My child’s first birthday is a big deal. No, he won’t remember it and I probably should have just scheduled it during nap time. But to me, it’s a celebration of survival. WE DID IT! We survived the first year of parenthood. And he survived the first year of our parenting.
Being a mother has been nothing short of the hardest thing I have ever done. I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into, and Bringing Home Baby, What I Wish I Had Known, was just the beginning. Over the last year, we’ve dabbled in what feels like more than our fair share of sleeping problems, daycare woes, eating challenges, and most recently, I have taken on the title of ‘allergy mom,’ but I’ve also become a much tougher cookie than I used to be. For that, I’m proud.
When I reflect on my son’s first 365 days and people say to me ‘I can’t believe it’s been a year,’ I just smile and nod – and sometimes bite my tongue. Because I can definitely believe it’s been a year, it’s been the longest year of my life. People say your first child rocks your world – and rock it he did, with seismic force. But every single morning when I wake up to his smiling face, I’m reminded of why I am on this journey.
All the Feelings… And the Struggles… And the “Mom Guilt”
My life has evolved into a life that is no longer my own. I no longer think about myself first – my whole world revolves around this little human. The power that my heart feels for him is indescribable. I cry, I worry, I hurt when I think that something is not “perfect” for him… I beat myself up with that special brand of “mommy guilt” and question whether I’m doing it right.
The first months were tough, as you can read about in this post. Days blended into nights, my husband and parents were my rocks, and sleep deprivation was no joke. When people would ask ‘are you loving it?’ I would nod and crumble internally – overwhelmed with uncertainty. I thought that it was supposed to be ecstatic and blissful every second.
One thing that took me a few months to accept is that there are not answers for everything. Why won’t he nap? Why won’t he stop crying? Why is he gagging with solids? And just when you’ve figured out the answer, that baby slaps you across the face and says ‘JUUUUUST KIDDING!’ and changes up his game again.
I survived sleep deprivation, like the kind where your baby eats every 3 hours… takes 45 minutes to eat, another 45 minutes to put him back to sleep, then another 30 minutes for me to fall asleep, giving me just an hour of sleep between feedings… I mastered texting/emailing and making photo books on my phone while breastfeeding. Much of which happened between the hours of 12am-5am.
The good… The giggles… How far we’ve come!
The aforementioned seemingly endless crusade through sleep deprivation actually started to change around 3-months, and by 5-months, I was getting a full night’s sleep (most nights), which made me a whole new person and a much better mom. Josh started exploring more of the world, becoming much more interactive. And HAPPY.
Seeing his face, it just never gets old. It’s just the softest, cutest, tastiest thing. Every night, before I go to sleep, I go into his room just to look at him. I stare at him, sleeping so peacefully in child’s pose, with his mouth barely open… and those perfect little lips. I so badly want to squeeze and cuddle him, but I just smile and walk out… anxious to see him the next morning.
Hearing him laugh. There is truly no better sound. And the things I do to make him baby laugh. (Embarrassing). I love watching him explore, learn, and communicate with me. Seeing him fall hard for our German Shepherd and my husband. I wish I was as cool as the two of them! And the baby snuggles. These became fewer and far between the older he gets. I wish I could bundle up the snuggles from the first few months, but for now, I take full advantage of all he wants to give me now.
Together we have experienced so many milestones. He went from a helpless newborn with no control, to a little spirited, interactive, overwhelming, little fireball that crawls so fast that many of my mom-friends can’t believe it. The magnitude of change over one year is hard to comprehend.
So, while the first year was exhausting, and so so SO overwhelming, that isn’t the story of our first year. Yes, I counted every single one of the 365 days, but I can look back on each and every memory I’ve created with my son so far and feel a tremendous amount of LOVE, smiles, and thankfulness. Those words create my story.
I saw the passing of his first year as the beginning of another wonderful year ahead. Here’s to hoping we make the best of it!
Share some of your 1st year Momiversary reflections with us!