Celebrating One Year as A Mother: 8 Lessons I’ve Learned
As I sit down to write this blog post, I'm overwhelmed with emotions.
Today marks one year that my life changed forever.
I remember laying in the hospital bed at 2:30 AM, after laboring for close to 30, when they first laid Colten down on my chest. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to his little cries. I turned to my husband and whispered “We did it.” My baby boy was born. All 7lbs 2oz, 19inches of him. And my life hasn’t been the same since.
Today marks one year since I became a mom, and what a year it has been! There have been moments of joy, moments of frustration, and moments of sheer exhaustion - but through it all, one thing has remained constant: the immense amount of love for Colten.
Becoming a mom has changed me in ways I never thought possible. It has taught me patience, resilience, and selflessness. But it has also taught me the importance of taking care of myself, both physically and emotionally.
In honor of this special milestone, I want to encourage all of you - my fellow mommas - to prioritize your own health and well-being. As mothers, we often put everyone else's needs ahead of our own, but taking care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of our children.
So to celebrate, I'm offering my story, my gratitude, and my love. I'm sharing with you the highs and lows of my first year of motherhood, in the hopes that it will inspire and encourage you in your own journey.
I'm also reminding you that you're not alone. Motherhood can be isolating, overwhelming, and downright difficult at times. But we are all in this together. Let's lift each other up, support each other, and celebrate each other's victories - no matter how small they may seem.
So what have I learned in the last 12 months?
1) Expect the Unexpected
I love plans and structure. And while this is still my default, I’ve come to realize that before you get the hang of one phase, the next one is already knocking at the door. I’ve learned to relax and recognize that it’s okay to not be in control. “Control your controllables” has definitely been my go-to mantra the past 12 months. Instead of getting frustrated, I recognize that both me and Colten are figuring out this new situation, and we will get through it together.
2) Trust your Instinct
With the internet and social media, there’s an immense amount of pressure to “do the right thing”. There’s SO much information out there. And when it comes to introducing solids, sleep, car seats, etc., absolutely everyone, and their mothers lol, has an opinion on what you should do. But no one knows your baby better than you, so stop overthinking, trust your instincts and do what’s best for the two of you.
3) Personal Time is Not Selfish - Happy Momma, Happy Family
I am a better mother when my life is in balance. When I am giving attention to not only my family, but also to work, my friends and family, and most importantly, my health. I’m not going to lie, this is incredibly difficult to manage and I often feel an immense amount of mom guilt. But I know that if I want to show up as a great mom, I need to feel my best. So even spending 30 minutes a couple times a week to get in some exercise, go on a daily walk, or taking a few extra minutes to make sure I have a balanced meal, is going to help me be a better mom.
It may feel selfish to invest time, energy and even money into yourself when you could be spending it on your child, but it’s important to not lose yourself completely. Children are sponges, and if you want them to grow up with healthy habits, it’s important that you model them. So prioritizing yourself is actually great parenting. “You, as much as everyone else, deserve your love and attention.”
4) You Don’t Need Fancy Things
Speaking of social media and the internet, new moms are exposed to aggressive and deceptive marketing for all the “best” toys and gadgets to help your baby develop and ensure their success. I remember months before Colten was born, laying awake at night wondering if I had everything I needed before his arrival. Did I have the right pacifiers? Should I splurge on a Snoo?
I was beyond stressed that I was making all the wrong decisions. Was I a bad mom for not asking for more expensive things? The intention behind marketing is to plant concerns in the minds of new mothers, and they must purchase items to help their baby reach new milestones. New parent anxiety is becoming worse and worse. But I’m here to tell you that babies don’t need fancy things to feel safe, healthy, and loved. You need way less than you think to raise a happy and healthy child. YOU are the best thing for your baby.
5) Speak Up If You Need Help
This can vary and apply to so many different situations, but if you need help, speak up. You can’t, and shouldn’t, do it all. Moms carry a huge mental load, trying to figure out introducing solids, remembering everyone’s schedule, keeping a grocery list, deciphering cries, the list goes on. So if you can get help in other areas of your life, take it. Or let your spouse or someone else know that you need help delegating responsibilities. If you’re anything like me, letting go of the need for control and having things done my way, is worth the mental and physical offload.
6) Talk About Life After Baby BEFORE Baby Arrives
Something I wish my husband and I had done more prior to Colten’s arrival. What are our expectations around returning to work? What does that look like? What are your thoughts on sleep theories? How long will we breastfeed? How do we determine who gets up with the baby at night? To be fair, it’s hard to chat about every possible scenario. And you don’t know what you don’t know, so conversations will definitely come up as they arrive. But it’s important to try and get on the same page before baby's arrival so you have an idea of what to expect from the other person.
7) Don’t Compare
Again, going back to social media here. Our feeds are filled with other mom’s highlight reels. So remember that the next time you’re scrolling and see a clean living room, or a happy child crawling a couple months before your little one. Most moms don’t whip out their cameras to capture the really hard moments, when you’re both lying on the floor crying because the other one is. Remember, you never know someone’s full story despite what they share on social media. So if you are going to scroll, take everything in with a grain of salt. And don’t be afraid to take back, detox your feed, or step away entirely if it’s best for your mental space.
Also remember that every kid is different. It’s hard not to look at kids in similar age groups and not compare to your little one, but they go at their own pace, and comparing won’t do any good but create more worry and anxiety. So soak up the stages they're in now. Pushing milestones to happen faster won’t make a difference.
8) Time Goes By Fast
Time is a thief, so enjoy the stages you’re at when you’re in them. If you’re constantly worrying about the next stage, it’s unlikely you’re enjoying the present. They are only little once, so soak up every moment you have with your littles.
Thank you for being a part of my journey as a mom. I am so grateful for each and every one of you, and I can't wait to see what the next year (and beyond) brings.
With love and gratitude,