Wow. Time sure does fly. It breaks my heart that Little Bear is already three months old. Wasn’t it just yesterday that he breathed his first breath right in our bedroom (I still owe you a birth story – I know!)? It feels that way to me.
If I could freeze time, I’d freeze it right here. Little Bear is smiling. He’s found his arms and legs and loves to swing them all around. He’s just starting to be interested in toys. He chuckles. His cuteness is almost too much. Everyone who meets him immediately falls in love with his big eyes and baby smile (and those big eyes and that baby smile are what make those frequent middle-of-the-night wakings not too horrible).
But as fun and heartwarming as this time has been, it’s also been a time of quick learning. I think I’ve learned more lessons about life in the past twelve weeks than in all my life before this. I’d like to share a few. I’m sure the parents out there can relate to these!
1. It’s now officially going to take ten times longer to accomplish anything.
The original title of this blog post was “7 Lessons I’ve Learned in My First 7 Weeks as a Mom”. That’s right – it took me 5 weeks to write one lousy blog post. Before Little Bear? An hour. But now that my time is so much less my own, I’ve just got to come to grips with the fact that what used to take an hour is probably going to take a week now. Time to accept that that’s the current reality, and move on. My worth is not defined by how much I get done in a day.
2. Just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it comes naturally.
Folks – breastfeeding has been incredibly hard for me. I just assumed that something so natural would be, naturally, easy. The whole topic is a post for another day, but I now realize that just because my body was made to do something – doesn’t mean it’ll do it easily.
3. The fourth trimester is just as important as the first three.
By “fourth trimester” I mean the three months after the baby is born. I never knew how important these three months are for both the parents and the baby. It’s a huge time of adjustment for everyone – and really, the first three months need to just be about finding some sort of groove. Not work. Not keeping a clean house. But surviving as a new family. I never knew how intense this time would be.
4. This is not the season of life for lots of commitments, big to-do lists, or overachieving.
I’ve had to back out of so many work commitments and personal projects and lower my standards in regards to everything homemaking.
It’s probably taken me the longest to learn this lesson. I want to be there for everyone. I want to be able to mother this child and have my life look like it did before him (#firsttimemomproblems). I hate disappointing anyone. But I’m just now realizing that this just isn’t the time for extra high expectations. It’s the time for taking care of the basics. Once I can confidently do those things, I can think about adding something else to my plate.
5. A sense of humor is mandatory.
Because otherwise I’m just going to cry. For reals.
6. Apparently, I’ve been oversleeping my entire life.
Who knew I could function on three hours of sleep a night? In case you’re wondering, the word “function” is being used loosely in this case.
7. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to raising children.
My mom told me that all of my siblings and I were sleeping through the night at six weeks. I’ve been told to let Little Bear cry some. I’ve been told to pick him up all the time. I’ve been told to wear him. I’ve been told not to wear him. I’ve been told to co-sleep with him. I’ve been told to have him in his own room. I’ve been told this-product and that-product are the solution to this-problem and that-problem.
And here’s one thing I’ve learned – thanks for the advice (really, thank you – I know it’s given with good intentions), but what worked for your kids will probably not work for my kid. Because they’re different humans. And this is a different family.
8. People aren’t always going to love your decisions when it comes to your kids, but don’t let that stop you from making what you prayerfully believe to be the right decisions.
A few weeks ago, we were set to take a trip to visit some family. Except the day beforehand Little Bear decided to go on a nursing strike. My guess is because he’d had a traumatic week (surgery, house guests, etc). So instead of being a people-pleaser, I decided to pull the plug on the trip and just stay home and reconnect with my little boy. I’m happy to say that he’s nursing much better now.
I know I’ve already made some calls (hello, homebirth!) that people in my life think are misguided. I think at some points I’ve compromised what I knew was the right thing to do in order to mitigate the judgment. But everyone loses when I do that. I’ve learned that I need to consult God, my husband, myself, and Little Bear – and then make a decision. Others’ opinions are welcome – but unless you’re going to take responsibility for the outcome, you don’t get to make the decision.
9. There’s a reason God designed parenting to be a two-person job.
Because it’s rough. And I don’t know about you, but I really need a partner in this.
10. Children really are a blessing.
God said it. And now I know it’s true. When Little Bear came out of me, my heart was the fullest it had ever been. Forget the sleepless nights, the crying, and the spit-up – it’s an honor to usher this little boy through life.
11. …but sometimes it won’t feel like it.
Just being honest. I’ve run my mouth at 2:00am after not sleeping for days and said some things I regret. I’m learning to use those ultra frustrating moments as prompts for prayer. God knew my weaknesses and gave me this little boy anyways. He’ll equip me with all I need to raise him.
12. Nothing will bring you to your knees faster than raising a child.
I can confidently say that I have prayed more in the past three months than in the 10 years beforehand. In some of those prayers I’ve just gushed with thanks for such a sweet boy to love on. In other prayers, I’ve asked God what in the world He was thinking giving me a baby to take care of. Whatever the content, I am constantly humbling myself before Jesus.
I don’t know what life as a mom will look like twelve more weeks from now, or even tomorrow. But I think that in order to grow as a person and in your faith, you have to allow yourself to learn tough lessons.
What are some lessons you’ve learned as a parent?