Thursday, January 9, 2014

Eight Things I Learned About Being a Mom Last Year

Lizzie has reached a year and a half which means that I am now qualified to impart all the knowledge about being a Mommy that I learned over the past eighteen months. Here are eight things I've learned: 

  • There will be poop and pee everywhere. Sure, everyone knows that you have to change a lot of diapers, but the excrement does not decide to limit itself only to the diapers. There have been a lot of slips, little slips, everyday as well as some notable big ones. Besides Poo-pocalypse, the most memorable infraction is the day we brought Lizzie home from the hospital. As my husband went to change my 8 lb, 11 oz bundle of joy she pooped. Explosively. The spray hit Andrew, the wall behind him, the wall next to him, the cute new curtains, her bookshelf, and incredibly, even the far wall on the opposite side of the room. Welcome to parenthood.
  • If you have a dog or cat, dear God, please make sure it is current on all its vaccinations and monthly preventatives. As hard as you try to prevent it from happening, your dog will lick your child, and your child will lick your dog. Sometimes the tongues touch. 
  • Sometimes, you will make people uncomfortable. Maybe it's by breastfeeding in public. Maybe your baby is in the sling all the time or is naked more than the normal one year old. If someone is uncomfortable, it's their problem. Don't get mad at them unless they try to make it your problem. (aka unsolicited advice or telling you what to do) Sometimes they can't help it. Heck, I still get a little sheepish if someone whips a boob out in front of me and I fully support a woman's right to breastfeed wherever the hell she wants. 
  • Breastfeeding is not a competitive sport. It doesn't matter if you do it for a couple months or well into toddler-hood. If you can make it through the first painful, exhausting weeks, you're a winner as far as I'm concerned. You're smart enough to have given your baby the best base possible to grow from. Be supportive of other moms, it's hard work, it's painful, and no one has the same obstacles to overcome. And don't judge non-breastfeeders either. They may (or may not) have some serious reasons for not breastfeeding, but it doesn't do anything to help the breastfeeding cause to act like a bunch of snobs. 
  • Parenting books can actually be helpful. As an English major, I naturally turn to books whenever I have a question about anything. I bought What to Expect When You're Expecting right away, and while it was okay, it definitely didn't give me any basis for the type of parent I wanted to be. Then I bought The Baby Book by Dr. Sears, and it was probably the best parenting decision I have made. Though I don't agree with everything in the book, attachment parenting has become a way of life in our household. I bought other books that featured other parenting styles as well, but attachment parenting far and away was the right fit for our family and gave me a lot more confidence before baby arrived than anything else did. I encourage you to read several different types of parenting books to help you find out what type of parent you want to be.
  • You don't have to raise your children how you were raised.Of course you turned out all right, but that doesn't automatically mean that you have to do everything your parents did. Or that they were perfect. (You won't be either.) I, for example, ignored my mom's suggestion that I try the cry-it-out approach with Lizzie to get her to sleep through the night at 6 weeks; it didn't mesh with my parenting style. What we eventually accomplished took a lot longer than letting her scream and bawl herself to sleep, but I think we have a much closer bond because of it. Do what is right for your family, not what your parents' think is right.
  • Eventually, your sweet little angel will become a monster. Maybe they're tired, maybe hungry, or maybe they just really, really, want to rip the bow off the other kid's head. Every kid has tantrums. Little humans have big emotions they haven't learned to control yet. Help your monster! The tantrum will pass.
  • Some days you won't get anything done. It can be a struggle to get dinner prepared and every once in a while you will forget to shower. For no apparent reason, your baby will only want to snuggle you, but just remember those are the best days, and they go so quickly. 

2 comments:

  1. I loved this post! Honesty and humor are fantastic when it comes to parenting. And I also love the fact that you're a Wisconsin native!

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