Andy and I have officially been parents I suppose for 9+ months, but parents to our “outside” baby for a little more than three weeks. Luke is an awesome baby and we love living life with him in it. We wouldn’t trade it for anything! We’ve learned A LOT in the last three weeks, as we expected, but the things we have learned are not exactly what we expected to learn (at least from this momma’s perspective). While some of the thoughts below people “warned” me or told me about, I didn’t really get it, at all, until Luke was actually here. So for all my friends that are expecting, or if you just wanted to know what the first few weeks of real-life parenthood is like…here you go!
1. Your entire life changes. Okay. People definitely told us this, so those of you that did, thanks. But I have to say I didn’t really get it. I just thought my life might be different by getting a little less sleep. Once your baby is here, you have to think about EVERYTHING. Like remembering to take your baby with you when you make a quick run into the store. Or that you always better have enough diapers. Or that you need to open that baby’s college savings account, or does that restaurant have a sling seat for your baby’s car seat or that literally as I’m trying to write this my baby just woke up and wants to eat RIGHT THIS MINUTE. And now its an hour (okay two hours) later…
2. You were
probably selfish before your baby was born. This isn’t meant to sound mean or anything, but it’s true. Totally talking about myself here, too. Before baby, you just did what you wanted, all the time. Sure, you probably served people – spouse, coworkers, volunteering, etc., but you can take a break from that, separate yourself from it for a bit, or take some time to focus on yourself. With a really little one I think you truly learn what it means to serve selflessly or serve with your WHOLE self, at least to a much greater extent than you probably did before kids.
3. Have a support team. One of my biggest fears about having a baby was doing this “parenting” thing with our family so far away. Now both of our families have made great efforts to be here for us physically and emotionally, but they live almost 1000 miles away and can’t be here all the time. You have to create a support team in whatever way you can, including with your spouse. Figure out what “team” means together. For us, that means I feed the baby (duh) and Andy changes (a lot) of diapers. He also takes the baby in the morning so I can get a little more sleep. Also, I have friends near and far that have been available to me via text and phone calls about ridiculous questions that I might have. You don’t have to(and shouldn’t) do it all alone. People want to help. Take it. And be that for others when the time comes.
4. Take the help. Similar to the previous point, but really. You don’t need to be embarrassed. Having a baby is a huge change and it takes a lot of adjusting. Let people help you. Let them clean, do your laundry, make or bring you food and hold the baby so you can take a shower and maybe brush your teeth for the first time in 3 days. It’s for your sanity.
5. You talk about things you never knew you would talk so much about. Like poop. And other strange bodily functions and issues (yours and baby’s). And poop.
6. Us mommas need each other. There was a recent commercial someone shared with me right about when Luke was born that basically sums up my thoughts on this. Watch it. I had observed this quite a bit before having Luke, so I am trying really hard to just be there for my mom friends and to be encouraging, because that’s what I need too. Especially encouragement. Thanks, random-other-young-mom at Target today who smiled at me in the checkout line when my son was screaming his head off because he was hungry who made a point to stop and say, “hey, don’t worry about it, it’ll get better.” Seriously though, I needed that at that moment, and I’ll remember it for a long time.
7. It doesn’t matter how much reading you do, you won’t know it all. This is probably a “duh” point to most people, but if you know me at all, you know I tried to read everything I could about babies thinking I could “figure it all out.” Was my reading helpful? Sure, and it will continue to be. I’ve learned lots of helpful nuggets by reading other blogs and articles about pregnancy/birth/newborns, etc. You can’t however, by any means, learn it ALL – and that’s okay, and fun! Trust your mommy intuition and do what’s right by your family – it’ll be okay!
8. Weird things happen to your body that no one probably told you about. People gave me a pretty good idea what it meant to be pregnant, but after the baby arrives? Yeah – I had no idea, and it happens almost immediately. I won’t go into graphic details, but I totally get when people say “your body is no longer your own.” Pregnant friends – let me know if you want more info.
9. You didn’t know how much you could love another human being. Wow. I love Andy. A lot. I’ve loved him for almost 7 years basically since I met him. This little guy that we created together? That is the best parts of both of us? I can’t even really describe it, but it’s awesome.
10. You gain a whole new appreciation and understanding of God’s love for his children. A few really special moms in my life told me this before Luke was born, and they were so so right. Can we fully understand God’s love for us? No, we can’t – it’s infinite. However, I think I understand it just a little bit more now. I love Luke so much, and God loves him (and me, and you) even more than that. It’s pretty incredible. Not only do I have a better understanding of God’s love, I have a better understanding of how he wants us to completely depend on him for everything we need – just like Luke depends completely on us for what he needs. Mark 10:13-16
These are just a few things I’ve learned in the last three weeks. There are so many more. I’m humbled by this new vocation of “mom” that God has given me, but I am excited for the challenge and blessings of what lies ahead!