Sunday, October 25, 2015

5 lessons my first year of motherhood taught me

The moment my daughter was born I became a mother, and I will be a mother for the rest of my life. In my first year of parenthood I've picked up on a few things. I still hope to learn so much more as I go through life, but never the less I'm grateful as I reflect on these 5 lessons learned. 

1. Stay flexible. Plans are nice but if you rely on them they will fail you! This is why I've learned the importance staying flexible! People get sick, babies get cranky, and naps fall through. On the other hand, the weather might be wonderful, babies might be so happy to simply just play, and plans change! My day goes better when I factor in how things are flowing. It's also just important to stay flexible as we parent. Stay humble and realize that's it's OK if something doesn't work, move on to a new method and find something that does. Even then, stay flexible so you'll be ready for when it's time to do something differently. I am a lot happier and relaxed as a mom when I stay calm and flexible. 

2. Give Web MD and Google a break! The internet is a wonderful thing, but it has a tendency to bring out the obsessive side of me. My child can have the sniffles and a slight fever and I have spent hours searching the internet for someone to tell me that it's not "just a cold"! I've learned to stop going to the internet for all of my advice. I call on her doctor or another experienced momma if I have questions. AND I PRAY!!! I pray about everything, no question is too small for our merciful Lord! 

3. Comparison is the thief of joy. It really is. Comparing myself to other mothers brings me down. Comparing my child to other children or even the statistics in the books puts me in a frenzy. When I was stressed out over Kate's nap schedule my wise cousin, who is a mother of 4, reminded me that babies aren't ready the books that we are reading. That has been my mantra. Comparison has got to stop! God has made us unique. As a mother I will be unique from other mothers, and as a child, Kate will be unique from other children. 

4. Cut the guilt. So this one sort of relates to #3 but it's so important I had to make it its own! For example, I had so much guilt when I was working on transitioning Kate from taking her naps in her swing to napping in her crib. I beat myself up for letting her get in that habit until finally one day I realized it wasn't that big of a deal. As a mom, you do what you gotta do to get through it. I let Kate nap in her swing because that was what worked for us. I could have tried to let her cry it out a lot when she was a newborn or work with her when she was older and had more trust with me formed. I choose the latter, and you know what, it worked. So I've gotten a lot better at giving myself grace and not feeling guilty. 

5. Savor every moment. OK, so the internet is filled with blogs that make fun of this cliche. I get it, you don't feel like savoring the moment when you're sleep deprived, up to your elbows in poop, and having to schedule your entire life around breastfeeding and pumping. What's important is that the more difficult moments don't overshadow all the precious moments. Always look for and savor the precious moments! 

Motherhood is a wonderful blessing. It keeps me on my toes, and it isn't always easy, but it brings tremendous joy and meaning to my life. "I have been changed for good."


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