There are a thousand lessons a mom learns on her first adventure in parenthood. And certainly, I can't write them all down. I don't know most of them, since I haven't yet learned some of those lessons. But I thought I would share some of those lessons with you. Some are comical, some are personal, some are just common sense. Enjoy!
Lesson 1: Sleep has a new-found value. Yes, I thought it was best to start with this one. The truth is that you will still get sleep as a mom. But you won't get as much sleep as you used to and it often is broken sleep, with a baby waking up in the middle of the night. Again, not a big deal, you still get sleep, but sleep takes on new value. Being a mom is exhausting and it's always good to have those extra moments to nap.
Lesson 2: You're time is not your own anymore. Yes, you may still have a few moments of "me time." But it just isn't the same. Your time is spent doing laundry for the baby, giving the baby a bath, nursing, feeding the baby breakfast, lunch, or dinner, playing with the baby, cuddling with the baby, or rocking the baby to sleep. Yes, those few moments of "me time" are usually spent driving to work, getting a shower, or letting Daddy play with the baby.
Lesson 3: You can NEVER have enough baby clothes. Okay, my loving and very frugal husband would definitely not agree with that statement. But it's true, especially for baby girls. They need such a beautiful wardrobe filled with dresses, rompers, jumpers, leggings, athletic pants, khakis, jeans, onesies (short and long sleeved), t-shirts, long sleeved shirts, socks, hair bows, jackets, etc...you get the idea. There can never be enough. Everything out there is just too darn cute!
Lesson 4: Babies want to spend a lot of time with Mommy. There are moments when I would just love for Isabella to want her daddy. But the reality is that she wants to spend a lot of time with me. Sometimes, it's just sitting on the floor playing with her and that's all she wants. Other times, it's a soft place to sleep and loving arms to rock her to sleep. But it's a lot of time spent with Mommy.
Lesson 5: Sleep deprivation is a natural thing and you learn to work through it. Yes, I never thought I would say that. But I get a lot less sleep now than before I had Isabella and somehow, my body has adjusted to it and it's fine. But, of course, I still get 6+ hours of sleep a night, so it's not full sleep deprivation.
Lesson 6: Ear infections+teething=a very unhappy baby. Okay, that's common sense. I just had to add it in. It was a miserable weekend when the ear infection was in full force. Thankfully, it's gone and the first tooth is working its way in (just broke the gums today).
Lesson 7: A smile from your baby can make everything feel okay. Maybe you had a bad day at work. Maybe you're just feeling sad or depressed. Who knows what's going on with each of us day to day. But I know that when I'm not feeling fabulous, Isabella gives me that Hollywood smile (I know, an eight-month old can give a Hollywood smile? Really? Yes!) and it just melts my heart. It makes everything all better, even if it's just for the moment.
Lesson 8: Strangers are going to admire your baby (and not always from their own personal space). There are too many dirty, germy hands that reach out for my baby because they want to admire her. It's just I need to teach adults about personal space and the rule of "if it's not yours, don't touch it!" They will feel the need to "pet" your baby's head, touch their feet, and try to hold their hand. Yes, it happens quite often and I am irritated by people's lack of personal space.
Lesson 9: Your post-baby body is still beautiful, baby pooch and all. I know, this is a hard lesson to listen to. But it's true. There is nothing more beautiful than the body of a woman who brought life into this world. That kangaroo pouch is a beautiful thing, just think of the purpose it served! Of course, it helps to be even more beautiful when you put that beautiful baby in your arms. It's like arm candy!
Lesson 10: Time goes too quickly during the first year. Everyone says this and we all nod our heads and say "Sure it does." But seriously, it does. I am at a loss for where time has gone. It has flown by, too quickly, much too quickly. Write down everything, take lots of pictures, too, because the time just goes by too quickly.
Lesson 11: All moms need mom friends who know what they are experiencing. I could not have embarked on this adventure alone. It has been so important to me to have friends who have babies Isabella's age or just a little older who know what I'm going through. Their knowledge and wisdom has been so important to me.
Lesson 12: That beautiful hair you gained in pregnancy? Gone. Yep, gone. I lost so much hair around 2-3 months postpartum. Now, I have these annoying baby fuzzies on the top of my head, right around the front of the hair line. My hair is not as lustrous or full as it was during pregnancy. My husband still says it's beautiful, but it isn't what it was nine months ago.
Lesson 13: Anything that makes noise can help distract an angry baby. I love that I can distract Isabella with my cell phone, the dog's squeakie toys, or any of her rattles. She can get moody, but I can easily get her attention on something new instead of whatever was making her mad before.
Lesson 14: Everyone will offer advice on every situation. Some pieces of advice are great. Other pieces of advice are not worth much. The best piece of advice I was ever given was that not all advice given to me would be worth my time. But everyone, even those friends without children, think they know everything. They have been there, tried that, done that, and experienced that. They have the answer for this problem and that problem. Just take it all in and decide what applies to you.
Lesson 15: Quality spouse time can be hard to find. This isn't always the case, but especially with ear infections, teething, and hungry babies, it can be hard to find time to really enjoy quiet time with your spouse.
Lesson 16: Put away those pretty trinkets that dangle around your neck. Yes, I mean your bling. It becomes an excellent pulling toy for the baby. Isabella LOVES necklaces. Mommy doesn't wear them, so she loves to be held by anyone wearing them. She pulls on them, chews on them, and loves the feeling of the chains on between her fingers. But if it's an expensive piece of jewelry, you may not want to wear it for a while.
Lesson 17: You will gain an infinite amount of patience dealing with a baby. Maybe you didn't think it was possible to have the patience of a saint. But have a baby and you'll learn that you'll gain it quickly. It can be very frustrating taking care of a fussy baby, especially when you don't know why they are fussy. But sometimes, all it takes it a lot of patience and a lot of love (plus some gas drops, Tylenol, or cuddling) to help ease the grumpiness.
Lesson 18: Your adventures are endless, as there are always new things to do. Isabella is getting into more and more things and yet, she isn't even crawling yet! Imagine the adventures once she starts crawling and then walking! We've already had a lot of adventures and she is so much fun. There are so many more adventures just waiting around the corner!
Lesson 19: Taking an adventure with your spouse (even to the grocery store) without the baby is a DATE. Okay, so maybe not a trip to the grocery store, but any time you can get out without the baby, it's a date! And it really doesn't happen that often if you're like me and want to soak up every moment you can with your baby.
Lesson 20: Babies make the world a much happier place. This needs no explanation. It just is true!
Those are my lessons learned. And of course, there are so many more to share, but I'll leave you with those 20 lessons for now! Thanks for reading them all!
7 hours ago