MY FIRST YEAR AS A MAMA
Updated: Aug 10, 2018
As I put the finishing touches on the cake, hang all the decorations, and blow up balloons for Franks first birthday party, it got me thinking.
My baby is turning one tomorrow, I am officially a mother of a toddler. He is a walking, talking, singing, dancing little whirlwind, who has filled my world with more love than I ever could have imagined. The last year of my life has been the best and (at times!) the worst… the slowest and the fastest, the scariest and the funniest… the hardest and the easiest.
Just to clarify… his first birthday party (which he won’t even remember) is really more for me. Not only is it a celebration of my gorgeous little boys first year… it is a celebration of our survival! We did it. We made it through the last 12 months, we kept him alive, fed, and thriving… despite the fact I felt like I literally had no clue what I was doing 90% of the time.
*disclaimer… I am not saying that I now feel like I totally have my shit together, or that I know what I’m doing, but I feel a lot more confident and sure of myself than I did 12 months ago.
So here are a few of the things I’ve learnt in my first year as a mum (and continue to learn every day!)
1 – Everything is a phase, it will pass.
Every mum will tell you this one
Broken sleep, teething, hunger strikes (one day spaghetti bolognaise was his favourite, the next day he spat it in his lap) all of a sudden hating being in his car seat/ pram, each developmental leap that can bring out his inner monster. And that’s just to name a few.
When you are in it, it feels like it’s never going to end. That this is it, your life, forever. But things will get better, normal service will resume, and your happy smiley little bubba will be happy and smiley again. Until the next phase of course.
There will be good and bad times and nothing lasts forever.
When you are in one of those phases, and questioning all your life choices (happened to me on more than one occasion!) I found having a really good rant to my mum was the best medicine. That, and getting her to take Frank for me for a couple of hours so I could wash my hair/ sit and have a cuppa/ lay on the bed and stare into space. It really helps get perspective when you can get 5 minutes to just think, and remind yourself that it will all be better is a few days or so.
2 - You will never get tired of looking at their little face, hearing them laugh, and watching them grow.
Honestly, just looking at Frank never gets old. Every time I wake in the night, the first thing I do is look at the camera monitor, just to see him sleeping… knees tucked under and bum up in the air. He is so perfect to me in every way.
His infectious laugh makes everything better. I’m not going to lie, I will do ANYTHING for a Frank giggle, it’s the most beautiful sound to me in the world. And once I find something that makes him laugh, I will do it over and over and over again, just to hear those belly laughs.
Every day they do something new… whether it’s smiling, clapping, standing, walking, and every time they do it, it’s amazing. Pretty much every month I’ve wished I could freeze time, and just keep Frank at that stage forever, and then he does something else new, and I wish for time to freeze all over again. This last couple of months has been my favourite so far, hearing him starting to talk, learning to walk, seeing his gorgeous little personality developing. I could just eat him up!
3 - You will second guess EVERYTHING.
I’ve written about this before in this post.
Before I became I mum, I was quite a confident, self-assured person. I had worked hard to be successful in a very male dominant working environment and built a career, I was decisive, incredibly organised, I knew what I wanted and how to get it – and I wasn’t afraid to go after it.
Throw in a tiny, mewing, squish of a human and all of that went out of the window.
I started second guessing myself constantly.
Was I giving him enough milk, should I try and pump more breast milk, had I done the right thing introducing formula to top his feeds up, am I giving him the right foods, have I got him in the right routine, am I teaching him enough, am I mollycoddling him too much, am I reading to him enough...????
Even now I still feel overwhelmed and question myself constantly, even if my mum intuition is telling me I am absolutely doing the right thing, it takes me a good half hour longer of pondering, weighing up the pro’s and cons, and most likely googling/ asking friends/ family for advise, before I go ahead and do what I was planning to do in the first place.
4 - Mum Guilt.
Another one that I spoke about in my previous post.
I have spent a lot of the last year feeling guilty as hell. Whether it was for wanting 5 minutes peace, wishing I could go to the toilet on my own, or that awful feeling when you drop them off at nursery and they cry for the first time.
I have felt guilty about wanting to go back to work, but you know what, I love my job. And I will work really hard to give frank the best life I can give him, so why should I feel guilty about that?!
My aim for the future is to try and give myself a bit of a break, and not feel so guilty about every little thing.
5 - My body probably won’t ever be the same again.
But you know what – I grew an actual human. I’m not 25 anymore. And that is something I am starting to come to terms with.
I gave my body some time to recover, and in that time, it all went to shit! I had a muffin top, I was wobbling all over and I felt crap (probably something to do with the full easter eggs I had been scoffing on a nightly basis).
I have worked really, REALLY hard over the last couple of months to rectify that, and I am finally starting to feel more comfortable in the skin I’m in. Sure I don’t have a six pack, I’ll probably never have one again, but growing a person is the best thing I’ve ever done, and it’s worth a few wobbly bits here and there.
6 - Cherish the time you have.
This first year has passed in a blur, and I’ve been guilty at times of wishing I could speed things up so it got “easier” but now I wish I could have hit pause… because it’s gone so fast and I’ll never get that time with my baby back again.
But it’s been worth it. I have been really lucky that my situation allowed me to take the full year off work to spend with Frank, and we have made the most amazing memories.
We have had so many lovely moments, especially the times when it’s been just us two… when he’s fallen asleep on me, when we eat breakfast together every morning and he hides his toast from me, when he looks at me putting my glasses on and collapses in fits of giggles… these are all moments that will live in my heart forever.
So there we have it, my first year as a mum. It has been incredible.
I can’t wait to celebrate my little boys first birthday on Friday, and at his party on Saturday I will be raising a glass to… me.
Me, my husband, and all the other mamas out there that survived their first year as well.