Year One of Parenting- 50 lessons learned   1 comment

So LA’s one year birthday was this past Sunday.

How did I handle that? Well, there will be a blog about that… but otherwise I wanted to share some things I’ve learned in my first year (or a year plus 10 months, pregnancy counts!) of being a parent.

1. You will be amazed by how much you can love.

2. Poop happens.

3. A smile can stop your heart.

4. The sleepless nights in the beginning were not as bad as we had been warned. Steve and I both felt better getting up taking care of her as a newborn than we did after a night out with friends.

5. The sleepless nights during teething were worse… and no one warned us about those!

6. You fall in love with your husband all over again as you watch him fall in love with your daughter.

7. You fall in love with your husband more as you watch him change diapers, baby talk, dance with her, dote on her and smile while he watches her sleep.

8. Watching your husband do the dishes, vacuum, fold laundry, dust <insert chore here> becomes a powerful aphrodisiac.

9. Elmo is not annoying as he once was because he makes her smile.

10. Poop happens. Oh did I mention this? …….Blow outs specifically. (Although we were lucky to never have a middle of the night one! Yay!)  So poop happens….

It bears repeating.

It should also be mentioned that it happens at inopportune moments like when you are needing to leave the house. Or, in my case, when you are locked out of the house (therefore unable to retrieve clean clothes or shower) and sitting in the bank office while she’s sititng in your lap so you are both covered with it. Sigh, that was a good day.

11. Poop has a sense of humor. For example, one week later while I was sitting (with her on my lap again, I don’t learn) telling the funny story about being locked out of the house and covered in poo to my boss at the gym….. it happened again, except this time I wasn’t locked out.

12. You get to rediscover the world through new eyes.

13. Just when you think “I’ve got this” something will change so you don’t.

14. Nothing is sweeter than a sleepy baby cuddled up against you, especially if they’ve got their arm wrapped around you or holding on tight.

15. There is no more magical word than MaMa.

16. You truly do wish with all of your heart to be sick for them, to teeth for them, to take all the bad things in the world and cover them with bubble wrap to keep them safe.

17. The world becomes both a more wonderous and an infinitely more terrifying place.

18.  Spit up, to put it in my husbands words, is “not as gross when they are yours.”

And sometimes drool can even be cute… see above 🙂

19.  Time is a tricky, slippery thing… you are holding a tiny newborn and before you know it they are toddling away from you.

20.  If you have a giant bag you will fill it full of stuff but forget the wet wipes (or some other essential thing). If you have a small bag you’ll make it work (but still forget the wet wipes). Baby stuff fills whatever space it is given…much like how goldfish grow to the size of the tank they are in.

21.  Everything takes longer with a baby.

22. I thought when I was a stay at home mom I could acheive a clean house. (insert hysterical laughter here)

23.  Your priorities change overnight. (see story about this later 🙂 )

24. You will understand your mother better… and in my case feel the need to call tearfully and apologize for not understanding earlier.

25. You worry about things you never even thought of before.

26. You can taste regret when you realize a stage has passed and you didn’t a. take a picture or video or b. just savor the moment.  Telling yourself to slow down and soak it all in doesn’t work. Neither does mental pictures, real pictures…. just enjoy it and take it day by day.

27. Unsolicited advice is even more annoying when you have your baby than when you were expecting baby.

28. Who knew the kitchen sink was so much fun?!

29. Your living room will never look the same again.

30. You will manage to go several days without showering, washing hair, brushing teeth before you notice the difference (especially in the beginning).

31. Your baby will want to eat right when you are ready to go.

32. It is difficult to be on time with a baby.

33. Poop has aim…. ask my husband.

34.  You may thoroughly clean the floor but baby will find the one piece of dog fur, lint, plastic that you missed and give you a heart attack by trying to eat it.

35. Even though you are a very gentle,  loving person you will want to smack the six year old girl at the pool who grabbed her arm and left finger nail marks…. yes you know she is a child and you know she is only six, but you want to smack her just the same.

36. If you need the baby to take a 60 minute nap (like they do EVERY day) so that you can get something done… they will sleep 15 minutes. If you need the baby to take a 60 minute or less nap so you can be on time, they will surely sleep 2 hours and wake up cranky. Babies somehow change routines just when you need them to do what they usually do. Lesson is don’t plan around things too much lol

37. Baby clothes are adorable and so much fun.

38. Baby clothes make you sad when you can literally see how fast they are outgrowing them (and some of them they only get to wear once!)

39. You will be so sad when you realize a baby phase is over (the toothless smile is gone because a tooth has appeared for example) and yet you will be so excited and proud of them!

40. Right after you brag to someone how they never fuss in restaurants (or don’t throw their food or insert other skill here) they will fuss in the restaurant.

41.  You will have to break a rule you made for yourself.

For example, I swore only one hour of TV a day… but on days I have migraines she could memorize every episode we have DVR’d of Sesame Street because watches them so much.

42. Only another parent can understand how hard it can be to answer a simple text message or email.

43. You truly don’t mind missing the big party of the year because nothing could drag you from the side of your sick baby.

44. You will worry you’re a bad mom (or dad)… if you are worrying about it you probably are a good mom. Bad moms don’t worry.

45. It only takes one small mistake to feel like a total failure. And, luckily, only one small smile or accomplishment to feel like you are doing a good job!

46. You care more about being healthy and eating healthy when you are feeding them then when you were just feeding yourself.

47. The more excited you are about something (for me it was letting LA have her first slice of birthday cake) the less excited they will be (she poked it a few times and was done).

48. You will want to kill your husband (you know the one who you love) when you realize he’s used the last wet wipe, diaper etc…. because now you have to juggle dirty butt baby and get new ones!

49.  You will now cry, tear up, get overly upset or angry at random strange things in movies, TV shows and commericials because you are now a parent.

For example the movie Tangled…. lots of it. Or the movie with Katherine Heigel where she is raising her best friends baby…. at the end it’s supposed to be all heart warming because the baby calls her MaMa. And I know it’s a good thing… but it makes me SO mad and sad because Katherine Heigel is NOT her Mom and the poor real mom never got to hear that. Sorry…. little rant 🙂

50.  Your life is different… even if they are not with you…. YOU are different. And it’s a good kind of different 🙂

I’m sure as soon as I hit post I’ll think of a dozen more.

I went into parenthood more prepared than some (lots and LOTS of babysitting and 10 years teaching plus nursery work)… but it’s still a learning curve.

I’ve heard so many parents complain and moan and tell expecting parents “Oh you’ll never sleep again” or “Your life is never your own” or other negative things. I actually had a few people try to talk me out of it because my life was good so “why mess it up?”

Yes, you sleep less. Yes, it’s not all about you anymore. Yes, going to the aquarium now ranks up there with going to get a massage or a pedicure. Yes, now I’m looking forward to taking LA to Disney with the same anticipation I used to look forward to vacations in far more distant locals. But to me it’s for the better…. a life just about me seems small in comparison to what I’ve got now.

I’m not saying everyone should have kids (plenty of legit reasons for people to choose not to)… what I’m saying is that if you do have them it’s better to focus on what you are getting rather than what you aren’t. I think the goods (unconditional love, magic, smiles and sheer fun) outweight the bads (less sleep, some bodily fluids and a lot less alone time). In fact, I shouldn’t even call them bads… because in the grand scheme of things it’s all part of the adventure.

I’ve had a fabulous first year with my Little Angel…. can’t wait to see what the second year holds for us 🙂

Feel free to tell me a lesson learned in the first year that I didn’t cover… I’d love to know what I missed!
OR tell me what I’ve got to look forward to 🙂

Oh man… while I was putting in pictures I thought of 3 more for sure!

51. Nothing smells better in the whole world than fresh baby!

52. Baby babble is a magical sound

53. You will do things you hate if it makes them happy….. for my husband and I it’s the beach… we’re not big fans, but she is…so….

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One response to “Year One of Parenting- 50 lessons learned

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  1. Pingback: Lessons from a One Year Old – Year Two of Parenting « Memories of the Heart

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