Thursday, February 11

My one year as MOM.........

Let me start by saying I LOVE BEING A MOM!! It is something I have dreamed of since I was a little girl. And guess what? It's been even better than I could have ever imagined in my wildest dreams. I LOVE IT. No doubt about it!!
That being said, 4 years of college, 6 years of teaching, 4.5 years of marriage..........nothing compares to the learning curve I experienced this year! Navigating the first year of motherhood was by far the most challenging thing I have experienced! whew. getting to the one year mark was kind of like getting a breath of fresh air. Everything seems so much easier now! NOT that I
have mastered motherhood or that there aren't PLENTY of challenges to navigate in the next, oh, 20+ years, but for me, I feel like I can at least peek at them after making it thru year #1.

Here is my run-down of year #1...................

I've learned that I can:
survive childbirth, still function after 4 hours of sleep (for a limited time), type one-handed, cook with someone wrapped around my leg, *count anything as exercise*, lug around 27 lbs quite easily, have more fun than I thought possible staying home, ask my hubby to takeover when needed, accept a favor when offered, be never too busy to stop and play, be heartbroken over an abused or neglected child in a whole new way, multi-task more than I thought possible, work a 12-hour work day [every day], and love my job more than I ever dreamed!

Best advice I was given:

1} the many friends who introduced me to Babywise. I wish I could shout from the rooftops how wonderful it is to have a baby on a schedule!! This has single-handedly been the best. resource. ever. in navigating the first year. Graham has such a good disposition and while I would LIKE to say he just takes after his mother :), I know the secret (he is on a beautiful schedule and THRIVES on his routine). But to the many who have said, "I tried that and it didn't work...." let me share a secret: sometimes you have to work really, really, really, hard. Some friends told me their babies "fell into a easy routine", Graham decided that wasn't the way for him. He prefered to go about it the hard way. So we had to work really, really, really, hard. So, while it may have been nice the other way, I am thankful. Because I can tell other moms who might struggle with this. I've been there. You can do it!

2} "parenting is not a competitive sport". (Parenting Mag) I love this! Everywhere I go, I can find moms that are more creative than me, smarter than me, thriftier than me, the list could go on....and on.... I must stay focused on doing what is best for me & my family and not worry about those "jones'!"

3} What you want your children to do in public, you must train them to do in private. (the Hiltons & Ormistons) My best example so far is that I have places in my house that Graham is not allowed to touch/get into. While it would be easiest to kid-proof everything, I want to train him at home that there are things that are off-limits sometimes, and I am hoping as he gets older, that will sink in. :) We will also try to apply as he gets older to training him at home to sit through worship times, or grocery trips, sharing, etc....

Favorite moments:

1} of course, seeing his face for the first time! I can remember it like it was yesterday!

2} first smiles

3}GETTING TO THE 12-HOUR SLEEP!!! (happened at 15 weeks for us)

4} seeing him express joy in something

5}goofy expressions

6} when he started voluntarily snuggling

7}belly laughs [the best baby thing ever!!]

8} seeing him giggle & giggle with his daddy

9} doing family activities. I love hanging out and going to do things with the 3 of us!

Biggest Stressers:
no schedule at 2 weeks, or 4 weeks.....5 weeks we had a glimmer of hope and it finally came together! He had cried a LOT of the time those first few weeks, as soon as we were able to hit a solid schedule, he stopped crying. It was wonderful. :) Another thing I learned about the schedule is that it fluctuates a LOT throughout that first year! Every 1-2 months you might be adapting a different routine, but the concept stays the same, so as long as you stick to it, it's not too bad!

Food! For some reason, food has been the single. most. stressing. thing. of our year.
It was not my plan to stop nursing at 6 months, no way.... I was settled in for the year! But God had a different plan in mind and I had to come to accept that doing the best thing for my baby meant that he was getting adequate nutrition. And whether that was from me or from formula, it was okay. He was still a happy, healthy child and.........well, it was OKAY!
I also had a lot of stress as he began to eat solids on how much to give him, if he was getting enough, or too much........well, obviously he has never been under-nourished at any point of his life. :)

The thing I miss from pre-motherhood:

Running. yes, probably sounds weird, but I really do miss it. And yes, I do have a jogging stroller. have you tried to run pushing a 10 lb. stroller? with a 20+lb. baby in it? yeah, that's why I no longer run.

craziest thing to navigate:
lack of communication. most of the first year you are left to guess what the issue is! As a first-time mom, it sometimes would take a couple of DAYS to figure out OH, he's....teething or growing or needs an extra feeding or whatever it may be. It gets SO much easier as they start to be able to communicate their needs!

Moment of truth: I used to think people who used baby sign language were just showing off. yeah, gasp. Getting to the moment where Graham learned a few signs and was actually COMMUNICATING in a tangible way. Well, let's just say, I am now a believer.

Most unexpected:
cloth diapers no longer terrify me. In fact, I love them!

pre-child - I could sleep thru a hurricane and Andrew would wake at the sound of one raindrop. Now, he can sleep thru G crying out! And I pop awake up at the slightest little peep.

Biggest adjustment:

viewing my work at home as my "job". Since we both worked the first 4 years of our marriage, we got pretty used to sharing the tasks and workload at home. This year, I had to re-adjust my thinking to viewing our whole home as my primary responsibility. Not that Andrew doesn't help out, but it did take a while for me refocus my thinking on doing whatever I could to free him from "his chores".
Funniest daddy moment:

You know how it takes 20 minutes (at least) to get everything together to actually leave the house? One day, Andrew announced he was going to Home Depot. I said, "take Graham with you". He slung him over his shoulder, and out the door they went. I was a little in shock. He didn't have a diaper bag. a spit-cloth. a passy. a toy. shoes. the other 101 essentials. gasp, gasp, gasp. Well, guess what? They came home just fine and had the BEST time! Gotta love it daddy-style. :)

[my advice to] Take time for:

Reading God's word. It can be VERY difficult to be consistent (and give yourself lots of grace!), but this is the one thing that will bring complete peace to your soul. (I didn't say your DAY, but your soul) :)

Time alone with my hubby (and after 7pm when they're in bed, don't always count!). Even though I still find it hard to leave Graham and miss him when we leave him, it's still important to make those times away. This is not only good for you as a couple, but I think it's a good learning experience for baby too.

Take some mom time each week. It's usually not a massage or anything fancy (I wish!), in fact, it's usually grocery shopping or other errands, but one of the best things that Andrew does each week is give me an hour or two out of the house by myself. I highly recommend this to all moms as I find it very refreshing.

Favorite routines:

Andrew & I checking on our sweet baby sleeping each night before we go to bed.

Bringing him in our bed on weekend mornings for a little family snuggling.

To new moms, I would suggest:

Prov. 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Ask lots of questions & advice!

No matter what you do, your baby will survive and everything will be ok. :)


Thanks to anyone who managed through this long [pictureless] post! It's mostly for my sake, so I don't forget "the good ole' days"!

Thanks to all those who took my phone calls and emails. (I am sure there will be more in the future!)


And so ends the first year. Now on to navigating year #2!!!!!!


Jessica Gardner said...

Baby wise was good for us too - and I agree it takes work work work, but so worth it in the end.
Richard and I check on Carson every night before we got ot bed too. We just love to see him sleeping like that :-)
Food was also the hardest thing for me this year.

Anonymous said...

Kelly, this was enjoyable and profitable to read--I hope someday I will be able to put some of these things into practice. It is good to know that its not always easy.

JordanandSue said...

Great post- you'll be so glad you recorded all of this, and it's great to read! I'm still trying to picture you pushing G in a jogging stroller at breakneck speed :)

Tim, Kristen & Megan said...

That was an enjoyable post to read. I agree that having a baby on a schedule makes it so much easier. (Karis helped me out SO much in that area as she did Baby Wise). I am with you and Jessica too, we love looking at Megan before we go to bed at night. She sleeps in the craziest positions! Being a mother is the BEST thing!

skB said...

I really appreciated this post Kelly and I can echo so many of your statements.

For me, BabyWise has been the best thing ever. It's the gift that keeps on I'm reading through their pre-toddler and toddler books as well. How do people live life without a schedule? It's beyond me. It's simplified our life so very much and I think Graeme is the better for it!

I also so agree with you about the communicating with your spouse, finding time with them, and finding time for yourself. Although our "together time" looks different now [like chatting for 15 minutes on the couch at night vs. going out for dinner and a movie;-)], it's still together time and it's still important.

I love that Steve lets me slip out at night whenever I need to. Last night I left for a Target run and a Starbuck's run;-) I always feel so refreshed....even if it's just leaving for 45 minutes for a chai and bottle shopping at Target! ;-)

Last, we check on G before we go to bed too--love seeing that sweet little face one more time before going to bed for the night.

[I have written a book, sorry!]

taralynn819 said...

I love this - the idea, the thoughtful answers...and loads of advice to someone about to jump feet first into that first year!

Andy and Davina said...

well written, kelly...this is my 3rd time around and i still relate with so much of that!

the j. crew said...

you are an awesome mom kelly!

Mark and Anne Brumbaugh said...

great collection of thoughts for you to look back on!
Keep training #1 intensely...his obedience will be such a wonderful example to any future siblings!
This coming year will hold so many wonderful things for you.

and yes, I have run while pushing 50lbs of toddler (who were yelling...faster, mommy, faster!)PLUS 15 lbs of double stroller PLUS being pregnant which equals training that made even the tubing hill seem simple:):) I guess coach Herron had no idea what he was truly preparing me for!!