ONE. Don't compare yourself to other moms or your baby to other babies. Ha, the idea of that sounds nice, but it just isn't realistic. You WILL occasionally compare yourself and your baby to others. I remember driving home from a play date with 4 other moms after Andie had a particularly fussy afternoon thinking... oh my gosh, I have a fussy baby - especially because she was screaming her head off as I was driving home. I even called TL and vented "I don't know what's up with her, she is so fussy". Then I got home and realized she had a huge messy diaper - that probably had nothing to do with it, but then it hit me . . . that "G" word that inevitably comes along with the title of "mom" . . . guilt. I felt it so strongly that day. It's OKAY for my baby to be fussy - we all have bad days. Why oh why did I even question her? I apologized profusely to her, but felt guilty the rest of the day for thinking anything could be wrong with her. Comparison is the thief of joy... so I try very hard not to do it. And when I catch myself... I remember - all babies are different and 10 years from now this fussy day, or the fact that she doesn't have teeth, or hasn't started walking yet will mean nothing.
TWO. Okay, okay . . . don't compare. But have allies. This mom thing can be totally confusing. Wait, when do I start solid foods? Baby led what? Is that necklace your kid is wearing for teething? Other moms are great friends to have. They just get it. These mom friends have been so important for me, along with my own mom who has some sort of magical memory back to when we were babies. It's okay to ask for advice and having other mom friends to talk with really have made a difference for me. Lets face it, friends who are not moms do not want to hear details about their pooping habits, how much your kid eats, and how much sleep you got last night. I try very hard to spare them the details.
THREE. Take it easy on yourself. My mom has repeated this to me a few times. I get very hard on myself when laundry piles up, the closet downstairs doesn't organize itself, my unwashed hair hasn't seen my shoulders in a week, and my car is disgusting. I worry that I haven't taught her how to clap yet, or think "crap, I don't read to her enough". Here's the thing I have learned... I can't do it all. Superwoman probably exists somewhere, but not at this house. I do what I can and try to remember the perspective from my mom - I am her daughter and she doesn't want her daughter to be distraught because I can't do it all - just like someday I may be telling Andie to take it easy on herself. . . I need to take my own advice now. Hand baby to TL and take a bath. Sit alone and scroll through my instagram feed for 10 minutes. Try not to google every detail of her progress. Just take it easy and not feel guilty about it. (See, there's that sneaky "G" word again)
FOUR. Always give yourself extra time. You need to be at a friends house with dessert at 6pm? Leave the house at 5:15. Even if they only live 5 minutes from your house. Load the car, pack the diaper bag, oh crap, I forgot a paci, unload baby at the store (because you know this dessert is not homemade if it's comin' from me), make sure you have a toy for the cart, she cries in the aisle, take her out and love on her for a minute, make your way to the dessert section, gosh these carts are heavier than I remember, check out - can't find wallet in huge diaper bag - find it, load car back up, forgot bottle at home, speed back home . . . you get the idea. This isn't always the case, but I swear, Murphy's law - when I give myself more time, I get there early. Each time I don't give myself extra time - it's a landslide of extra issues that magically appear.
FIVE. Write it down. Your head is not a good place to store dates and ages of milestones. At Andie's 2 month appointment, I swore I would remember her weight and height forever because I was so excited to see it. Same thing when she smiled for the first time, and waved, and said "mama". But here's the thing - I don't. Write everything down. You'll refer to it often. Even a week later when someone asks you "how much was Andie at 6 months?". The baby books is a brilliant idea and I have made it a priority to stay on top of it as much as possible.
SIX. Try not to worry so much. If you're anything like me, worry is your middle name. I worried so much during my pregnancy about things I couldn't control. I have eased up so much since Andie was born, but worry is such a huge part of being a mom. But oh my gosh... there is so much to worry about. Every article you read, the unsolicited advice you hear from strangers in the grocery store, online, and on tv gives you more reason to worry - about the food you are giving them, whether or not you're able to breastfeed, if they're sleeping well, are you spending enough time with them, teaching them the right things, singing with them enough, reading to them enough . . . you can drive yourself crazy. I have really learned to trust my gut and take a deep breathe and do my best to not worry. Which leads me to anther thing I have learned . . .
SEVEN. You're stronger than you think. You're a better multi-tasker than you think. You're funny face is really funny. You're a comfort. You're a soother. You have more patience than you ever realized. Have confidence in your decisions. Believe in yourself as a mom. You've got this. Days of doubt are inevitable. But remember, you are cut out for this mom stuff.
EIGHT. This too shall pass. All too quickly. The crying in the car, the waking up 50 times during the night, the seemingly endless amount of snot and slobber, the exhaustion at the end of a long day, the giggles at your dancing in the kitchen, the coos and babbles, sitting in ducky during bath time, the feeling of little tiny hands grabbing your legs, the big toothless grin that seriously makes you feel mushy inside, the pride you feel when they do something for the first time, the thrill of being thrown in the air by daddy... the good, the bad, the yucky, the hard, the fun. It all passes. And I know, someday, when Andie is an adult, I will look back and wish I could have one more day of her being little. So for the hard things - I think, this too shall pass. For the wonderful, beautiful, joyful everyday moments - I think, oh no, this will pass too quickly.
PERSPECTIVE. Ohhh, this word is so heavy and has played such a huge roll in my first 8 months of being a mother. Things are not always easy. There are times of exhaustion, frustration, annoyance, arguing with your spouse... Ugh, please feel free to call me anytime to vent. I understand, and you're right, being a mom can be a huge test of patience. I am not in anyway trying to minimize that. But here's the deal: there are millions of women who would absolutely trade their full nights sleep, quiet trips to Target, and occasional tifs with their spouse to have a fussy baby to hold and comfort. I have several people in my life who have been trying to conceive a baby, adopt a baby, had several miscarriages, are spending thousands of dollars to have a baby, have a baby that is sick and in the hospital - and the second I open my mouth to complain about it, I try to think about them. One of my close friends adopted a sweet baby girl a while back after years of unsuccessfully trying to conceive. She wasn't sure if the adoption would go through or if the birth mom would decide to want her back. For 6 months, she woke up every night to go in and spend time with that baby, to pray that baby wasn't ever taken from her. Her story was powerful and it has resonated with me and been a staple of my perspective of being a mother. I am not saying it's an instant cure to frustration or exhaustion... even when I try to put things into perspective, it's not a magic wand to make it all better. My messy living room full of toys, my missed happy hours and girls nights, my constant pony tail (because someone likes to pull my hair), not having time for things that used to be so important... it's all a privilege - and if I can do my best to remember that it helps.
This is to be continued... I am learning new things every day.
What have you learned about being a mom?
I am sure things change as these babies grow and develop.
This is just my humble opinion from my very short time as "mama".