lessons i've learned in my first year of motherhood
It really is true that you can learn so many lessons from an infant. No matter how old you are.
We recently celebrated our son's 1st birthday. Yeah, we made it a year and he's still alive and well!
We survived the sleepless nights.
We survived (and attempted) breastfeeding. Ouch.
We kept him alive and healthy.
We nurtured him, loved him and made him the centre of our universe.
The things you do for your child but I wouldn't have it any other way. He came into our world exactly 367 days ago via c-section and life has never been the same since.
Even at 40 and 39 years old respectively, we have learned more from this little peanut than my 17+ years in business. Having a child is no joke (obvious statement, I know but I feel like I have to say this) because you not only have to be prepared physically, financially and in a solid relationship, but mentally. This was my toughest challenge. The mental exhaustion and challenges Grayson put me through each and every day, was a test and a testament that patience really is a virtue.
I'm one of those people who has a wee bit of OCD (okay, A LOT) and someone who likes time to herself. My patience can often run short and if I'm challenged I either retreat or butt-heads. None of which you can do when you're a new mother. So the lessons I learned having a new baby were long and hard but totally worth it.
Being a mother to Grayson has taught me so much in the 12 short months. I'm grateful for starting this blog to share my opinions on everything including motherhood. I've never veered away from brutal honesty but its been a great outlet for me over the past two years.
Here's a somewhat short list of things I've learned in my first year of motherhood:
- I've learned more patience than I ever could have imagined. BIG win for mamma!
- To love unconditionally.
- To stop and smell the roses and quit being in a rush all the time (my ultimate flaw).
- That I can survive on less sleep than I ever thought possible (scary but true).
- Breastfeeding is scary, painful and not for everyone. Be easy on yourself and follow your gut. Shut out the critics and do what is best for you and baby. At the end of the day, your child needs to be fed and healthy, and whatever form that comes in, choose what's best for you.
- How to be a fierce advocate for my child when it comes to his health and nutrition. Which leads me to...
- ...following my gut more than ever. I have had to do this when searching for childcare, being an advocate for his health and well-being.
- Grayson is little person with big needs and I learned how to listen to him, look for signs and pay attention to how he communicates. Tricky given he cannot speak. Yet.
- How to put myself on a shelf when I need to. It isn't just about me anymore (gulp, the self-centred side of me is being challenged).
- Indulge in the small things that make you happy. Don't be afraid of taking time out for yourself, to recharge your batteries, spoil yourself and get some much-needed zen time. In whatever form that means to you, do it. Happy mom, happy baby.
- Selflessness. All day, every day.
- Phases come and go. They last in short little bursts and once again, this tested my patience, but more importantly, it's all about his development and growth and what's best for him.
- I learned to love my (new-ish) body. Being cut open and the scar that came with, I've had my breasts mauled by a newborn and no time to exercise the way I used to. I had to learn to love my new body and appreciate what it has done (given life) and how its changed. Especially at the ripe age of 40. But I'm on the road back to where I was.
- Ignore the critics. Everyone is a critic no matter what you do, but only you know your baby best and what's best for him/her/them.
- Grayson really does have the best father I could have ever asked for. Watching Nathan with our son this past year still melts my heart. He is the most present, loving, patient, helpful, supportive and giving father. For that, we are both lucky.
- Grayson is more resilient than I thought he was. Bumps, bruises, scrapes and falls. They survive them all and bounce back quicker than my scared heart thought possible.
- Babies do communicate all the time. I've learned how to recognize signs and noises he makes like when he's hungry, in pain, tired or sick. You name it, we have our own special language. Now I can confidently say I speak 2 languages, fluently.
- Babies challenge the relationship you have with your spouse. BIG TIME. The good, the bad and the ugly - we've seen and done it all. I've learned that having a solid relationship is the first piece of foundation you need before you both decide to have children.
- Finding your community of mothers, community and cheerleaders. I had a bigger challenge in my life when I had Grayson - I was still adjusting to living in a new (small, rural) city and finding new work. A trifecta of big life things happening all at once. But finding a community of other mothers, my support system and those who are there for me to offer advice was priceless.
- My identity changed and shifted. My career has always been my life, my identity. Much like my mother, I knew I would need a life outside of the house, separate from being a parent. This has been a huge challenge for me because I felt like I had lost this when I became a new mom. My days were filled with feedings, cleaning, coddling, playing and tireless efforts in getting him to nap. But learning how to shift, adjust and find a new balance has been key.
- Take loads and loads of photos and videos. I am obsessed with catching all the moments and chapters of Grayson's childhood so that I have for us. And more importantly, him when he gets older. I drive Nate nuts because I do so, but I know he's thankful someone is collecting these memories:)
I could go on and on, but I've changed as a person, as a human and a spouse. I can't imagine life without this little peanut of ours. Our hearts get bigger as each day passes. I pinch myself often because we are so lucky to have a healthy, happy, thriving baby boy who has so much to offer to this world, whatever he decides to do.
The question is, do we have another? At least this is a question I get asked a lot, naturally. Only time will tell:)