I can’t help but reflect back to before Hudson was born. I had a million tidbits of parenting advice and recommendations coming at me ALL the time. Most of it was useful, some of it was silly, but all of it has helped me, in some way or another, figure out this whole parenting thing.
I always hope to help other moms or soon-to-be moms navigate motherhood just the teensiest bit. I make a million mistakes on a daily basis, cry, feel guilty, worry, and eat sweets to deal with my emotions way more often than I should…and I know very little about this mom thing….but here are 10 things I do know:
10) Nothing ever goes the way you planned it. I had mapped out sleeping, nursing, and activity schedules before Hudson was born. I planned when and how I was going back to work. I was going to grow my personal training business, continue to work out 5 times per week and vowed to have a girl’s night and a date night on alternating weeks.
Now, as I flip though all the things I wrote down in regards to everything above, I laugh so hard. Babies grow and change and they do it all at their own pace…there’s no controlling it! We have a loose schedule throughout the day, but I never know what to expect on a day-to-day basis. I’ve (sort-of) learned to roll with the punches.
9) ALWAYS pack more diapers and spare clothes than you think you’re going to need. Diaper blowouts are very real…and very embarrassing in public places (especially when you have to wrap your baby in paper towels out of the public restroom because you have no diapers or clean clothes…womp womp.).
8) Plain white socks. I can’t find plain, white, cotton baby socks anywhere. I wish I had more than one pair for Hudson. So, stock up before you have a baby!
7) It takes a village. I’ve found that having people to go to for various situations is key. I have someone to vent to, someone for parenting advice, someone for health/medical advice, someone who checks me (meaning puts me back in line when I’m being a little neurotic), someone to give me a hug and talk through rough days..most of my close friends and family are a bit of all of these. They’re crucial, though. I truly don’t know how I’d make it without my village!
6) All moms lose their patience. I’m just now coming to realize that it doesn’t matter how much you love your little person, they’re frustrating and tiring from time to time. I used to feel incredibly guilty for getting frustrated, now I feel normalized by it. For some reason, moms get embarrassed admitting their frustrations, but the more I commiserate with my mom friends, the more I realize that we all feel the same way. Trying to sustain a life that can’t communicate and is basically helpless is hard. Rewarding and amazing, but hard! And it’s normal and ok to get frustrated!
5) Bumbo Seat. We have fed and entertained Hudson for many hours of his life in this thing. Easy to clean, the tray is the perfect size (and noisemaker!) and I love that the bottom of the Bumbo has a rubber non-slip grip so that Hudson stay in place wherever we put him!
4) Shut the social media out. “Let him be little” is an overarching theme to the place in life we’re at with Hudson. He’s growing and changing so quickly, yet, according to social media and many of the moms on social media, he is not growing and changing quick enough. Kids are crawling, walking, talking, learning to play the guitar, writing essays, and hosting social events earlier and earlier. I just want Hudson to be chubby and roll-poly and care-free. He’s healthy and thriving and I don’t worry about his development at all..until I flip through Facebook or Instagram. I hate the feeling that I get when I see a similar aged baby walking (which I don’t know any 8 month olds in real life that are walking!) and think “is something wrong with Hudson? Should I be doing ______ so that he crawls/walks/talks/wins the Olympics/writes his first book/etc. sooner?” Ugh.
3) You finally understand your parents a little better. A bunch of things have become very clear since having Hudson. A few of them definitely center around why my parents parented the way they did. They weren’t the mean parents, they were the parents instilling discipline and order in their home. They weren’t making us do our homework or get good grades because they wanted to ruin our lives, it was so that we could ultimately get good jobs and become successful adults…just of a couple of the very same implementations and desires Mark and I have for Hudson. Things really come full circle…for better or for worse.
2) All you need for fun is some boxes, pots & pans, and water. All the learning toys and light-up, flashy, noisy stuff is great, but at least in Hudson’s case, all he cares about are empty boxes, pots/pans/measuring cups, and water. He loves anything he can beat on and/or make loud sounds with. And the water– he just loves splashing it and dribbling it all over himself. All of the above things occupy all of his playtime while all the store-bought toys are given almost zero attention. So, don’t spend a ton of money on fancy toys…
1) Your baby does show that he/she loves you. I used to feel so frustrated at the fact that I nursed, changed, entertained, and sustained Hudson’s little life day in and day out and all I got from him was more crying and messes. In my practical mind I knew that he wasn’t capable of expressing or even knowing what love and gratitude are, but I just needed something. The truth is, though, Hudson does show that he loves me. When he was 2 months old, he started smiling at only me! At 3 months, he started turning toward my voice and would hold my gaze while I talked to him when we nursed. Now, he reaches for me, plants a huge slobbery “kiss” on my cheek/shoulder/arm, and holds on to me for a few seconds. It’s true what they say– all the craziness that comes with having a little one is 2000000% worth it when they do things like that. Your heart really does explode with love for your child!