Babies are tough, there is no way around that. No amount of reading through books, pamphlets, magazines or blogs can give you even an inkling of what is about to come your way. You always see either mommy bloggers or TV shows making it look like such a breeze and so easy. Then you have your own and quickly get a reality check. Mom Life is sticky, smelly, tiring, different for everyone and also the most humbling experience you will ever encounter. Between doctors, fellow mom friends, non-mom friends and your parents you suddenly have advice spewed at you left and right. I have come to learn to just nod and politely go about my business when strangers try to strike up conversation about how their sister’s friend’s cousin has this amazing toy that you just have to buy or else your baby will be out of the baby loop.
Before I even got pregnant I had TONS of secret baby and parenting boards of all the magical things I would do as a new and perfectly planned mom. I now scan through them and laugh at the impractical or unrealistic expectations my naive self had set up on Pinterest.
1. I will not co-sleep, ever.
Ha! This went out the window first. What I grew to learn within my first days home with our little guy was that however I could get him comfy for a nap and also gain one myself, I would do. When you get home with your new bundle of joy it is the scariest thing ever. Reality check, no parent is perfect, neither is any baby, we’re all amateurs and that is okay. When your baby sleeps it’s wonderful and scary. SIDS thoughts go through your mind at all times. Will he throw up and not be able to roll his head? Is he swaddled tight enough that he doesn’t have loose ends that can smother him? He isn’t going to get hip dysplasia from how I swaddled him is he? How long is he going to sleep? How will I know he’s okay when he’s sleeping and I’m in the shower? Just a few thoughts right? So yeah, co-napping, happened, a lot.
2. I will only pump, no breastfeeding for me and no formula.
Well for me this was kind of true for the first while. Turned out we were having latching issues, apparently I have somewhat flat nipples. Cool. So either use a nipple shield every time he needs to feed, or start with pumping then let him feed. Complicated. Pumping lasted for a bit over a month, I started to dry up because of all of the appointments we had for him with his jaundice, stress kicked in and I was getting less and less time to pump. If we had family support around I probably would have had a better go at it but it is what it is and he is healthy and on formula. If you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed don’t beat yourself up or let others make you feel bad, as long as our babies are being nourished that is what is the most important.
3. Our life won’t change that dramatically, we just have an extra person to tag along.
This was the biggest misconception. Going out soon became a whole production, basing travel time, how long we’d be somewhere, how stroller accessible it was, whether or not the place even allowed babies. So much more to consider when going out with the little man. We’ve had to make a lot of social adjustments such as selling off our football tickets and such but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
4. I’m going to dress him up in so many cute outfits all the time!
No. Do you know how hard it is to get pants on these little guys!? Special outings and visits only. Sleepers are life! Just throw a drool bib on and there, accessorized. Some parents are great with the whole baby styling thing but I’m starting to wonder if they’re doing the same thing I am and reserving it for outings and social situations. I have my eye on you.
5. My little guy is going to be so pleasant all the time I can’t wait to play with him and watch Tom Brady throw some TD receptions!
Now that he is a bit older this is somewhat true. In 5 minute intervals. Yes everyone always sees pictures of him happy and smiling all the time. It’s a sham people. Peyton was pretty colic when he was young and half the time Geoff would get home to me crying on the couch feeling like I could do no right. It has certainly turned around but we are far from him enjoying sitting still to not have to pause a movie about 10 times in the first 30 minutes or much less a football game. Patience is very much learned once these guys come into our lives that’s for sure.
6. Baby’s sleep all the time, I’m going to be so well rested! I’ll nap when he naps!
No! No, no, no, no, NO! They don’t. They do sleep a lot. But only when they want to. Also, for the first while, when you bring your newborn home, they need to be fed every 1.5-2 hours, day and night. Whenever someone says “nap when he naps” I have to hold back my anger like no other. When they nap or sleep, that’s when power hour happens, and by that I mean eating, finally watching that show you pvr’d three weeks ago, taking the laundry out of the dryer instead of picking out what you need as you need it, oh and showering. I don’t know how many meals I’ve skipped by having to choose between showering and food because damnit showering when you have a baby feels so good. Let me put it this way. Showering when you have a baby is like taking a vacation. There are no toys, no bottles, no diapers. It’s wonderful. But then you get out of the shower and it’s like shit, do I dry my hair or wait until the next possible shower. Pick your battles.
7. I’m going to hate being pregnant.
So many girls say this prior to being pregnant. I can honestly look back and say I loved being pregnant. I loved my bump, never got stretch marks and it was the most amazing feeling to feel his little, and big movements. The only unpleasant parts were the first trimester nausea, however I never threw up, and the third trimester insomnia, however insomnia has been an issue of mine for years. All I can say for anyone who has not yet been pregnant, just remember this is the shortest portion of our mommy life. Unless you have another child you will never have a second heartbeat, see your body perform the most carnal instincts it ever can or when you get those moments of feeling like you have a super power, that being the power of creating a new human.
8. My friends will stick by me no matter what.
I wish I could say this was true but as any change in your life, sometimes you just lose touch. Not to say that you will have massive fall out, with some you may though. Sometimes you just wish that you could talk to another mom and vent, it’s hard to get the point across to anyone not in your situation. This is the same for moving far away or getting married. Friendships sometimes change or fade away and that is okay. Don’t beat them or yourself up over it.
9. I’m a grown up I don’t need help, me and the hubby got this on our own no problem.
Pride is a funny thing, we set ourselves up for failure with it, this is certain. When we found out Peyton was coming along we knew we wouldn’t have our parents and family around and we thought it’d be a breeze. We had spent 7 years independently across the country and having Peyton really opened our eyes to the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. It really does. For your sanity, relationship and even just for the social wellbeing of your child. If you need help, ask, you’re not failing, asking for help shows you are responsible and no one will fault you for that.
10. I’m going to blog from pregnancy onward!
Well… I tried. My first blog was a flop. I had the best intentions and started writing when I was about 4 months along. As the preparations of our apartment picked up the time and energy to write went toward searching for cribs, strollers and other items we needed, especially since it was just the two of us. Now that our little man is over six months old, we are with family and have a much better schedule for him I finally have time.
I could make a list of at least 100 things, maybe I’ll do a continuation some day, who knows! Mom Life is awesome, it’s challenging and it’s so special. I truly am thankful but I will never claim to be perfect and have long since given up on trying. Just let that shit go and let life happen. Take in the little moments and just remember every day will be different.
If the good days haven’t come to you yet, they will. This was said to me SO many times, and it really is true. We went from 80% rough times to 80% great times. Just put yourself in your little ones shoes. This world is brand new to them, their bodies are growing at an alarming and painful rate and they basically need to learn how to be human, your parents did it with you and you will get through!
To parents of multiples and parents with older kids. My figurative hat goes off to you, I don’t know how we do this but it’s a club I couldn’t picture not being in!