My Advice?

When Jackson was not even two months old, I had someone ask me for my advice. She was going to be a new momma soon. I sort of wanted to laugh hysterically in her face and walk way. Me? Give advice? I was still trying to figure out how to take a seven minute shower without listening to a screaming infant. And quite frankly, I never thought about what I would say to a new mom. I’m still a new mom myself, after all. But now I’ve given it some thought, so here goes. (Because obviously an additional three months of parenthood now makes me qualified to give advice.) Maybe this post will find it’s way back to that soon-to-be-momma.

  1. Some days all you will accomplish is holding a baby. That’s okay.

Seriously, it’s totally fine. As the momma, you are that little baby’s world. You are his comfort. His best friend. His source of nourishment. He went from a warm and safe environment to a whole new world and you are the only safe place he knows. So there will be many  many days in the beginning where you will literally accomplish nothing. You will sit on a couch all day holding that baby and think, “Wow. I am the worst. I did not clean or cook anything or put on decent clothes.” Trust me, as an OCD-perfectionist-workaholic, this was very hard for me. But give yourself grace. These days are short lived. {Example: Jackson is now five months old. We are now to the point where I can lay him on the floor with some toys and he will play for a good 45 minutes while I wash dishes/fold laundry/eat real food/put on make-up.

2. Freezer meals are your friends.

To tag onto #1, freezer meals will be your bff. We took a day when I was about eight months pregnant and packed our freezer full of meals. Some were already cooked and just had to be thawed and heated, others were ready to be thrown in a crock pot and cooked throughout the day. But let me tell you–they saved our lives. No one wants to come up with dinner plans after barely sleeping for a solid week straight. And for those days when you can’t accomplish much because your sweet angel just wanted to be held all day? Boom. You won’t starve. You’re welcome.

3. If people offer to bring you food/do things, SAY YES.

Now is not the time to be a hero. If people offer to bring you dinner, accept it. If people offer to do anything, actually, accept it. My mom was here for several days and as much as I hate not doing things myself, it was such a blessing to have the laundry done and the floors vacuumed.

   4. Never say never.

“I will never let my baby sleep in the bed with us.”

“I will never have the baby sleep in our room.”

“I will never allow my phone or the TV to be a source of entertainment.”

HA. I have eaten so many of my “I will never” statements and we are only five months into this gig. Flexibility is the name of the parenting game. Need proof? Here is a picture of Jackson watching Winnie the Pooh. Because mommy just. needed. ten. minutes.

my-advice

Those minutes were glorious, y’all.

5. Take some time for yourself.

You’ll hear this one a lot….or at least I did. But I never understood just how crucial this piece of advice was until after giving birth. You love your little bundle of joy. You really truly do. But sometimes after a solid week of crying through a growth spurt, or maybe after changing your clothes four times in one day because of an explosive diaper followed by bountiful puking, you will really need a break. The best gift Roman has given me was arranging a girls night out a few weeks ago. I got my nails done, tried a new restaurant, ate a stupid amount of chocolate, and it was the best replenishment for my soul. Do your whole family a huge favor and take some time out every so often.

6. Just get out of the house.

There was a day a couple weeks ago when I felt like I was going to lose my mind. I had been home all week. It was a Friday and Roman was still at work. Jackson hadn’t slept well the last few nights. He was being fussy again for the third day in the row. And while you can’t just suddenly “take time for yourself” in those moments, you can get a change of scenery. So I stuck the fussy baby in the car seat, loaded up the stroller and left. We spent the afternoon walking around the outdoor mall, and I got myself a gigantic ice cream cone. Getting out of the house was the best decision for a day like that. Sometimes it’s just what you need to hit that reset button. 😉

There’s tons of advice people like to throw out. I could talk about sleep training or nursing schedules or what the best type of equipment is….but honestly? That’s all stuff you have to figure out for yourself (refer to #4.) One of my best friends had both her kids sleeping in their cribs from day one. Jackson? He’s never even napped in his. (Although we are hoping to change that very soon now that he’s almost sleeping through the night. So maybe there will be a Part Two to this advice column? HA.)

I think at the end of the day, we sometimes just have to answer these questions:

Did I feed my baby today? Did I change his diaper? Are we all still alive?

Then guess what? You are rocking this whole motherhood thing! Now, go eat some ice cream. You super woman, you.  ❤

 

 

Both Sides of Mother’s Day

The time and date that I am writing this post says a lot about motherhood. I have had “write blog post for Mother’s Day” on my to-do list for the last nine days. It is now two days after Mother’s Day and 1:33 a.m.

Oops.

But that’s how it goes, isn’t it? We can plan and plan but that doesn’t mean life will play along. I never would have planned to have to wait three Mother’s Days before I finally had my little baby to hold……before I finally got to join the ranks of motherhood. But even though that’s not how I would have planned it, that’s how it turned out.

Mother’s Day 2016 was so incredibly bittersweet. Mostly sweet, because how could it not be with a miracle baby to hold? But I have not forgotten the bitterness it used to hold. I still have many friends who tasted that bitterness this past weekend, and for them my heart ached.

I spent a large portion of the afternoon holding my baby boy as he slept on my chest. I took probably twenty pictures that are almost exactly the same. He had his lips puckered out and his hands curled up around his eyes. And I gave thanks. And I prayed for my friends who were struggling to give thanks on such a hard day.

It’s true what they tell you when you walk the road of infertility: becoming a mother is well worth the wait. But that’s awfully hard to hear in the moment. Because how do you even know if you will become a mother? And when in the good world will that be? And the person telling you that little nugget of truth can’t answer either of those questions. And you know they’re only trying to help but in reality they really aren’t. But of course you can’t say that without hurting their feelings so you smile and nod and pretend you aren’t shattering into a million pieces inside.

But having walked that road and come to the end of it, I can agree…….motherhood is well worth the wait. I cried many many times on Sunday as I remembered where I’ve come from and where I am now. I have a son. He laughs more than he cries and he is so very close to sleeping through the night. At five months old he is already about to start crawling and he never. sits. still. Sure, I get frustrated sometimes. Sometimes the nights are so very long and sometimes the blow-out diapers seem to happen one right after the other. The amount of laundry that I have washed in just five months has multiplied by a bajillion in comparison to the five months before it. But oh man, he is worth every bit of it. And on the days when I start to lose my patience all I have to do is remember the days of waiting and I hush up with my whining real super quick-like.

I recognize that this post won’t do much to help my friends who are still in the days of waiting. I remember those days well and I know that there isn’t much of anything I can say to make the hurting stop. But I will violate my own rule and I will tell you this: motherhood is well worth the wait. It is well worth every prayer you pray and every option you take in pursuit of it. It is well worth every doctor’s visit and hormone treatment. It is well worth every adoption fee and the mountains of paperwork. It is well worth holding onto that promise the Lord has given you even when it seems like He will not be faithful to it. However you come by that sweet future baby of yours, I can 100% guarantee you that these days of waiting will be worth it. And even more so, I can guarantee you that you will come to appreciate these hard days. I think us mothers that have suffered loss and waiting are gifted with a special gratefulness for our children.

We have the grace of knowing both sides of Mother’s Day.

My dear sweet reader friends, I want you all to know that I had an incredible first Mother’s Day. I couldn’t have asked for anything more because I already have all that I ever wanted. But to my beautiful friends who are still in the waiting, please know that I did not forget about you. I cried for you. I prayed for you. I said your names out loud and I told my son about you. And more than anything else in this whole world, I hope that next year you will celebrate your first Mother’s Day. I love you so very much.