It was Charles Dickens who once said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..” and I’m starting to think he may have been referring to being a parent. That single line can pretty much sum up motherhood for me in this first year as it has been such an empowering and challenging year but also single handedly, the most rewarding. It has been a year where I am proud of the person I am, the role I have grown into yet it also has made me question myself at the very same time. I have come to know a love that runs so deep and I am eternally grateful that I have been blessed with a healthy baby ( until I wake up at 3am and start googling weird things and think something can be wrong-oy).
Overall, I have learned a heck of a lot and am continuing to learn things every. single. DAY. And from what my moms tells me, I will never stop learning …….OR WORRYING!
Below are some of the key takeaway’s though that I have come to realize this year in particular!
#1. AMAZON PRIME IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
This is at the top of the list because it is the most important thing for me to note. If I could buy it on Amazon Prime, it was happening. I’m pretty sure my neighbours think I invested in a company called “INTERCOL” because the delivery van was at my house about twice a week if not more. The good thing for me was that since I am a blogger, I do get a lot of mail so my husband wasn’t entirely phased by the deliveries. At one point though I received a package from China with all Chinese all over it and he raised an eyebrow and said “What company sent you THAT?”. I quietly left the room.
Do yourself a favour, get a Prime membership because it makes life a whole lot easier. Shops some of my favs here
#2. IT GOES BY SO FAST ( The Cliches are true)
They say the days are short and the years are fast and it couldn’t be more accurate…especially when it comes to raising a baby. When this really started to sink in, I started to put my phone down more and snuggle her or read with her because time flies by so goddamn fast. These are the moments that you will forever cherish.
#3. YOU NEVER SAY YOUR BABY IS A GREAT SLEEPER
I have learned that the minute you say your baby is a great sleeper, that they automatically have a shit nap or sleep! It is basically science so zip your lips or say words like “decent sleeper” or “not bad”
Also, it is super annoying to say in front of parents with babies who perhaps don’t sleep so well!
#4. IT MAY NOT BE LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Of course the minute Chloe was born, I was in lala land over the miracle of bringing another human into the world. I couldn’t believe she was mine and it was just the most profound, powerful and emotional moment I’ve ever experienced. But was my love for her all fireworks, rainbows and heart eyes off the bat? I have to say that it wasn’t for me. I felt like I didn’t “know” her yet and was like “Is this normal not to feel this instant over the moon love” right away? It took me 6 months to go on a second date with my husband LOL so safe to say I needed just a bit more time to get to know Chloe. She didn’t do much in those first few days so it felt like a very one sided relationship. Like girl…come on I’ve been snuggling and feeding you all day, tell me a joke! As the days and weeks went on though, I started to fall more in love with her each day. It crept in slow yet strong. Like a layer of cement being poured. No undoing! Now… i am obsessed and truly feel like she’s my best little friend/side kick who I miss after a few hours and would very much die without. I feel bad that I felt that way off the bat but I know I am not alone! Love you Chlo!!!!
#5. YOU DO YOU BOO
As much as it is important to make sure the baby is all good, it is so important to make sure YOU are good. Motherhood is like every other job in the world except harder and like any job in the world, you get lunch breaks, vacation days and get to leave earlier so find that time!
Besides doing a girls dinner, work out or even a spa treatment ( kind of rare and a luxury), my favourite and most accessible “me time” happens in the bathroom. I lock myself in there and just sit on the ground scrolling through my phone or go in the shower and have a cry when I need it. I think my husband thinks I have IBS now. Oh well!
Some mom’s feel guilty over doing stuff for themselves but to be honest- I never did. I think it’s vital to surviving the first year…and ALWAYS!
#6. YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PARTNER WILL CHANGE
It is no longer just you two anymore so you need to know that there is going to be a shift! It was just you two doing life and loving it and now there is a new pack member. It takes a sec to adjust to that and find the new normal. Having to bring a stroller, car seat, checked luggage, carrier and whatever god knows what we packed on that first trip, instead of our regular ole’ carry on only luggage? Huge change! I still laugh thinking of us trying to fold up our travel stroller for the first time. Swearing. Sweating. “I THOUGHT YOU WATCHED THE YOUTUBE VIDEO ON IT!!!!”.
Another thing to note about the shift is that I felt like my husband and I got closer in a way too. We had to talk and communicate much more than we already did and cherished the time we did have to unwind just us two. I loved watching him care for our daughter and be so hands on with her, it made me appreciate him more. I mean, there were also times when I wanted to flat out murder him when he would be like “My nose keeps running” or “she slept good last night eh”….when she in fact did not sleep good.
It is definitely important to find time to just be together though without the baby. It was the number 1 advice my mom gave me and I really understand it now. We are planning our first baby free trip just us two for next year and I am excited. Just need to get the grandparents on board to babysit. I haven’t asked them yet though…you reading this guys? Thoughts?
#7. YOU WILL HATE YOUR PET. (THEN YOU MIGHT LIKE IT AGAIN. MIGHT)
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I wanted to put my dog Finn on Facebook marketplace….for free. He would bark during her naps, he would steal her toys ( he still does), he loses his mind when the mailman comes everyday which would FREAK her right out and he was all in all, mentally unstable.
But just shortly after I wanted to do this, there was a turning point. They got more comfortable with each other. Chloe started to burst out into uncontrollable giggles when she saw Finn run around. Finn also became a very handy vacumn when we started to do solids. He started to lay outside her bedroom door making sure she was ok ( I mean- I think) and everyone found their groove. Don’t get me wrong, he is still a little shit but it’s MUCH better.
#8. IT TAKES A VILLAGE
You will need help. You cannot do it alone. There is NO medal for trying to be a hero that can do it all. Whether you have a helpful partner, amazing parents, friends who are willing to bring you dinner- any sort of help- more so in the early months is so so key! It is easy to feel like you are drowning so take the help if its there.
Sometimes this was hard for me as I always take on a lot and have a hard time communicating that I need help or a break. Some may call me a micro-manager *eyeroll*. I got better over time with this though and now have no problem saying “K GOING TO YOGA. YOURE TURN BOI”. Even so, with all of the help at my finger tips, I still felt isolated some days as the days can feel long especially if the baby is having a fussy day.
#9. PEOPLE WILL NOT KNOW WHETHER YOUR BABY IS A BOY OR GIRL
I would have Chloe in a full blown pink jogging suit with a bow and I would still get the odd person being like “Boy or girl?”. I get it – boys can wear pink these days but COME ON!
#10. IT’S OK TO NOT BE OK
Angry, Sad, Depressed, Happy, Mad again. Anxiety. YOU.WILL.EXPERIENCE.IT.ALL! The emotional up and down’s are so, so real and you might find yourself staring at yourself in the mirror being like”WHO DIS”. Some days I would just cry and then be completely fine within hours. It makes you feel crazy but know that hormones are their own little personalities and rear their ugly little heads sometimes.
Your body goes through a HELL of a lot but emotionally, you are also all over the place! Feel all the feelings. And cry in the shower. Super therapeutic.
#11. FIND A MOM TRIBE
I found it so comforting to lean on a support group during these early days of being a new mom. I am lucky to have some amazing friends and cousins who became moms before me who were there to guide me through things. I even had random people on Instagram reach out to me that I haven’t talked to in so long and they were honestly pillars of support in the early days.
Additionally though, I was a member on Rebel Mamas on Facebook where you can ask basically any question to the 5,000 + members on there and get a response. I posted questions about sleeping schedules, teething…and even a personal issue I was having one time and always received such solid advice. If anything- buy their book. It’s only 9.99 and SO FUNNY!
Another great place for mom support was through a local Instagram group called @MomsHamilton. They have a chapter in Toronto and NYC if you live in any of those cities. Each week they feature weekly takeovers of cool people that offer solid advice and host monthly events where you can meet with other moms in your community face to face. Shout out to Shelbi who is behind the page- she’s not only a badass but she is hilarious!
It also made me APPRECIATE all of the mom’s I know. Of course my own Mom #1…like how you raised 3 kids and always stayed so patient is beyond me! But also my friends who were already moms. I not only appreciated them but was in awe of how they handled themselves. Like my cousins who have multiple kids yet they come to family events all calm, cool and collective! My friend Stacey who has two babies and still not only made plans to get together but stuck with them? Praise be to these superheros. I did feel a bit of guilt though that I perhaps never did enough for the moms before me. That I was naive and didn’t understand what they were going through when they were going through it. I should have cooked for them or just NEVER complained about being tired. Asked them more questions. Had more sympathy for my own mother.
#12. YOU WILL NEED A BREAK FROM THE BABY AND THEN YOU WILL MISS THE BABY DURING THE BREAK
I would countdown ( and still do some days) until it was time for Chloe to go to bed for the night. Then at about 9PM I would find myself staring at my camera roll looking at all the adorable and funny things she did that day. If I was out having a day by myself, I would be like “I wonder if Chloe ate good today? I wonder what her mood is like? Shes so funny..I need to hear her laugh”.
It is such a double edged sword!
#13. THIS TOO SHALL PASS
I found myself jumping to conclusions sometimes if Chloe had a bad night or did something abnormal instead of letting it ride out for a day or two. Often enough it would pass.
Same with days where I felt like a bad mom or doubted myself- it always passed.
Also right after giving birth, I felt like a war victim who would never recover but sure enough, time heals all wounds!
#14. YOU WILL 100% NOT DO EVERYTHING YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO DO ON MAT LEAVE
Here is a list of things I said I would do during Mat Leave: Write a book, go for a hike with my other friend who was on Mat leave once a week, do ladies lunches once a week, work out 5 times a week, learn all sorts of new recipes, blog 3 times a week, deep clean my house once a week, Read some cool books, keep up with Marie Kondo’ing,
Here is a list of things I actually did during Mat Leave: Laundry, clean house as quick as I could during naps, change diapers 72 times a day, blog ( but not 3 times a week), lose complete track of time, make plans and then cancel them, be in nap jail, occasionally watch a Netflix show, scroll on my phone, google if my baby was dying, google if i was dying, feel like it was groundhog day
#15. BREASTFEEDING IS HARD AF AT FIRST
I haven’t met one person who was like Breastfeeding rocks right away!! It’s so easy! If you do meet someone like this, please know they are either an exception to the rule or most likely a unicorn.
IT IS SO HARD!!! I stopped breastfeeding at 11 months and as much as I ended up enjoying the whole process and loved my precious time with Chloe, I felt SO FREE after officially being done with it. It is also a lot when your baby depends on just YOU for staying alive and fed.
#16. I AM NOT HER, SHE IS NOT ME & DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE
Everyone’s way of doing things is different. It is so easy to get lost in the comparison game especially with social media and I’ve learned that everyone is SO different and that you need to REMIND yourself of that. Whether you see someone always out and about with their baby or you see someone always netflixing and chilling with theirs, know that there is NO right way of doing things. There is no proper way to “bounce back”! It is what works for you.
Also, just because you see someone on IG who has a curated feed, posts photos of their kids being all perfect or overposts their significant other- know it is just a highlight reel. Like for example here, see these pictures I posted in this blog post, this was about 10% of my day. I can guarantee you that at some point in the day, I had my hair in a top knot, got irritated and Chloe spat up on me.
All in all, there ain’t no better hood than motherhood and I am excited to see what the next year teaches me!! xo