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First Year Reflections

Matt and I had plans to join some friends at the bar this afternoon to watch football, but unfortunately, our sitter fell through at the last minute. I stayed home with Grey so that Matt could go and for that, I was gifted 45 minutes after dinner to take a relaxing bath tonight. As I filled the tub with Johnson and Johnson baby bubble bath, I climbed in, joining the rubber duckies and floating boats that were still in the tub from Grey’s bath last night. With tomorrow being the final day of the year, I started to think about the last twelve months. I wanted to brainstorm a few mommy resolutions for 2013, but one thing I have learned this year is that trying to make plans for parenting is not practical. While it’s good to have some idea of what kind of parent you want to be, you really have to make decisions as things come up. So for that, I thought it was more useful to reflect on what I learned and share that with others who might be getting ready to enter club parenthood for the first time next year. Here goes –

It takes time to adjust. When you leave the hospital, you can’t expect that you are going to go home and live happily ever after with the new addition to your family. Caring for a baby is crazy, so give yourself some time to get settled.

It doesn’t get easier, but you will get better. I mentioned this in an earlier post. While each stage a baby goes through has been challenging so far, as a parent, you get better at handling it. Practice makes perfect, right? I’m sure by the fourth or fifth kid we will all have this parenting thing figured out. (Maybe).

Your relationship with your friends will change. It really used to annoy me when people with kids told me I didn’t get it because I wasn’t a parent, but the truth is, you won’t get it until you are a parent. When your friends harass you for not seeing you more often and you try to explain why it’s a challenge to go out, let it slide. Then, when they have a newborn, you can bust out a big ol’ “I told you so.” And in the meantime, find some friends that have children who will understand why you must schedule
get-togethers between naptimes and that you have to be home by 7pm for bedtime.

Forgive yourself for making mistakes. Parents are not perfect. You can’t expect that you will be. The first time Matt changed Grey’s diaper in the hospital, he put it on backwards. As gross as the result may be, a little leaky diaper never killed anyone.

Be honest. The entire purpose of writing this blog was to create a place for me to be honest about the craziness of motherhood. When people ask you how the baby is doing, or if the baby is sleeping through the night, or how you are adjusting back at work, you will probably have the same reaction as most and give the typical answer – “It’s great! We are great! The baby is perfect!” However, don’t be afraid to switch it up now and again and surprise them. Tell them that the baby does a lot of screaming, shitting, and spitting up. Tell them that work is ridiculous – you are napping underneath your desk due to exhaustion. Tell them that the baby is up every 1.5 hours to breastfeed which your husband can’t help you with and you are pretty sure you will never sleep through the night again. Who knows? Maybe if you are honest more often, people will stop pestering you with small talk questions. Either way, find someone that doesn’t mind listening to you complain now and again and keep them close by. Or just start a blog.