Now that I’ve been a parent for 2.5 months, I’ve figured a lot of things out: I can swaddle like a champ; I can eat and nurse a baby at the same time; and I take a cat nap anytime or anywhere. But the biggest lessons I’ve learned have to do with pride, perfectionism and productivity. In an attempt to be totally candid, here’s what I’ve realized since becoming a mom:
I expected my baby to be perfect: You see, I had this totally easy pregnancy and delivery so I just figured my newborn would be really easy too. Truth be told: she’s not always that easy. In fact, she’s had some issues with reflux which has at times made her difficult. Like, she’s screaming her head off even though we’ve read all the parenting books and we think we’re doing everything “right.” After a few weeks of mounting frustration I came to a big ah-ha moment: I was expecting perfection from an infant, and if I was already expecting perfection I was in for a long journey ahead. Babies aren’t perfect. Neither are toddlers, children, teens or adults. The sooner I let go of specific and unreasonable expectations for her, the better our journey together will be.
I’ve got pride issues: When people ask how we’re doing, and how she’s doing, I want to answer- “It’s perfectly wonderful!” but I can’t because the truth is that it’s hard sometimes. And yet I feel like if I admit that it’s hard, then people will think I’m a bad mom. So, I’m stuck in this conundrum- do I pretend like parenting is always easy? Or do I honestly admit when it’s not? And, am I prepared for all the opinions and advice I’ll receive when I do share the tough stuff. (“Oh, have you tried holding her this way, or talking to her this way, or using this product?”…)
I need to shift my idea of productivity: I’m a person who never really stops moving. I never think my house is clean enough. There are always ways I could be making money. The number of home projects on my list are only growing. I volunteer for committees and events that I really shouldn’t volunteer for. Needless to say- being at home with Anna is busy. And yet it’s so hard to get done what I used to be able to get done. I’ve had “Buy stamps” on my to-do list for the last four weeks. And yes, if you’re wondering why you haven’t received a baby birth announcement or thank you card from me yet, that’s probably why. Truth be told- I’m getting a lot done around here…it just never seems like enough. As Anna grows, I bet this will be a continual learning process.
I’d love to hear from other moms- what were your big AH-HA moments during the first few months?