We have just celebrated Baby Girl’s 1st birthday 🙂 What an amazing roller coaster ride this year had been and what a steep learning curve as well! I thought I’d record some of what I’ve learnt over this year. These are in no particular order and some may not even be the main lessons but are just those that come to mind as I sit her and write.
1. Expect the unexpected
This goes as far back as her birth where it was only her daddy and I there to welcome her into the world. Perfect? Yes. Planned? No. Do it over again? Absolutely!
I had planned to be a total hippie earth mommy. After that first poo I reached for the disposable nappies and didn’t look back. I had planned to do baby yoga, baby massage, the works. We have been to 2 baby related classes in her first year.
I don’t beat myself up about the mother I planned to be but am not. I do my best and do the best by our baby.
2. Breastfeeding is hard
This is probably the hardest thing I’ve done. Ever! Those first few weeks I cried. I cried a lot and wondered why no one told me that breastfeeding was hard. All the fuss and preparation for labour and birth but no one mentions breastfeeding. Then I asked for help and a wonderful La Leche League support lady came to set me and it got easier from there. At 1 year old, Baby Girl is still breastfeeding like a trooper and I’m quite proud to be able to multitask while she’s feeding. Lol!
The Special One was a huge support to me through this. Helping to keep me calm when the going got tough. Supporting, never forcing ideas – just always lifting me up.
3. Single mothers are amazing
The Special One was home with us for the first 3 months after baby girl was born. I don’t know how I would have managed without him. I suppose I would have managed but it would have been so hard. So I realise how hard or must be for those who have no one around to help them.
Actually it’s not just single mothers who are amazing. All mothers are amazing. I am referring here to those who get no support from those around them and still pull through. You rock.
4. The perfect mother doesn’t exist
I was going to be the perfect mother but then I realised that I was not doing anyone any favours trying to achieve this. Instead I do the best I can for her and her daddy and that will be enough.
5. One size doesn’t fit all
At Baby Girl’s birthday celebration one of the boy’s fell and knocked his head. There were mixed reactions from other mother’s of what needed to be done. Get ice. No ice. Cold flannel. No flannel. Confusing, right? Who’s right or wrong in this situation? I’m still not sure. I understand the reasons for each one’s suggestions but geez people… it’s hectic trying to wade through the immense amount of information out there on everything related to children. In the face of all the conflicting information out there it’s difficult to avoid feeling like a bad mother sometimes when you chose one way over another.
6. Cute clothes are sometimes best left on display
I bought Baby Girl a Little Miss Sunshine sleepsuit when she was smaller. It was super cute but what an effort to get it on her. There were only poppers on the legs so she had to get it on like a T-shirt if that makes sense. Way to much effort for dressing a little baby. From what I’ve heard, many babies don’t like getting clothes put over their heads so why do so many shops sell T-shirts with no poppers or buttons on the neck to make it easier to get on? I don’t get it.
Baby Girl received lots of clothing as gifts. She didn’t wear a lot of it. I feel babies should dress like babies. She lived in sleepsuits most of the time. The jeans, cropped jackets, cord trousers were all very cute but not practical at all.
7. Everything changes
That’s sounds so dramatic but in our case it’s true. From sleeping patterns to socialising to routines to sex life. It all changes. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not complaining but am acknowledging that everything changes.
8. I see my mother in myself
I always knew that I had qualities that I recognised in my mother. Since becoming a mother myself I see even more. I also realised that there are some irrational behaviours that I may have inherited from her and I need to figure out how to not pass that on to Baby Girl.
9. Mothers need to support each other
Before I had a baby I must admit that I was guilty of being a bit judgemental towards other mothers for one or another reason. Maybe their child was crying a lot and they weren’t doing a great job (or so I thought) of quieting them. Maybe their baby has a crusty face full of dried snot and I wondered why they weren’t cleaning them up. Now that I am sometimes that mother, I know how wrong it was to judge them. I don’t know their story or anyone’s story for that matter so who am I to judge anyone. Mothers (and daddies) need to rally together and put aside judgement and support one another because it’s a bloody tough job raising another human.
I best wrap this up now.
10. Babies don’t need many toys
We didn’t buy any toys when Baby Girl was born. She received a few from a cousin and that was it. She hardly plays with anything for longer than 5 minutes anyway. Her favourite things to do are unpack the kitchen cupboards, fiddle with remote controls or pull on the blind at the patio door.
Anything and everything can be a ‘toy’ for a baby. An empty juice bottle filled with dry beans makes a great noisy toy. Going into a toy shop is great and I love the idea of some of the toys I see there but it would really be a waste of money if I expect her to get hours of enjoyment out of it immediately after purchasing it. So I don’t buy it. Is she deprived of toys? No. People will always but toys unless you tell them not to and I’m not going to do that.
I realise this post is a bit all over the place. Apologies. I’ve written it in between dropping her off at the childminder for an hour and then finishing it while she sleeps.
Thanks for reading x