Rowan is a little over 10 months old and I find myself feeling like somewhere along the way I started using Google to search for answers about parenting less and asking for advice about everything less. I am sure there will be phases and seasons where I’ll need all of the mommy veteran status advice I can get. But for now…I feel like I have a handle on most everything…most…do not let me fool you, definitely not all. I feel as if I’ve found a somewhat healthy balance between Samantha the woman before motherhood and Samantha the woman that is now a new-ish mom. I’ve found a way to mesh my former self with my new mom self. Here are 10 things I wish I had really known about before entering motherhood (and if someone told me any of the below things – I wasn’t listening!) This blog post is sponsored by Sketchers – where our family is showing off some of their amazingly comfortable air-cooled memory foam insole shoes. I am pretty sure Dusty has said on numerous occasions how it feels like he’s “walking on air” when he wears these shoes. So comfy!
- You will break most or even all of the “rules”
I wish someone would have told me that I’ll likely break a lot of the cardinal rules of motherhood (or those rules that the mommy-world sets) well before Rowan turns 2 months old. Pacifier use while also learning to breastfeed? – check. Introducing a bottle before lactation consultants recommended time frame? – check. Used a nipple shield when I couldn’t get my son to latch?- check. Used the nipple shield for a long time and never weaned him off of it despite recommendations from the lactation consultant? – check. Gave him a bottle when I realized the bottle satisfied him more, despite my own need and wants? – check. Slept with him in my arms the first two weeks being home after the hospital just so my husband and I could get 3 hours of sleep straight? – check. And the list goes on and on and on and onnnn. I’ll be honest – we broke a lot of the “rules” of parenting right off the bat, and as new parents…it worried us. What if we really mess up? What if…what if…what if. The stress of following all of the rules was exhausting and quite frankly – unattainable. Babies and children don’t know a thing about the “rules” – if only they could read the CDC recommendations and lactation consultants’ breast feeding must do’s before they came into the world. The long and short of it is quite simple – there are a lot of rules and recommendations out there. You’re a new parent. Your baby is new to you and this world. Their wants are going to be SO vastly different than many other babies you’ve known or have held or babysat, asking what other moms do is helpful – but it doesn’t mean it will work for your sweet little one. So fill up the coffee pot (and if you don’t drink coffee – God bless you), stock up on comfy clothing, and prepare to be exhausted yet full of love and joy.
2. Set expectations low and be OK running on their time
There have been countless times when a friend and I would (and still) make plans to get together with our babies…and before I know it I’m texting her to say “we’re running about 15 minutes behind…” (10 minutes later) “make that 30 minutes behind…” after a blow out before getting in the car – we’re on our way! Once at the play date…Rowan decides to get cranky before his designated nap time…we try a bottle – nope. We try distraction – nope. We try anything and everything – nope andddd nope. What was supposed to be a play date becomes a quick, “Good bye, so sorry! We’ve got to go. Let’s get together again soon!” I learned quickly that children, especially babies – will dictate your time and plans. Roll with it. (Type A personalities beware) Our new saying “we run on Rowan time.”- most people understand.
3. It will be nothing like when you babysat
I’ve written about it countless times in other past blog posts…but I gave Dusty crap before Rowan was born. I’d rub my belly in mockery and say to him “How are you going to do this? Just wait! I’ve been babysitting for years – you’ve never even changed a diaper!” Low and behold…my foot was placed firmly into my own mouth merely hours after Rowan was born. Dusty was a champ. And it was NOTHING, I repeat…nothing like babysitting. Babysitting does not prepare you for motherhood or parenting – what-so-ever. So teens – heed this warning.
4. Babies cry – A LOT (or at least Rowan did)
I feel like this one goes a little bit with the last one (that it’s nothing like babysitting). What I failed to remember was that when I babysat…I typically babysat for kids that were 6 months+ (maybe 4 months at the youngest). Sure…I had held a newborn before…but what I hadn’t been privy too was the understanding that babies cry…A LOT. They cry when they’re wet, hungry, tired, uncomfortable…and they cry – just to cry. This was a huge eye-opener to me and not one I was ready for…I had visions of a snuggly baby, wrapped tightly in a carrier and placed on my chest, mouth slightly parted, snoring…it was a lie… all lies. Rowan used the Moby Wrap for me ONCE. I repeat. ONCE. Otherwise, he cried and was fussy and wanted to be bounced and walked and swaddled and sung too – and the louder the better. He wanted entertainment and was also pissed his vision wasn’t very good (around the 6-week mark was it got slightly better…everrr so slightly). Long story short – he cried a lot.
5. That my selfishness will shine bright like a diamond
I may or may not have just semi quoted Rhianna right there. But in all seriousness. This was likely one of the harder things for me to adjust to at the beginning. Rowan needed SO much of me at the beginning – and I was so exhausted and tired and I felt nothing like myself. Truly, I needed all of me…but my own needs were last. I found myself wondering if “I would I ever feel normal again?” and “will I ever again be able to fit a shower into my day without feeling rushed?” The overwhelming feeling of becoming a mother and having this new human and life to take care of all while trying to remember and grasp even the slightest bit of what life was like before….was hard. When you’re in the thick of early newborn-baby time…the days are really long and the nights even longer. I’ve never experienced so much selflessness AND selfishness in all of my life. And of course, it was worth it and I am a much better mother and person for having gone through it all.
6. If I thought I didn’t have time before children….think again
I sometimes smirk at the thought of myself complaining about not having enough time in a day to get done what I needed to – before having a baby. That is all.
7. I’d be examining poop and talking about it over dinner with my husband
We quickly realized that Rowan’s poop color, texture, and volume would become our topic of conversation at dinner.
8. That I would love this little human so fiercely that my heart would feel as if it could burst
I knew that I’d love Rowan a lot when he was born. But I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the overwhelming depths that love could reach and be pulled from. It’s like this unspeakable and indescribable love that is unique only to him. It’s not the same love I have for my parents, for my husband or for anyone else.
9. That I would fall deeper in love with my husband after Rowan was born
I have a photo of Dusty holding Rowan near the window in our room at the hospital not too long after he was born. If I close my eyes, I can see the image easily etched in black and white….to this day, that will be the image I’ll forever remember of Dusty becoming a father. It’s the moment I feel deeper in love with my husband, dad-bod and all.
10. That at one point in early motherhood I would feel perilous defeat and eventually find my groove
After going through some really tough months…there came a period of time where all of a sudden Rowan was sleeping through the night, crying less, and I was able to pick up on his needs and cues. He started to feel less foreign to me and I started to feel more confident in my abilities. I was able to sneak in a quick shower most days and on some occasions even blow dry my hair…I remember there finally came that moment when I had my mom-groove figured out…and I may have mumbled to myself….”I got this.”
And to add…all of the mother’s who went before me and said “it gets better.” As annoying as that phrase was during those first few and hard months – you weren’t lying.
This post is sponsored by Sketchers – thank you for supporting the organizations and businesses that I collaborate with!