12 Things I've Learned in 12 Months of Parenting
As my first year as a parent comes to an end, I’m amazed at how much has changed and how much I have learned. So much has happened over the past year, and I honestly can’t believe my little guy is turning one soon. There are so many things I have learned as a parent, but I’ve kept this list relatively short, and decided to reflect on the 12 most important things I’ve learned in my first 12 months of parenting.
1) “No” is a full sentence. You’re allowed to say, “No, I do not want that,” and you are not obligated to give anyone an explanation. If other people have a problem with that, that’s THEIR problem. End of story.
2) My life now revolves around poop in a way that I never dreamed possible. Tracking frequency, consistency, volume, etc. I knew I would be changing diapers all day, every day; but dang. So. Much. Poop.
3) Sleep is more important than shaving. Seriously there have been so many days when I’ve put the baby to bed and thought, “I should shave my legs… but I’m so. damn. Tired.” And I slept. It was glorious. And I didn’t have to spend $20 on razors. Win, win.
4) There’s a lot of advice out there, but there is no “right” way to do anything parenting related. Keep your child happy, healthy, and love them to bits, and I promise you, they will still need therapy because that’s just the way it is.
5) Making yourself a priority has never been more of a, uhm… priority. Make time for yourself. Get a massage. Get lunch with your girlfriends. Sign up for that yoga class you’ve been thinking about. Put it on the calendar. Treat it as an appointment you CANNOT miss. Make it happen, mama.
6) Giving someone else control of the kids is way harder than you think. Before I became a mom, I never understood why so many of my mama friends wouldn’t hire sitters or get a friend or family member to watch the kids. I get it now. It is SO hard to walk away from your little one for the first time, even if it’s just for a dentist appointment. And honestly, it doesn’t get easier (at least not for me).
7) Remove the phrase, “I’ll never be THAT mom” from your vocabulary. Because I guarantee, you will, in fact, be THAT mom. You will have crumbs all over your car. You will skip showering for over a week because see bullet number 3 in this article. And then, after you have stopped bathing, you’ll go to Target in your pajamas, because hell or high water you are getting out of the house today. Bonus points if you have spit-up on your shirt. Face the fact that you will be THAT mom, because we are all THAT mom. -mic drop-.
8) My body will never be a pre-baby body, and because I will never be pre-baby. I will always be post-baby, and I embrace that. Some days I bear hug it, and other days I give it a half-assed handshake; but this body is mine, and it was theirs for a while too. I promise to love this post-baby body, because any body that has carried a life deserves love.
9) Speaking of going to Target, it is now impossible to enter Target and leave without buying SOMETHING for your kid. Clothes, toys, snacks, puzzles, whatever. You’re going to get something for them literally every single time. This is especially true when you enter Target with the intent to purchase something for yourself. You will not purchase something for yourself. You will instead purchase dinosaur footie pajamas because OMG the feet are Triceratops!
10) There will be days when you feel completely lost. You won’t know what to do, and you’ll feel like there is no end in sight. The best thing you can do is take a deep breath, count to 10, and talk to another adult human (preferably one that has their own little monsters that give them hell on a regular basis as well). Which leads me to my next point…
11) Your mom village is the most important community you will ever have. These women have been through it all. They know the ups and downs, and they know that some days there is nothing that can help except for a hug and an empathetic, “It sucks. I’m sorry, it sucks. I know it does. Let’s get coffee. Or better yet, let me bring you coffee.” Those are your women. Those are your people. Lean on them. Learn from them. Give back whenever you can.
12) Last, but certainly not least, your mom cried a lot when you were a kid. If she says she didn’t, she’s lying, and she needs a hug. Like, right now. If you can’t get to her right now, send her a text. Tag her on Facebook. Let her know how much you appreciate her. She deserves all of the apologies for all of the ish you put her through. Not only does this make her feel good, it also increases the chance that she’ll come over and watch the kids so you can take a shower or a nap. Bonus!
There are so many other things I’ve learned throughout this past year. I know I will continue to learn more about myself and my parenting style as my little one grows.
What lessons have you learned as a parent? Let me know in the comments!