Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Things We Should've Known

Parenting: an overwhelming experience with a one of a kind journey that no one can truly prepare you for. 

We've been doing this parenting thing for nearly 3 years. Throughout that time, we've learned more than we ever expected. We've discovered that we everything we thought we would never do, we've done. Our life has taken on a new form, one mostly controlled by a tiny human with big demands and needs. Now, we didn't go into this gig blind. We read. We asked. We researched. We questioned. But all the preparation was unnecessary because what we really could have used was the honest truth. You know those tid bits of knowledge you wished someone would have told you.

When asked, "What is one thing you wish someone would have told you before you became a parent?" this is what mothers said... 

Sara :: I wish someone would have told me that in those first few weeks/months of parenting, you completely lose sight of the person you used to be and it can be really scary.  I had a hard time reconciling my new "mommy" responsibilities with my former self.  I loved my baby and my new title, but I struggled with figuring out how to balance both of those roles.  Everyday I wondered if it would always be this hard and if I would ever feel like myself again.  I think many new moms go through this type of identity crisis and it's completely normal.  Eventually the hormones subside, you find a routine, you start sleeping again and you get your groove back...I promise.

Justine :: As silly as it might sound, I wish someone had prepared me for how much longer it would take to get ready to go anywhere. Seriously, you think it's just one tiny person, no big deal, right? Ha! It's like you finally have them dressed and ready and you're walking out the door and you realize you've forgotten their favorite blanket, or their binky, or some other crucial item. Then you think you're finally ready again, and a diaper emergency arises! I'm pregnant with my fourth and I still don't have the leaving routine down. It's so frustrating because I hate being late!

Beth :: That parenting is not “one size fits all”. What’s right for one family may not work for you and that is okay. Focus less on comparison and more on enjoying your family, the family that God had planned just for you.

Jess :: My number one would be let your spouse/significant other help you, especially in the early days. When Abbie was born, for some reason I thought I was the only one who could do it right - the only one who could feed her, the only one to get her to sleep, etc. It took a big toll on me and wasn't easy on our relationship. If I would've just let go a little more and actually let Chris help, everyone would've been a lot happier in those early days!

Ashleigh :: That the (mom) guilt is crushing. I have always had a guilty conscience but dang, I spend most of my days feeling guilty about something; big things, little things and everything in between. I always feel like I could have done everything a little better and yeah, I feel pretty guilty about that.

Chardae ::  I wish someone would have told me it won't be picture perfect, I'm on bed rest and have been for the past 11 weeks. I cannot work, go shopping or prepare the perfect nursery for my baby. I've since gotten over this but being on the couch for half my pregnancy is definitely not what I had in mind. I think we all need to be open to unexpected changes.

Laura :: Read the baby not the book. The books don't have the answers, trust yourself as a mom and you'll know what feels right. 

Jessica :: I wish more people explained just how hard those first weeks/months could be. With my first baby, we survived on tears and zero sleep, and I questioned our ability to be parents daily. I reached out to some close friends and family, and it turns out they had been in my shoes. I wrote a post about what we went through (after I came out of the haze), and so many people related to it. Granted, things can be absolutely wonderful for those first few weeks (my second baby is so easy—the polar opposite of my first), but just in case they aren't, know that you're not alone and that things will get better. The baby will eventually sleep at night, and so will you!

When I asked this question to these Mommas, I considered what my answer would be. After a week of thinking it over, I think I would share this nugget of wisdom with a soon to be mother:

It's not easy. There are late nights, early mornings and little to no sleep sometimes. Everything is a phase but the phases never stop coming. Transitions are hard but necessary. You will feel defeated, you will feel useless, you will question everything you've done, will do or haven't done. But at the end of the day if you can look within yourself and know you've given 110% then know you are rocking your role as Momma. Keep lovin' those babies and remember, no one does it right, all the time. 

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