As I turn another year older and Lucy approaches the celebration of her first birthday, it seems a fitting time to reflect on all that I have learned and all that Lucy has taught me in my first year of motherhood. Here goes:
~Parenting is hard. See next comment.
~Every time you think you have parenting figured out, the game changes.
~Parenting is also amazing, mind-blowing, and insanely rewarding. See next comment.
~There is absolutely nothing more beautiful in this world than when your baby grabs your finger for the first time… until she smiles at you for the first time, then laughs, rolls over, crawls, stands, walks, speaks…all for the first time.
~Document. Record milestones. Write your baby letters. Take photos. But also know when to put the camera down and simply be present.
~During your labor and delivery, fight for what you want/need, within what is medically reasonable. Use a doula.
~Pacifier is not a bad word, nor your enemy. Be grateful if your child takes to one.
~Don’t compare your baby to others. Children develop at different rates.
~Your child will fall, bump her head, and scrape her knees. She will have colds and fevers and rashes and diarrhea, and vomit. And she will survive them all. So will you.
~It’s okay to let your child become attached to a caregiver other than yourself. In fact, it’s a really good thing, both for you and for her.
~Breastfeeding, while natural, is hard. Be patient with yourself and with your baby.
~Learn to embrace the late night feedings and appreciate them for the peaceful quiet that they bring. They won’t last forever.
~Dirty dishes and laundry can wait.
~Everyone says this because it’s true…sleep when your baby sleeps.
~Listen to all the advice you can get from family, friends, professionals, caregivers, books and then ignore half of it. Be an informed parent and then decide for yourself what works best for you, your partner, and your baby.
~Let people help you. See next two comments.
~Savor family. Give your baby endless time with grandparents.
~Join a mom group or reach out to other parents with children. They will become your lifeline, your family, and more. And it’s a great way for your baby to learn to socialize.
~Stay in contact with your friends. They were your friends pre-baby and will be there for you present-baby, but you have to make the effort.
~Let your child explore. Let her run her hands thru the sand, pick up leaves, touch rocks, dangle her feet in the ocean. The outdoors is a great classroom.
~Read to your baby everyday. Sing, too.
~Love your partner. Make time for your partner, even when you are exhausted, especially when you are exhausted.
~Call your mom and tell her you love her. Especially on your birthday.