Lewis will be 10-months-old in just five days! The number one comment I’ve heard from seasoned parents is “time flies” and I concur that not only does time fly, but this is one of the only truths that you’re going to hear repeatedly once you have a kid. Everything else is more unique to your child/circumstances, but time passing by so quickly… that pertains to everyone! With Lewie’s first birthday around the corner, I wanted to share the most important “truths” I’ve personally learned thus far.
I think the first and most important fact I’d want every parent to not only know, but to walk in daily, is that YOU have the best intuition for your child. Trust yourself and trust the process. I’m a very loving, empathetic person and when Lewis was born I definitely expected to “feel” something – some sort of immediate connection. But let’s be real here, he was a perfect stranger and I didn’t know him yet! So slow down, take a step back, and allow yourself the time to learn your baby and give them the time to learn you! Don’t let guilt creep in and tell you that you are immediately supposed to be on the exact same wavelength as your newborn. I fell in love with Lewis in the weeks after his birth. I mean, really. I took the time to adore every little thing about him, every little thing about the whole process of becoming a mother and in my opinion, it made all the difference for the future. Together, we built our foundation based off of one another’s personalities, emotions, and love! Getting to know your baby is a relationship you’ll carry for your (and their) ENTIRE LIFE, so, give yourself all the patience in the world and I promise you will feel the physical connection with your baby in no time!
The second fact is you’re going to hate every way your spouse handles that baby, especially if you’re momma. I can’t stress enough how vital it was for me to ignore what was happening or legitimately walk away. I had to let Chris be dad and let baby learn who dad was just like he was learning who I was! Constantly picking at your spouse is only going to cause stress between ALL relationships. After about two-weeks, I had to understand that Chris wasn’t going to do everything the same way I did and that is OK. Actually, not only is it OK, it’s the best case scenario! If you want a break when daddy gets home, then you’d better let him get comfortable with the baby on his own time and in his own way.
Naturally, I had a much stronger connection with Lewis in the first few weeks, if not months. Duh! I carried his body inside of my body for 9-months. There was a “silent knowledge” between Lew and I, so there were definitely times where I knew I needed to help Chris, not scold or belittle him. It took some time for Chris to understand that it wasn’t a competition between us of “who knew the baby better” or who the better parent is. Our styles looked so different, as they should! I helped him get comfortable with Lewis and I did my best to reassure him as much as possible. It took longer for Lewis and Chris to really have that special physical and intimate bond, but let me tell you, the way Lewis’ entire face lights up when he sees his daddy is like no other.
Don’t try to make yourself the “best” or only option because that’s likely going to happen by itself. Nobody will ever take your place as mom, but mom CAN overstep boundaries and make dad obsolete. Don’t do it. Let that baby know a dad’s masculine, awkward, stiff, rough around the edges type of love because THEY NEED IT!
Third, don’t let the world steal your motherly JOY! Protect your mental space like you protect your baby’s life. Do NOT compare. Do NOT judge. You are the best mother for your child and that’s the only thing you need to know day-in and day-out. Don’t compare “milestones” or anything of the sort between babies. You are going to hear everrrrryyyy opinion about your child. Every single baby is different and no milestone looks the same. Take what other people say with a grain of salt and do not get offended because 9 times out of 10 people really think they’re helping. Appreciate the intention and just move on.
Lastly I’ll share a personal parenting preference, so, take it with that grain of salt, or soak it up – whatever is healthier for you! This is a way to live life itself and not only applicable to parenting: take one day at a time and RELAX. Here’s an example, I was super skeptical of vaccines because if you do any in-depth reading or talk with licensed holistic professionals about the ingredients you’ll be left scratching your head as to what it’s actually doing to the developing human body. If these ingredients were on a fruity food pouch, there’s no way I’d be caught feeding it to my baby. Then Lewis was born and we spent a week in the NICU. I witnessed modern medicine save his life. I spent my first pediatrician’s appointment bawling and after praying about it, I felt most at peace putting Lew on a delayed schedule which is one vaccine at a time. One vaccine at a time, one day at a time. Lol, just kidding – no relation there, but that is how it worked out.
Had I decided adamantly that Lewis would NEVER get vaccines, I wouldn’t have the peace of mind when we travel to Colorado in a week that he probably won’t pick up a rare disease at the airport. I relaxed and while I’m still absolutely skeptical of injecting chemicals directly into my child’s body, it was a decision that helped me find more peace than the alternative did. I don’t care what other people think, it’s not an argument, it’s an opinion. Relax.
The top three comments Chris and I get about Lewis is how “chill”, happy, and independent he is. We love having a son that already displays confidence, kindness, friendliness, and so much love. Babies aren’t brainless little blobs and the first three years of their lives are the most formative for their minds! Relax and let them figure out the world on their own. No, that doesn’t mean I let him play with marbles but it meant I rid our surroundings of choking hazards so he can crawl wherever he wants without me hawk eye watching him. It means I chose an audio monitor over a video monitor so that I could maintain some of my OWN independence. It means when he was tiny, I made sure I “socialized” him as much as possible. We do this with puppies so that they make more friendly dogs, maybe doing it with a baby makes for a more friendly toddler. Lol, I’ll let you know.
I heard this song that’s definitely not about a parent and child relationship (but the beauty of music is applying it however it speaks to you lol) and it says: “One thing I know I’m in love with your heart, everything else is the cherry on top” and that really encapsulates my approach with Lewis. As his mother, I see myself as a steward of his heart until he’s an adult navigating his own way. I want to make sure he can TRUST his own heart’s desires when he starts to rely on himself. As a steward of another human’s heart, I’m always gentle with him (unless we’re in a diaper changing wrestling match because legit man-handling is required), I speak kindly to him and about him, I greet him with smiles and a soft voice, and I’m truly believing and expecting the best for him. (Wow imagine if we practiced that daily with every person we encounter!)
We make parenting so much about ourselves and while our own mental, spiritual, and physical health should take precedence to parenting (in my opinion) – it’s a completely different topic and has nothing to do with my kid. That’s “self care” and parenting is anything BUT self care. It’s quite the opposite and it was so important to me that I understood regardless of ANY approach I take with Lewis, he’s ultimately going to be his own person. I want him to have his own personality, humor, likes and dislikes, but I desire for him to have a good heart above all. If I care for him in such a way that I am displaying in my own actions and words, a healthy heart, I truly believe he will grow up with a fulfilled heart as well. Everything else is the cherry on top. Everything else is what I get to sit back, watch blossom, and enjoy.
Relax and take it day-by-day. Strip the noise back and find your center. Children are a true gift from God and you, as their parent, are just as much of a gift to them!