I am the mom of a one year old. I said that sentence out loud just now, because reading it felt insane. If I’m being honest, for the first few months I would think to my self, “If we can just make it to a year then…” Then he will be walking and communicating… then things will be easier…But I think what I really craved was the…then my baby will be less of a stranger. There is so much time spent planning, rehearsing, decorating, cleaning, singing, and talking to your belly, feeling those crazy movements, staring at ultrasounds, that you think you will immediately know and understand your baby. But learning your baby is an adventure that takes a long time (probably a lifetime). So here’s the beginning of our life time (mine as a mother and my sweet baby’s) and a few things I’ve learned.
As someone who can’t even eat the same meal two days in a row, routines are not really my thing…but babies LOVE routines. And unless you plan on holding them at all times of the day for the first 3 years of their life, you will also learn to love routines. A baby’s world is a little bit overwhelming, something about sensory and development overload and their brain doubling in size the first year. They CRAVE some sort of structure. The first year I really learned to listen to my mommy inclinations. Although it’s completely necessary to go outside the routine lines at times, there will MORE times when the holy spirit/inner voice/mommy senses tell you STOP. SLOW DOWN. STAY HOME. Your baby needs their routine. Be obedient to your mommy senses.
Give extra grace to your spouse. As a woman…who birthed a baby…and was its sole source of nutrition for many months…it was really easy to fall into the mindset of thinking this life change was only happening to me. Your spouse is also going through a HUGE transition, and he showed up a little late to the party aka is having to play catch up for all those months of bonding he missed while baby was in your belly. In some aspects the transition is even harder on them. Some dads will catch up the first day, but I’d argue for most it takes a little longer. Remind yourself they are not the enemy. James has said to me, “Sarah, you HAVE to stop thinking I’m against you,” at times when the stress levels and emotions have been high. There is nothing more valuable than being and staying on each other’s team, because children be CRAY. Your spouse is your lifeline not your roadblock. It’s hard to keep that adult quality time especially in the newborn stage. What worked for us was going on walks almost daily. Of course date night is amazing, but it’s not always achievable in the beginning. Whatever the case may be, make the time to reconnect and realize you both are in this together.
Wake up before your baby.
Yes, I know this is brutal and difficult when all you want is 5 more minutes of sleep. I am notorious for being completely irrational without enough sleep, but waking up before your baby is a game. changer. I have a better version of myself to offer my child and my husband if I’ve accomplished some sort of meaningful task before the day starts. There is something radical and transformative about waking up on your own terms vs. waking up to the sound of your baby.
My last revelation is to go slow. It’s slightly embarrassing how often I wanted the next developmental phase to start, and I am positive when I am 100 years old, (obviously I’m going to live that long) I will look back at these baby moments as probably the happiest time in my life. So sit down and watch your child eat, sleep, play. The world will happen all around you, but the first few years of your child’s life are the most magical thing to ever grace your existence. Don’t miss it.
Our first year has been a blur of breastfeeding, bottles, baby wearing, five little monkeys, moon river singing, long family walks, sleep training, night weaning, diapers, teething, learning, and bonding. And although I feel so much more comfortable in these Mom shoes, I know that I have so much more to learn about my favorite little mess maker. 🖤