5 Things I Learned During My First Year Of Motherhood
Olivia finally turned one... What a freaking whirlwind of a year it has been! So many ups, a few unfortunate downs, but overall this year has been such an amazing learning experience....A once in a life time adventure that I have grown so much from, and will continue to grow every single day. I've changed so much as a human being during this year, but I've also made so many realizations about my idea of Motherhood and parenting, and honestly, even life in general. As I look back at these last twelve months, I decided to rank the top five things I learned during my first year of motherhood. Hopefully a few of you will relate!
1. Life Is Messy
This seems a little self explanatory, but life is so messy... It's perfectly imperfect... It's realizing you're running late for something that starts 2 hours from now... It's your kid throwing all her food on the floor when you're out at a restaurant, because she doesn't realize her dog isn't there to clean up the mess. Nothing in Motherhood, or even parenting in general for that matter, is black and white. There are no 100% right or wrong answers. Before I became a Mom, I had my life skillfully planned out. Every aspect of my life was a part of a bigger checklist. Everything I did was planned to perfection, and carried out according to that plan... Now I look back at my old self and laugh.. how absolutely ridiculous of me to think that the rest of my life would go exactly according to my plans? Motherhood is rolling with the punches and trying not to sweat the small stuff. Now don't get me wrong, I still obnoxiously try to plan every element of my life, but now I'm a lot more realistic in my expectation that things can, and probably will, go wrong.
2. You have to try really hard to truly mess up
This is something you definitely discover as your kids grow up. When we first brought Olivia home I drove myself crazy freaking out about messing anything up. Giving her too much milk, not enough milk, feeding her too much food, timing her naps wrong... the list is endless... but as Olivia grows up, I'm realizing that you actually have to really try hard to mess anything up. Unless you're doing something drastic, your kids are gonna be okay. Once I accidentally bought Olivia the wrong formula and gave it to her. I FLIPPED OUT as if she was going to die that I gave her something she didn't normally drink (so overly dramatic I know, but I'm a crazy mom)....Obviously it did nothing to her... she survived, and so did I...
3. Your best is always enough
As Moms we are so damn hard on ourselves... why? Because we are afraid that the Mom next door thinks we aren't as good as her because we don't do things and think the way she does? That's crazy to me! As long as our kids are happy and healthy, why do we care what other people think?!?! At the end of the day, all that matters is that you're doing your best to be the best parent you can be. Sometimes I feel torn because I'm a working Mom. I worry that I spend too much time away from Olivia. Obviously I wish I could spend everyday with her, she's the coolest chick ever, but in my heart I know that I need to work because I want to give her the best life possible. I do my absolute best every single day to balance working and being a Mom. Sometimes I feel like I'm failing, but I have to remind myself that my best is always enough. Olivia will see me doing everything that I can for her, and one day she will understand that and appreciate me for it.
4. It doesn't matter what your "Mom style" is
I never really understood the whole helicopter mom, tiger mom, free-range mom thing... To be honest, I don't even know what those terms mean... I never really looked too much into it because I don't think I would fit into just one category of parenting. Sometimes I let my kid cry it out...Sometimes I cater to her every grunt and whimper...Sometimes I am up her butt 24/7... Sometimes I let her do her own thing... All of my reactions to Olivia are dependent on so many factors, it just doesn't make sense to try to define it. Why do we have to label things that aren't concrete? Motherhood is so fluid and ever evolving. We change the more we learn. Even if you do label your parenting style, that's fine too! It just doesn't really matter in the scheme of things. No matter what your "style" is, the ultimate end goal is to raise productive human beings. Our end game is the same, no matter the way we choose to get there. Don't put yourself in a box, be the Mom you want to be, whoever that is.
5. Your kids will love you no matter what
Everyone says this, but I feel like you don't really start to believe it until you gain some confidence in your parenting skills. You brings this fresh, new baby home and you're literally crapping your pants because you have no clue what you're doing. You read the blogs and the books, but somehow you still feel the most unprepared that you've ever felt in your entire life. You start caring for this little baby, and you learn so much everyday. You start to mellow out a bit, and start to get into a routine. Before you know it, you're feeding a baby, cleaning the kitchen, and cooking dinner all at the same time. You get the hang of things and you become more confident. That is when you really realize that no matter how bad you think you mess up, your kids will love you no matter what. Kids are so resilient. If you make a mistake, half the time they won't even notice, you'll still be the center of their universe.
I think the overall take away I've learned during my first year of Motherhood is to not take things too seriously. Life is full of ups and downs. Motherhood is adventurous, terrifying, and fun. Taking things as they come, and doing the best you can is all that you can do. There is no "perfect mom". There is no "perfect life", or "perfect kids". Life isn't perfect, and that is what is so great about it. How boring would life be if everything went according to plan, right?
What is the number one thing you learned during your first year of parenting?