It’s 3:00am. I wake up to my newborn baby beside me in our bed screaming at the top of his lungs. He wants nursed for the fifth time in two hours. I’m exhausted. I haven’t slept but a few hours each night since Jhett was born. As I’m holding him in my arms nursing him back to sleep, all I can think about is, “wow, I can’t wait until he’s older and sleeps through the night; things will be so much easier then.” I start thinking about how tired I am as I watch Jarrod, sleeping soundly. So envious, and then my envy turns to anger; how is it fair that he gets to sleep peacefully and I have to wake up every hour to feed our son!?
It was in these moments of exhaustion that I wished time away. In these moments, I wished I was Jarrod. I wished that I could sleep in peace, and not have to wake up every hour to console my unhappy newborn. But after the exhaustion subsided, an overwhelming sense of fulfillment overtook me. Knowing that this human being who I brought into this world only wanted me. He didn’t want or need anything else, but his Momma. There were many nights that I would maybe get 3-4 hours of sleep because I would just hold him in my arms, stare at him and cry. He was/still is the most beautiful human being I have ever laid my eyes on. *insert heart-eyes emoji here*
Being a mother is by far one of THE toughest jobs there is. It’s mentally draining, physically exhausting and wears on you emotionally. But all the mom’s out there know that there is not one more fulfilling or rewarding job out there. It’s the moments when your baby smiles and giggles for the first time. The moment when your baby begins to crawl, say “mama”, and give you hugs and kisses for the first time. It’s in these moments when you’re filled with an immeasurable amount of joy and makes the sleepless nights and crazy tantrums (this is us currently :-)) worth every second.
Being a mother has taught me more about myself than I’ve learned in my (almost) 25 years of life. Although I’ve learned way more than 5 things, these are some lessons I’ve learned along the way so far..
Before I became a mother, I would get so upset if things didn’t go the way I had planned them to. I wanted to have complete control over everything in my life and if I didn’t, I would go into total freak out mode. Well, that kind of flew out the window when Jhett was born. When you become a parent, you kind of just have to let go of high expectations and go with the flow. It’s okay to plan things out, but I find myself most stressed when I try to set too high of expectations. I tried being on a strict schedule once.. I even printed out sample schedules off Pinterest because all the best mom’s have their children on schedules, right!? Well, it may work for some people but it definitely didn’t work for us. We have an unwritten schedule of breakfast, play time, nap time and lunch, etc. But nothing set in stone and I go with whatever kind of mood he’s in that particular day. It has made things a lot more relaxed for both of us!
Take other people’s opinions with a grain of salt
The minute I told people I was pregnant I started getting all kinds of “advice” on how to raise MY child. Peeps, everyone is different! And every child is different. Do what works for YOU and your family. There is no “right” way to parent, so whatever works for you is GREAT! When I first had Jhett I was so uptight and stressed trying to do things the way other people told me to do them and well, that just didn’t work out for me. The second I started believing in my own abilities as a mother and realized that no one knows my baby the way I know him, things got a heck of a lot easier! Now we do things a little differently than probably most, but hey- it works for us. Believe in yourself and trust your motherly instincts 😉
Take time for yourself
Okay, this one is very important, especially if you’re a stay-at-home mom! As I mentioned before, being a mom is HARD work. It’s all fun and games until your baby’s sick, refusing to nap, and crying at your feet all day. C’mon mama’s – I know I’m not the only one! I’m thankful that Jarrod and our family is always more than willing to take Jhett and let me go take time for myself when I’m feeling like I need a break. Sometimes I just feel like I need to “recharge my batteries”. It’s also good for Jhett to spend quality time with other people other than me.. he HAS to get sick of seeing my face 24/7, haha. I used to feel like a bad mom when I wanted a little break. But really – it’s healthy to take time to enjoy doing the things you did before you were a mom. It’s also a good way to keep your sanity 🙂 It’s okay to still be YOU.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
This kind of goes along with the one above. I have always kind of struggled with this one myself, but it’s a work in progress. I don’t particularly like asking for help because one, I don’t want to inconvenience people & two, I don’t want to look weak.
BUT there should not be any shame in asking for help. Everyone struggles from time to time. We’re all human. Chances are, you’re going to stress yourself out and there’s someone in your friend/family circle that would love to watch your kids while you run to the store or whatever it is, so just ASK!
5. Embrace even the simplest moments
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a mother, it’s that TIME. FREAKIN’. FLIES! No, seriously.. it’s insane. I know it sounds cliche but it’s a real thing. When I was pregnant all these mom’s would constantly tell me to soak up every minute because “he’ll be 30 in a blink of an eye” and I just kind of laughed and thought, “yeah, whatever..” But they were totally right. I feel like I just gave birth to Jhett and he’s already SIXTEEN months old. Like, what!? I keep wondering how it all happened so fast and it makes me all emotional seeing him get older & bigger. I’m fortunate to be able to stay home with him, but sometimes I get so caught up in keeping the house clean or doing this and that, that I find myself missing out on small moments that would mean so much. I try to take certain time frames out of my day to focus solely on playing with Jhett – doing an activity or puzzle or reading books. One of his favorite things is listening to music and dancing around the house and being silly. I know that I’ll never remember how messy the house was or how much laundry needed done, but I will ALWAYS cherish the moments Jhett and I spend together.