Let’s talk about what I wish I had known

Don’t we all have those “I wish I had known ___________” moments?  Motherhood is full of them!
What I wish I had known going in to motherhood….
1) No one knows what’s right for your baby except for you.  Research, read books, scour blogs and talk to other moms till your heart’s content, but remember that all babies are different, and you won’t know what you’re dealing with until you’re dealing with it, ya know?  Advice can be great, and Lord knows I’ve gotten a lot of it, but what may work for other babies and moms, doesn’t necessarily work for us.  I’ve gotten some GREAT advice from other mommy friends, but I still try and take everything with a grain of salt and just do what feels right in the moment and for our situation.
For example, everyone told me not to take AW out for several weeks.  Well, this is him, 4 days old, in Target, in the shopping cart nonetheless.  He’s still kicking.
2) You will lose some of your identity for awhile, but try to remember who you are.  It’s so easy to become completely consumed with a baby, and while I think this is necessary, at least in the beginning (I mean, they do rely on you for survival and all), don’t lose your identity entirely.  There have been points throughout this first year where I have let Asher Wade completely take over my identity.  It’s like everything I feel, do, think is directly related to him.  I almost forgot who I was, what I like to do, what’s fun for me, what makes me happy.  It was just all about him and being a mother to him.  I really struggled (and still do) with how to not put so much focus on only him, but rather to share that focus with other things in my life that are important to me…my husband, friends, working out, our dogs, my faith, wine…..(ok, j/k on that last one…I think).  I love those other things though!  I wouldn’t let any one of those things take over every aspect of my life, so why should I let my baby?
First dinner out about a week after he was born.  That wine did me good.
3) Sleep when the baby sleeps!  Why I never listened to this I’ll never know.  I did everything but sleep when AW did and it led to a very tired mama.  Sometimes I still think I am catching up on lost sleep…
Why am I taking pictures of him instead of sleeping myself?  I spent most of his naps just watching him.
4) “This too shall pass.”  Repeat this regularly.  Write it on a post-it notes and stick them around your house.  Let that be your mantra for every difficult phase.  No one phase lasts forever.  It will pass.  There’s something about believing that fact that helps you get through whatever challenge you’re currently dealing with.  I wish I had told myself this more, because I often felt like every challenge was going to be the death of me…that it would never end.  Looking back though, they all did pass pretty quickly.
This was the “I can never put the baby down or he will scream bloody murder” phase.  I literally wore him all day long for a couple of weeks, but guess what?  It passed, just like all the other phases.
5) Talk to your spouse.  Keep the lines of communication open and don’t bottle up emotions.  I held a lot in and let things stew, and looking back I should have opened up to Matt more.  Remember that you are in this together and it’s definitely a team effort.  For some reason I often felt alone, even if he was in the room with me, and I think this stemmed from my fear of asking for help and admitting that I needed help.  ALL new parents need help though, so let your spouse know when you do and make sure to talk about your fears and insecurities.  Your spouse will probably be your big biggest cheerleader.
One of our many post-baby date nights.  A must do.
6) Don’t buy a ton of baby clothes ahead of time.  Everyone told me to only buy the essentials.  Did I listen?  Of course not, and you probably won’t either, but seriously, you don’t need much and they grow so fast!  Just buy what you will need at the beginning (anything that makes frequent diaper changes easy) and then buy other things as you go and when you need them.
AW was happiest in just a diaper anyways.
7) Things will not be as amazing/perfect/beautiful/magical as you imagined.  Motherhood is hard.  New motherhood is really hard.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I had this grandiose idea of how motherhood would be.  I had all these pictures in my head of this perfect cherub angel baby that just slept contently, ate every few hours, only cried when hungry or wet, and basically just went with the flow.  I didn’t think our lives would be disrupted and I thought the baby would just seamlessly fall in to our schedule and way of life.  Holy wakeup call!  Obviously I didn’t realize that babies are human beings too and they have their own personalities, likes and dislikes.  Be prepared to adjust accordingly.
This is real life y’all.  Bags under my eyes, hair that hasn’t been washed in days, stains on my nursing top…definitely not at my best.  But look at that sweet little thing.  Melt my heart.
8. It DOES go by so fast, so cherish every moment (ok, maybe not those middle of the night screaming fests where for the love of all things holy you cannot figure out why that baby is crying) and never take anything for granted.  I look back at pictures of AW and I just cannot believe how fast this past year has gone.  I could honestly cry just thinking back to all of the wonderful memories we’ve had with him and how quickly they have passed by.  I definitely did not savor each and every moment with him, and I wish I had.  I wish I had just sat back and taken it all in more often, rather than running the rat race I constantly feel I am doing, trying to get everything done.  Enjoy.every.minute.  Each one is a blessing.
P.S. Breast feeding does not necessarily make you lose the baby weight.  I don’t care what Gisele says.  She’s a liar.  I’ve been nursing for a year now and I’m still 7 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight.
P.P.S. You will have some gnarly stuff going on post delivery.  Learn about Tuck’s pads, Dermoplast and “special” ice packs, or as I affectionately refer to this combo as, the holy trinity.

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