It’s been a long year, but it’s also been a short year. I think back on a year ago when Ezra was born and the weeks immediately following feel like a blur. I fold up some of his old clothes to give away and can’t believe he was ever so small. I hold him on me now and still feel his tiny-ness as a newborn. Yet even now his once small hands are still small, his tiny toes still tiny. There’s still a bit of him that’s just as he was when we brought him home, and I cherish those traits because it makes the blurred memories a little clearer. 365 days of a whirlwind, adjusting, learning and growing. The curtain is drawing on a milestone year as my first as a mother comes to a close. But before I take my bow I want to share with you lessons I have learned during my first year of motherhood.
1.Marriage gets harder
Ya, hitting you with the gritty stuff early. We all know that marriage is hard work to begin with, but after having a baby it gets so much more difficult. Spreading yourself between baby, husband and home wears thin; and it is even more difficult to make sure that the husband remains the first priority above the baby. Men are (mostly) self- sufficient so making sure I continue to do things for my husband such as get his clothes ready for work, make him breakfast and dinner are hard knowing that technically he could do it himself. Finding time to be together without the baby, not letting lack of sleep interfere with your attitude and not getting into a marital lull requires a ton of work on both sides.
2. Be present for your spouse
It is so easy to get consumed by all the static and background noise. Life, chores, baby, household duties are sometimes a big interference to being present for my husband. I need constant conviction to not ignore him, get sidetracked or overwhelm myself with everything else.
Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one anotherin love.
2. God is the only constant
This is something I knew before becoming a mom, but when marriage does get hard it becomes evident how God is a fortress and never changes, even though we do. He is the only thing you can truly rely on 100% of the time because no matter how awesome your husband is he will let you down, but God won’t.
3. You cannot afford to be lazy
Everyone says that motherhood is the hardest job for a reason. We do everything, like literally everything and laziness is not what mothers do. I get that sometimes you need down time, time to be still and time to yourself… like having bath with a really big bottle… I mean glass of wine. But laziness seeps in and contaminates your efforts to your family and interferes with your relationship with God. Don’t let it.
4. It is important to spend time with God daily
I know personally how hard this one is. Finding time every day amidst everything else seems daunting and appears more like a checklist item than a natural want. But, the days I do not spend time in the word and prayer are the days I suck the most.
5. Motherhood is sacrifice
There have been so many moments where I have had to put eating on hold to play with Ezra, or spend 30 minutes putting him to bed when I’d rather be watching a show. Motherhood is all about giving up your wants and replacing them with your family’s wants and needs. Sometimes I just want to sit, but Ezra wants to play. It’s a mental battle but when I finally get off my duff to play catch with him and he smiles it is an overwhelming happiness that I could never get from watching ‘Four Weddings’ on TLC.
6. There is room for error
It is okay if you mess up sometimes, like the time Ezra fell off the couch onto the wood floor head first, or when I totally failed at putting my husband before my son. It is a learning process and no one can do this flawlessly, they only make it look that way on social media.
6. Motherhood is adulting x10
Waking up at 5:30 am, having to make doctor’s appointments because now I AM the mom, dealing with insurance companies, making schedules, meal plans, keeping track of appointments and holding on to my sanity. No one adults as hard as we do.
7. Remember that these are ‘the days‘
You know, the early days your parents talk about with fondness, when the only thing in the refrigerator was a gallon of spoiled milk, everything they had was second hand crammed into a tiny apartment. I think of that when I feel miserable, that these are the days that down the road I will tell my kids about and reminisce on them with tenderness.
8. You will feel lonely
The immediate months following Ezra’s birth were extremely lonely. During the day Clay was at work and I was home with the baby, who couldn’t move, and couldn’t talk. On days when Clay worked doubles I would be alone all day and all night with no one to talk to, and that was hard.
9. You will have lots of conversations with yourself
I would literally pretend that I was on a cooking show when I prepared dinner because it was the only conversation I might get that day…
10. You will eventually find your niche
It definitely took me a while to find some other moms with babies but when I did it was a life changer. I had people to spend time with during the day that understand my complaints, struggles and feelings about being a stay at home mom. Find other moms to spend time with during the week, whether it be in a planned group or just friends. You’ll discover that you are all together in your loneliness.
11. Make an effort to maintain friendships
I understand that becoming a mom is hard and there is a lot to adjust to, but make sure to reach out to your friends. They are there to support you, even if they aren’t a parent. Shoot them a text, give ’em a call, send them a meme on Instagram, just let them know you’re still around.
12. You can still have a life
No, you won’t be clubbing every Saturday night anymore, but trust me you won’t want to. But you can still have a life! Are you friends getting together? Take the baby and meet them up! Get a sitter, do your thang. Don’t become a homebody just because you have a child.
13. Don’t adjust your life to your baby
Technically our pediatrician taught us that one but it is tried and true! Let your baby adjust to your life, take them places, be involved with your friends. Clay and I took Ezra EVERYWHERE, and still do. Our life has changed but it didn’t stop.
14. Be in the moment
Put down your phone, watch your baby play, make them laugh and laugh together. You’ll never wish you had spent MORE time on your phone.
15. Take tons of pictures
Alright, now pick up your phone and take pictures, they change so quickly you need to take a photo practically every day to catch it all!
16. Write down special moments
I love writing down special moments that I share with Ezra in detail. Even simple thing like when I took him to the pool and we played with his hat in the water are memories I want to make sure I never forget.
17. Make each day special
It doesn’t need to be extravagant, just something simple like making him laugh at least once a day is a way to make each day special.
18. Be organized
Having an agenda book, calendar and notebook help me to keep it together. I know when all our appointments are and what times, when the birthday parties, weddings and other events are taking place. It is easy to forget things and writing each one down saves you later.
19. Take hand me downs
I was thankful to have received A TON of hand me downs. I don’t think I have bought Ezra any clothes at all yet which has saved us a pretty penny.
20. Sell/ donate clothes
Once you are done with clothes and don’t want to pack them away in storage, sell them or donate them! You either get money for your clothes or get to give them to a friend and help save them money. A win- win situation!
21. There are can-do and can’t do days
Some days are better than others, and some days are incredibly worse. Don’t expect each day to be the same.
22. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
For the can’t do days reach out to someone for help! You are not super mom, they don’t exist, everyone has a breaking point and there is absolutely NO SHAME in asking someone to come to your aid. Need a little time to yourself? Ask a friend to come sit with the baby so you can go in your bedroom, curl up on your bed and eat chocolate.
23. It is okay to have meltdowns
I remember one day when Ezra was only a couple months old I couldn’t get him to stop crying. It seemed like it went on forever and I had to put him in his crib while I walked outside for a minute to sob. Since then I have had multiple meltdowns and I’m okay with it. Crying totally helps release all that frustration and disappointment. Drain it, then come back and try again.
24. Husbands are not mind readers
This becomes even more evident after children, but there have been many arguments that have stemmed from me wanting something and not vocalizing it. I know now not to expect Clay to know what I want from him but rather try to vocalize it directly, instead of relying on mental telepathy (although it does work sometimes).
25. Don’t feel guilty about pampering yourself
I tend to feel guilty when I ask Clay if I can sleep in the next day and have him wake up with Ezra, and then get mad at myself for feeling guilty. It is okay to let yourself be pampered a little here and there. We do a lot for our families and bend over backwards to pamper them, we deserve a little bit in return.
26. We do a lot, but sometimes have little to show for it
There are days I spend cleaning, washing laundry, folding laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, cooking on top of entertaining Ezra. Yet, after all my efforts at the end of the day the place still looks like a disaster and I feel like I worked my tail off with nothing to show for it.
27. It is okay to miss your old life
Sure, we all miss the effortless and carefree selves we once were, but don’t allow yourself to dwell on it too much. Living in the past might eventually make you resentful of the now.
28. Motherhood can draw you closer to God
I have grown so much in my relationship with Christ throughout the last year and have called on him more times than I can count. In moments of pain, frustration, sadness or angst, he is there to be with me.
29. Be patient
Patience with your spouse and with your child is so important. Knowing when to speak and when to listen, understanding that the situation is not just about you and taking everything into account is key.
30. The person you were a year ago is a totally different person than you are now.
I have changed drastically over the last year, but I love who I am now so much more. I am stronger in my faith, more patient and less self reliant. If this is only one year of motherhood I am looking forward to how I will change throughout the next.
There are way more than 30 pieces of wisdom I could give you that I learned in my first year of motherhood, but we ain’t got time for that. It has been quite a year, and I cannot even believe it is almost over. Everything I have done, everything I have learned I plan to take with me into year 2 to better equip me for the unknown that lies before. A new year, a new road, and new things to discover, new trials and errors and new changes. But one thing I can count on to be my constant is the one thing that will never change, the help of God to get me through, no matter the tears, the meltdowns and disappointments. He will be there at my side to carry me through. Cheers to year 2!