Friday, February 15, 2019

Surviving the First Year!

We did it!! We successfully kept a miniature human being alive for his first year of life! When I think back to that first day when JR arrived into the world I remember feeling overwhelmed and unsure about every decision I made. I was nervous of how it would effect my little man. I remember the fights Big Jay and I would get into over the dumbest things because we were fatigued. I remember how hard it was to let him go that first day back to work and how the best smile in the world is the one JR makes when he sees me for the first time at the end of a long day. I remember every turn, crawl, step, and mischievous look that resembles his father's. It’s been a crazy year of firsts and sharing them with my two favorite guys in the whole entire world was/is amazing. Along the journey I had a lot of learning moments. Today I want to share them with all my soon to be mama’s out there in hopes you don’t feel alone on your journey or that I can maybe alleviate some of the stress and second guessing you may have. Today's blog post is not my usual fashion themed but, it’s real and glamorous nonetheless. Thank you for allowing me to get off topic in this post and letting me celebrate this tremendous accomplishment!  

Everyone Knows Best
When it comes to having your first child EVERYONE has an opinion about everything. From your mother to your friends with kids, and even nurses in postpartum care, (make you feel guilty for everything breastfeeding related). My best advice is listen to your baby and do what’s right for you. I had big plans to breastfeed for as long as I could, the reality was my body did not produce enough or a sufficient supply. My son was lower than the lowest weight curve because I couldn’t provide and as soon as we switched to formula he got a little more chunky and started sleeping better. I had to put away this preconceived notion of what EVERYONE was telling me and I had to do what was right for me and my baby.
Now don’t get me wrong, as a new mom you won’t have all the answers and you will need to ask for advice but keep your “call for advice” list very small. Mine contains my mother and my best friend who is a mother of two. I feel if you have advice from too many peanuts in the peanut gallery you'll drive yourself crazy. Also not all advice will be helpful or wanted, but a different perspectives help nonetheless.

Your home will find a new normal
I’m a bit of a neat freak and in my house everything has its place. Before baby, I would clean my house once a week from top to bottom. Growing up, the second oldest of five, the house was always filled with clutter and it bothered me. I was determined to not have that be my house. Are my current mom’s laughing yet? When baby comes, clean is not a term I would use to describe my home, I prefer organized chaos. This is probably the hardest thing for me to come to terms with and I’ve been told by my husband many times to “just leave it for tomorrow” but it is so hard for me to leave a dirty kitchen after dinner or to have a messy bathroom. I also have two dogs and the hair situation is one that can not be left unattended.
For the moms out there that are like me, take a breath, because your house will never be the same and that’s ok. Everyday I try to work on at least one thing cleaning wise. Whether it's doing the dishes, doing a load of laundry, or cleaning the bathroom. By taking on these mini projects each day I’m able to keep the house somewhat livable and keep myself sane.  Also, another mantra I try to remember is, your child will not remember a messy house, they will remember the time spent with you. Honestly I’d rather play toy cars then clean a toilet any day!
*Side note: get yourself a Roomba, its pricey but I promise it will be the best $300 you will ever spend!    

Staying connected with your partner
I have some news for all you new mom’s out there, new baby does not equal “Happily Ever After”. There will be a lot of ups and downs with navigating your relationship when baby arrives. I married my high school sweetheart and I was convinced we had fought about everything we could ever fight about after being together for 15 years and then baby comes. You are tired and stressed and all your attention and energy is on one little human being and its easy to forget to acknowledge and appreciate the person helping you out. That’s probably how 99.9% of our fights start. I know this may sound corny, but I took a page out of my leadership manual from work. Just like I have to build my associates up with positive feedback of a job well done I felt I needed to the same for my husband. Everyday whether it's during dinner or right before bed my husband and I share one thing we appreciated about the other that day. I’ve found when you're forced to verbalize your appreciation you do become more aware of all the little things your partner does. I’m not saying this has solved all our problems but it certainly has helped.

Take some time for you/ or partner
You Time:
This is one I’m still working on myself. I’m a working mom so the mom guilt is the real deal. I have a hard time justifying spending time on myself. But you need it! You need time to recharge and feel like you again. Happy Mommy = Happy Baby. Currently “me time” happens at the hair salon, its that one day a month (I have maroon hair, it’s a lot of upkeep) where I can relax and do something for me. If it's not the salon, go get your nails done, go get a message, do anything for at least an hour that is all about you. (And yes happy hour with a girl friend counts).
Time with your Partner:
One piece of advice my mom gave me was the importance of the “date night.” Jay and I need to get better at taking time for date night . We are natural home bodies that would prefer to snuggle and watch a movie then go out so it is a little challenging at times. Even getting through one movie during one of JR’s naps is a plus. It doesn't have to be expensive either. My mom told me once her and my dad only had  enough money in the budget to pay the babysitter, so they packed a picnic and walked down to the lake for a couple of hours. This is something so simple and easy to do in order to stay connected with your partner.

Don’t be afraid to go out with baby
This is not a fear of mine but it is a fear of my husband. Now we are lucky because we have the chillest kid on the planet. He is comfortable sitting and people watching as long as he has some yogurt drops and his sippy cup. I think my husbands biggest fear is of the unknown and “what ifs” when he goes out. Mom on the other hand is a social butterfly who needs to spread her wings and if that means having JR in toe, so be it. I also think it’s important for your babies development to get out and socializing and feel comfortable in a group setting. If you find that taking baby out makes you nervous, bring a buddy or another mom. I’m telling you, you will be fine. If I can bring JR to an upscale blogger event at Tiffany & Co. you can take your baby anywhere!

Learn to be present
In the age of cellphones, tablets, and computers it's so easy to get distracted by our devices and miss out on all the little things. This one is very hard for both my husband and me. We are so programmed as a society to be attached to our phones it's so hard to just be present sometimes. But it's important and I think as parents we have to make it a priority. I think that’s why it's hard for me to be constantly updating Instagram. I do the majority of my posting at 7pm or 8pm after JR goes to bed and maybe on my lunch break at work or during nap times if I’m off. I don’t want to be constantly connected to a device when I need to be connecting with JR. It’s definitely hard finding the balance. This is a daily struggle. We need to get better as parents because I’m telling you that kid sees and retains everything mom and dad do. It’s a little intimidating to think about but, you got this.

I hope some of these learning moments were helpful. Especially from one mom to another. I think it's easy to share and get caught up in the “highlight reel” on social media. I love hearing other parents’ struggles because I know I’m not alone! And your not alone, parenthood is tough but we got through the first year, it’s all downhill from there, right!?

Thanks again for allowing me to get off topic and share!

PS: Another personal learning moment I’m still struggling with is finding acceptance in postpartum body. I’ve already blogged about this at an earlier date. If you find that you may be struggling too definitely check out the post and let me know what you think!

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