My daughter recently turned 18 months. Amidst the hustle and bustle of day to day life, I continue to celebrate each time her birth-day comes around. At the 18 month mark, I am reflecting back about how I too am 1 year and a half old at being Mama.
There are times I struggle to remember life before my child but often still I feel like such a newbie. With every new milestone, every tantrum, and doctor visit I am reminded that motherhood is now my life and I’m still learning.
But this is what I know so far:
The space/time continuum changes with motherhood
I don’t know about you but I’m always thinking: “how is it already so late!?” My schedule revolves around my daughter’s sleep, eat, and play times. I’m constantly looking at the clock to see how much time we have left before going on to the next thing. Yet somehow I’m always late and never finish my to-do list. It’s as if time has doubled in speed.
There’s a whole new level of intimacy after spending over 24 hours in a hospital delivery room with my partner. Talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly…. he was there through it all. Bringing baby home was scary for both of us but we’ve surviving so far! Learning to be parents together as a team is not without challenges but the bond is definitely stronger.
Family is absolutely necessary and friends are priceless
Honestly, I don’t know if we would have taken the plunge to have kids if we didn’t have our family close by. The cost of living is so incredibly high in beautiful Sonoma County, if grandmas hadn’t taking on our childcare we might not have been able to afford kids. Plus my child will grow up with many adults that love her unconditionally.
If family helps with the physical demands of parenting, my friends help with the emotional side. They keep me sane. When you can say your child is a dog/cat half-breed because she loves chewing on shoes, eating cat food, and playing with the toilet paper and your friend laughs, then you have found the right support. I need my mama friends who can lend an ear when things are rough and can get excited when I show them the little pebble my toddler gave me as a first present. Plus my child has automatic little humans she can develop friendships with from the get-go.
Advice isn’t welcomed but sharing experience is
Advice can be delivered in such a way that it’s condescending and makes you fell like you are doing motherhood wrong. When the approach is “I can tell you how I handle X because maybe that will help you figure it out” I am more likely to hear it. From there, I choose whether what they did will work for us or not. Gaining knowledge from others helps me feel empowered to be able to find the right approach. And though I say ‘no’ to advice, little gems of wisdom are treasured.
Top of that list is: cherish these moments because they aren’t forever
The first few months after my daughter was born were brutal. The learning curve for new parents is huge. I literally had to take each day at a time. Sometimes it was each minute at a time in order to make it through. We co-slept early on and always had her close. Now, when struggling to cradle a 26 lb sack of potatoes at 2 a.m. not willing to put her back in the crib from fear that she’ll instantly turn into a wild creature, I remind myself to enjoy it. To enjoy holding her close to me, asleep, like I did when she was an infant. In those moments, I hang on to that small part of me that enjoys being her comfort. I know that it won’t be like this forever. I try to stay present in those hard moments taking in the good, the bad, and the ugly.