Parenting, Self Care

What I’ve Learned in my First Year of Being a Mom

8 Lessons I Learned in my First Year As a Mom

 

We celebrated M’s birthday on Saturday and oh my goodness, I have been a mom for 1 whole year! Have you heard that quote about mom life? It goes something like “the days are long but the years are short.” I don’t think I could describe parenting any other way. There are days that feel they as though they are just dragging, or stages that you think will never end. But then one day you look back at the last year and it is just a giant blur, and that it went by so fast.

Before I became a mom I thought motherhood would look something like this: me 100% in love with the whole mother thing, I would never want to be away from my child. I would be his number one educator and advocate, and we would never be bored, etc. But now that I am a mom, I laugh at my idealistic mom views because I have learned so much in the first year of being a mom, that honestly, I had no idea about.

What I’ve Learn in my First Year of Being a Mom: 

Nothing prepares you for the lack of sleep: I have always loved sleep. I mean REALLY loved sleep. When I was in high school I didn’t go out or stay up super late, I had a self-imposed bedtime of 8:30 to 9:00 every night! My mom laughs and says she has no ideaWhat I learned in my first year as a mom how I needed so much sleep because even on the weekends I would sleep in until 10 am. So we are talking 12 to 13 hours of sleep a night! In college, I would rather put myself to bed early and wake up early than stay up late to cram for a test or to finish a project. Then I became a mom and the newborn stage is rough! You are awake every 2 hours in the beginning. I seriously have no idea how we made it through that early stage. I know it caused a lot of little arguments and snapping fest between me and my husband because we were so tired. And being tired makes you think irrationally, super reactionary, and all around just not a very happy person. But even if you were a person who stayed up late in high school and college. Or you are a person who doesn’t need 12 to 13 hours of sleep every night, you too will be sucked into the lack of sleep bubble of a newborn. And there is nothing you can do to prepare for it. You just have to ride the waves.

You cannot do everything: As a mom, whether you stay home or work outside of the What I've Learned in my First Year of being a momhome, cannot do everything. Sure women have perfected the art of multitasking, but we still can’t get everything done all day every day. I remember a time before M was born when I thought I was busy. Now, I would kill to be that “busy”. I had so much time. I could clean the house, go grocery shopping, and make dinner, make my husband’s lunches, and sit and relax with my husband with a nice glass of wine. Now I am lucky if I run a vacuum and cook dinner.

When I first started my SAHM life I would write to-do lists with 10 or 15 things to try to cross off in the day. Then I quickly realized that just made me stressed because I could only cross off 2 or 3 things a day. I have learned that since I can’t do everything I need to let a few things go, spend money or time on things that help with my sanity, and focus on the important things. For example, we own a Roomba, we pay for cleaners twice a month, I use the Fred Meyer Clicklist for groceries, I use the things I can to keep the house running smoothly without having to lose my mind.

What I am learned my first year as a momYou are going to lose some friends: I knew this was going to happen. Relationships take work, time, and connection to keep them alive.  And as much as I thought I wasn’t going to lose any of my friendships and how important those relationships are, some days there just isn’t enough time in the day to foster and keep those relationships alive. You will have less time to talk about what is important to them because you are over here trying to keep a tiny human, who is constantly keeping you in a state of sleep deprivation, alive. Sometimes all I can give my husband is scraps of time and attention, and that is the most important relationship to me. So imagine how hard it is to keep friendships alive when there is just nothing left to give. It is so sad to lose friends because motherhood, especially in the early years, can be extremely isolating.

Perfect is the killer of joy: Hello, my name is Echo and I am a perfectionist. They say admitting you have a problem is half the battle, right? I am not sure because it is a daily struggle. Again, I am brought back to my pre-baby days when I thought the whole motherhood things was rainbows, hearts, and unicorns. I was a preschool teacher for most of my adult life, so far, surely I can be a perfect mom, I can have the perfect house, I can teach my son to be perfect. But fast forward to now and I see that perfect is the killer of joy.

What I learned my first year of being a momI find myself worrying about how clean my house is, how Instagram worthy my dinner is. Then I take a step back and realize I didn’t spend any time with M. I’m so worried about being perfect that I am missing out on the present moment with the one person who literally could care less whether the house is clean or not. Maybe instead of trying to be perfect all the time, which frankly is exhausting, I should focus on the simple things. Is there food on the table? Is M happy? Am I happy? And let the other things just fall by the wayside. I want to enjoy every moment with my family because if this year has taught me nothing else, it is that time isn’t slowing down for anyone.

You can’t make people take your advice: This one drives me crazy! I have always been a good listener and I try to be really understanding when friends bring me their problems. But I am also a solver… meaning if you bring me a problem I am going to try toWhat I've learned from my first year as a mom fix it for you or at least offer a suggestion to help you. Now that I have a whole year of parenting under my belt if you tell me things like “I can’t get my child to eat their veggies”,  “my baby is always cranky”, “my baby doesn’t sleep well during the day” I am going to tell you how to fix these things. “Oh you should follow Feeding Littles on Instagram, they have taught me so much about how to feed M and how to keep him on a great feeding journey.” “Your baby is always cranky, are they on a schedule? Do you listen and look for sleepy and hungry cues? Do you listen to what your baby is telling you?” “You baby isn’t a good sleeper, do you honor their naptimes?”

I literally go crazy when I offer advice and see the person the next day, week, month etc doing exactly the opposite of what I said to do. Now I understand that everyone is their own person and they have to do what is best for them and their family. But I also know that if they would JUST DO IT MY WAY their lives would be so much better. But in all seriousness, I really do understand that what works for me and my family does not work for other people. It is just so hard to see other people struggling and knowing you want to fix it but being powerless to do that. Which brings me to my next lesson.

Get Your Husband Involved: Your husband is your partner and he is the one who knows you the best and can lift you up when your down. That is why you picked them, right? I could go on and on about his one but really you should go visit Thinkbaby.org and read their amazing post A Letter to Husbands & Fathers: Why We Can’t do it Without You. 

There will always be judgment: There will always be judgment from others. We live in a society where everyone is always being judged, even if you aren’t a parent you are judging people on what they are wearing, how they are behaving, what they’re eating, What I've Learned in my first year as a mometc. We are a very judgemental society. But the part that gets me is the judgment of others on the way I or anyone else parents. Everyone parents according to how they were raised, what their core values are, and they parent according to what works for their family.

For my family, we eat dinner at the table every single night, no tv, no phones, just good old fashion conversations at the table. We don’t watch tv with M in the room, and we barely let him watch any tv at all. We put M to bed at 7 pm every night. This is what works for us, but that doesn’t mean it is what works for others. I have friends who don’t put their kids to bed until 9 pm every night. In my head, I think that is CRAZY, but it is what works for them. By having a later bedtime the kids to get spend more time with their dad who they don’t get to see all day. But I know judgment still happens, and it comes from everyone, aunts, uncles, in-laws, parents, friends, etc. I have learned that if the judgment is going to happen anyway, regardless of what I do, I am going to do what works best for my family. And that might look different from your family or their family, and that’s ok.

Not everyone loves parenthood: I was watching the Mom Conference that happensWhat I learned in my first year of being a mom every October and I was so surprised by the number of speakers who shared that they don’t just love parenthood. This isn’t to say they don’t love their children, it’s more that they don’t love all the aspects of parenthood. I mean, after all, it isn’t all hearts, unicorns, and rainbows. It is hard work. For me I do love most parts of parenthood, but I know it’s hard and there are days I just want to phone it in. On days that I don’t love everything about parenthood, I have to remind myself that it is ok. I am still a good mom and I show up and love my little nugget and help him grow bigger, stronger, and smarter. But that doesn’t mean I have to love everything about my day, it is hard, it’s easy to get burnt out, and I’ve said it before, parenthood can be very isolating. I try to focus on the things I do love about parenthood and let the rest fall by the wayside.

This too shall pass:  I remember when M was a newborn I would sit and google What I've Learned From My First Year Of Being A Momeverything! When will he sleep through the night? How to reduce colic symptoms? How to feed a baby when you have an oversupply? Etc. And I remember there were a few people who offered suggestions that actually helped, but a lot of people offered the advice of “this too shall pass.” Meaning this stage will not last forever. I would sit there and roll my eyes because gosh dang it, it feels like it does last forever. But then the stage would pass and we would move onto the next stage. Nothing is permanent, M will sleep great one day and horrible the next day. The key is to remind yourself that this too shall pass and take everything with a grain of salt.

 

Everyone’s parenting journey is different and we all learn and experience it differently. What have you learned on your parenting journey?

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44 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned in my First Year of Being a Mom”

  1. You summed up the first year of parenthood really well. I was super anxious and suffered from depression my first year, and honestly, I didn’t even know it. I just thought I was going through all the motions and I had to keep going. I was so nervous about what other people thought. (Which was a waste.) I also had a lot of mom guilt the first year (I’m in year 4 now) and it hasn’t entirely gone away, but I do know that I have to fill my own cup in order to fill up others. I’d also add that the first year of parenting really puts into perspective what’s important and if you have goals or want to achieve something, that you do find the light… but it’s very hard to find the balance. Love your post! (saw you on the grow your blog group) – Sarah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, thank you so much! I haven’t suffered from depression, but postpartum anxiety and I are best friends. And you are so right about parenting putting things into perspective. I now see that my relationship with my husband and creating a healthy, happy, contributing member of society is my number one. And making achievable goals is so important for your sanity. I started blogging as a way to not lose my mind and I’ve found that I really enjoy it and it helps me take a little time for myself. Thank you so much for your sweet comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Having a new baby definitely changes your life. Big adjustments have to be made and as you said you may lose some friend because of your lack of availability. But selflessly giving up time for this little one brings greater currency to your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a tiring journey, but one that is DEFINITELY worth it! Congratulations on making it through your first year! I’m sure you’ll be revisiting these thoughts at year 2. And 3. And 4! Lol. Thanks for sharing what we’re all thinking 🙂

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  4. I’m not a mom yet, but I loved reading about what you’ve learned so far! I am totally a person who loves her sleep as well (10-12 hours is my “fully rested” happy place), so I am already worried about what I’ll do when we have kids, haha!

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  5. Mine are all teens now and I can’t figure out where the time has gone! I still don’t sleep as much as before children. I had undiagnosed Hashimotos when they were little and the lack of sleep was certainly hard on me.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorta. Lol It’s kind of like controlling type 1 DM (but I don’t have to check my sugar all the time), you can’t ever really get away from the doctor long. In fact I have to call tomorrow and schedule a check up and make sure my numbers are good.

        I no longer feel like frozen maple syrup trying to run down a tree though. 😂🤣

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  6. That pretty much sums up everything I’ve learned from being a mom. And as for time flying by. wait til their 16 and asking to drive. Oh boy! That’s a small downside though because I’ve actually really enjoyed watching my boys grow into these intelligent, thoughtful, empathetic young men. Parenthood is the most challenging but best journey I’ve ever been on:)

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  7. I wish I could say the first year is the craziest but having 2 little ones now (Which I have learned different thing from each every year). Judgment is strong in many and as for advice, there are many ways to fix one simple problem. Congrats on making through the first year here is to many more adventures!

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  8. first time mommy here and its almost 3 months from now i’ll be celebrating the same yay! I cant wait! its a journey yet its so fulfilling especially when I see my baby growing right in my very eyes and my disciplines!

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  9. This is so interesting. I really wonder what it’s going to be like for me when I have my own kids because I’m so much of a perfectionist. I hope I can learn to relax a bit with the perfectionism thing though!

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  10. I will be a first time mom in August and my husband and I are very excited but also nervous as we have a lot to learn! I also just started an AVON business so I am able to work from home and be with my little one more. I look forward to all the milestones, adventures and everything in between!

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  11. Such a good summary. I learned that even when you get a good sleeper nothing prepares you for the exhaustion of being a working mum and your brain working overtime 14 hours a day!
    That and the fact that who I want to be as a parent changes every day as my little one grows everyday.

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  12. Loved reading your blog. This is my first year being a mom. It is refreshing to read this! Plus encouraging. I started my first blog ever today. I want to write about my life as a momma now too. Thanks again for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You have SO many good points! I love your sense of humor, too; I nearly choked at things like ‘googling everything’ in terms of their health symptoms. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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