Postpartum. The fourth trimester. Life after Baby. Whatever you want to call it, it can get a tad crazy. Don't get me wrong, it's been awesome. Seriously, I'm loving loving loving this little girl of mine, and being her Momma is one of the greatest joys and blessings of my life. I'm not trying to say otherwise; I'm just pointing out that life today is a lot different than it was even one year ago. I wouldn't trade it for anything, and when people jokingly ask me if I'm ready for another baby, fully expecting me to exclaim in utter horror, "NOOOOO! NO MORE BABIES!!!" I think they're a little surprised when I honestly and calmly say, "Actually, yeah. I am." It's been a time of adjustment, for sure, so today I bring to you a few little nuggets that I have learned since having a baby.
1) Everyone has an opinion; ask advice of the people you trust, and, of the unsolicited stuff, take the good, and toss the bad. You're free to do that. If you don't want your baby to cry it out, but the bagger in the grocery store line tells you that's the only way to do it, you can ignore her. Or, on the other hand, if you do plan to let your baby cry it out, but your great-grandma's brother's uncle's son's third cousin once removed says that's bad, oh well. This baby is not their child, so they really don't have any say in the matter unless you give them that authority. Follow your heart; do what you think is best for your child; everyone else can deal. I don't mean that to sound harsh, but you hear some crazy stuff as a new parent, and it can all be a little overwhelming and contradictory. So consider yourself officially set free from feeling like you have to follow everyone's advice. Listen, smile politely, and forget it if someone's advice doesn't sit well with you
2) There will always be someone who will call your baby by the wrong gender. It doesn't matter what you do or how your baby is dressed, someone will always say the wrong gender. Case in point, I was in Starbucks a few weeks ago with my baby girl, and some gentleman commented on my "handsome little man." Now, in this guy's defense, Little A was wearing a blue outfit....but it also just so happened to be a dress...with pink polkadots....and ruffles. Obviously attire for a little girl. Just shake it off. You'll spend way too much time offended if you let it bother you too much. It doesn't mean your baby isn't beautiful. I doesn't mean your baby looks weird or un-feminine (or un-masculine if it's a boy) or anything like that. Again, listen, smile politely, and forget it. The important people know who your baby is and won't forget it.
3) Husbands get tired, too. It's so easy when you, as the mom, are the one who is up with baby all night long while your hubby seems to be sleeping peacefully to feel disdainful towards him when he mentions feeling tired. But keep in mind that he is most likely not completely impervious to baby's cries; he may seem to be sleeping, but his sleep is most definitely disturbed, too. The best response is to feel genuinely supportive and grateful! He knows you're tired, too, and he's not mentioning his own exhaustion to belittle yours.
4) Comparison will most definitely bring you down, down, down, down in the depths of the sea. Seriously, don't compare yourself to your mom friends on Instagram who are posting pictures of their wholesome, organic, homemade meal being eating enthusiastically by perfectly clean, matching children at a spotless table that she hand-painted yesterday while simultaneously home-schooling her perfect children from a self-published curriculum and washing her fine china with homemade dish soap. Because 1) that is likely not anyone's daily reality 2) THAT'S OK and 3) most of us put our highlights on Instagram-- ie we all have "those days" and, if you pay close attention, you'll probably notice that there aren't many posts popping up from "those days."
5) Don't use your baby to compete against other babies. There's a reason that doctors and researchers give a range when it's normal for babies to reach each milestone. It doesn't mean that your baby is smarter or less smart than any other baby whether she crawls at 6 months or 10. It's all normal, and research has shown that babies all even out anyway. It doesn't mean you're a better/worse mom, either. See item 4. It's really best to just enjoy each day with your baby because each year really does go by so quickly. You wouldn't want to look back on your child's life and think, "Man, I wish I'd just relaxed and enjoyed each stage of her life rather than rushing her on to the next thing."
These are just a few lessons learned since Baby A's arrival. There are more, and there will continue to be more every day, but the main thing I've learned is to enjoy every step of the way. Even when it's the wee small hours, and I just want to sleep I have to remember that even this won't last forever. There will come a day when she won't need me like she does now, and then I'll miss it. Better to get to that day knowing that I enjoyed her to the fullest at each stage of her life.
What have you learned since becoming a momma?