Level one complete…
[dropcap]Over[/dropcap] the weekend we celebrated Lola’s first birthday and it was emotional – and not because she had a tantrum during cake cutting!
Think everyone has a fantasy of what kind of a parent they’re going to be, or perhaps what sort of parent they don’t want to be. I was never terribly maternal and babies freaked me out, but I knew I wanted a family. When Lola was born, I was shit scared. How the hell were we supposed to do this!?
In the first couple of months I felt like I was walking through a fog of sleepless nights, explosive diapers and bad stint of breastfeeding. But then as soon as she looked at me, like really looked at me, the fog cleared and instead of feeling like I was auto-piloting my way through motherhood, I suddenly felt this euphoria, that sense that ‘I’ve got this, and god damn, you know who I am!’
Seeing her skills and personality develop has been the most fun aspect of our parenting journey. Travelling with her for the first time at five months was surprisingly easy, and then it got even better when she started on solids– she suddenly seemed so grown up – and even more so when she said ‘mama’. All these moments may seem so insignificant to others, but to me they were like bolts of lightning in my heart and I honestly never thought I’d feel such joy and wonder at what we created.
She’s crawling and standing up like a trooper but is not too keen on walking just yet – which to be honest I don’t mind as I love picking her up and getting extra cuddles. The next stage will be difficult and amazing for new reasons, but for now we are going to bask in the glory that we made it through these 365 days and kind of know what we’re doing.
So here’s what I learned from my first year as a mum (and you’ll be hearing from the dad too)…
Routines are helpful but I shouldn’t be a slave to them as her mood changes every day.
Not to give up on certain foods she doesn’t like and keep trying them in different forms. I’m pretty sure this approach is why she likes eggs now.
To live in the moment and enjoy every stage. Now she’s a year, I miss the newborn stage and wish I indulged in it more.
To not spend so much money on toys and clothes. At the beginning I got so carried away and now she has a million things she doesn’t use.
To fully enjoy me time and our date nights, even though all we do is talk about her.
Mum guilt is real, but it has taught me to make the best of time I have with her, though I still have a long way to go when it comes to switching off completely.
There is nothing wrong with accepting help with raising a child. It was hard to get used to having a live-in nanny, but it has allowed us to pursue our career paths and have time off while she gets plenty of attention and play time.