After infertility and IVF I still, a year later, cannot believe she is mine.
- Hearing her laugh. The sound of her little laugh will cure anything. As an avid music lover sound has always been my favorite of the senses. And this kid’s belly laugh trumps the harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel. It just might be the most perfect sound in the world. When she laughs it’s never enough for me – I repeat whatever I did that made her laugh a hundred times in the hopes that she will gift me more of her sweet chuckles.
- Watching her grow. It’s something new every day. Smiling, waving, clapping, and now her first wobbly and tottering steps. My parents live close by and regularly have deer in their back yard. The other day Peachy was at the window watching the deer and I said “Say hi to the deer” and she said “Hi deeee.” What? My squishy little baby is now standing up and saying words? If she’s anything like her mom she will have a lot to say as she grows up, and I can’t wait to hear all of it…all of it (well, maybe not the teenage sass – but all the rest of it)
- Stealing sweet moments. That one day we napped together, snuggled up tight in the big bed. That day she fell asleep on my chest. The many nights spent rocking her to sleep. There are so many special memories that will forever live in my heart (and you’ll notice most of them involve sleep).
- Parenting with your partner. I loved my husband before my baby, but that love has quadrupled since watching him become a parent. Let’s face it ladies…a good man is nice…but a great dad is the best. And while I’m the one rigorously following schedules and always in a hurry my better half is there lobbying for a few more minutes of fun. Whether it’s longer splash time in the bath, an extra story before bed, or a few more minutes of fun in the play room – he’s always reminding us (well, me) to slow down and have fun.
- The post baby body. Turns out after growing a person inside of you things change. And by change I mean go to hell. The muffin top becomes more of a bunt cake. Things shift and move and just never go back to being the same. And while I’m not one to give advice on loving your body, I will say we all need to give ourselves a hearty dose of kindness as it relates to our post-baby selves. We grew a human – maybe multiple humans. Not sure about you – but that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done…and well worth any battle scars that might remain.
- The second guessing. I like to believe I was a fairly confident woman before becoming a mom. I was decisive, self-assured, bold. Now I second guess myself every.single.day. Is she eating enough? Is she eating the right things? Am I hover parenting too much? The mom intuition is strong – it guides us and tells us what we need to do. So why do we question ourselves so much?
- The guilt. A lot of this first year has been spent fighting the good fight against mommy guilt. If I could get back all the minutes I wasted feeling guilty I’d be wealthy with time. My vow for the next year and beyond is to drop the guilt. I work…and you know what…I love it. There, I said it. I’m a better mom because I’m a working mom and I refuse to feel guilty about that.
- The poop. Nothing more to say here folks, the first year involves a lot of poop, pooping out of things, pooping unexpectedly. Lots and lots of poop. And as luck would have it – the nicer the outfit or the less prepared you are for it…the more poop there is. Sorry to break it to you new moms. Get a shovel and a hazmat suit…it’s gonna be ugly.