Sunday, January 12, 2014

Being a New Mom [[The Struggles I Faced]]

"You'll be her first role model, her first friend, her first love. You are her mom and she is your whole world, she is your little girl."

As I read the quote above, I pictured myself about a year ago, placing my hand on my precious mom-to-be belly thinking up all of the amazing moments I would get to have with my daughter. Fast forward to an hour ago when my daughter is screaming at me because I placed her down to change her diaper, as if I am holding her down to give her her 6 month shots!

My point is, that in those first few months of motherhood I had NO idea what journey I was embarking on and my goodness did I not know what kind of parent I would be when night after night I am waking up every couple of hours to feed my poor crying baby. As the days go on, the dark under eye circles continue to get darker, eyes are bloodshot, cooking is a no, you question whether or not you brushed your teeth today, and you know for sure that you haven't showered in a FEW. I would think , "This whole mothering thing seemed a lot more beautiful than this in my head." Even though I had a few people warn me and reassure me that the beginning of this baby's life was not going to be anything I expected, I STILL felt some kind of horrible for disliking this whole parenting thing. I felt like everyone else sat there gazing at their beautiful babies sleeping and meanwhile my baby is sleeping and I am desperately trying to hurry up and wash bottles so I might be able to lay down and sleep for 30 minutes!

Now, everyone is different, every situation is different, everyone's patience levels are different. So while I absolutely love my child and wouldn't trade her for the world, I struggled in the beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was just searching for that smile that would light up my world for those middle of the night feedings and they are just so emotionless in the beginning. Someone else might have had a better breastfeeding experience than I did, someone else might have had more patience in dealing with the crying, and someone else might have enjoyed seeing their baby in the middle of the night. Who knows! I just know I have a newfound respect for moms no matter what their experience is/was.

My biggest struggle being a first time mom started with trying to do the "right thing" every moment of the day. I was doing tons of research to find the very best answers to everything! I put SO much pressure on myself over things that I look back on and think "why"? 
  • I was dedicated to writing down every single feeding, exact times, exact minutes on each breast or ounces from the bottle, followed by exact times I pumped, and exact ounces pumped. If I forgot to write one of those down I would be frantically searching my brain to figure out what time it was.
  • I tried to not use a pacifier in fear of her becoming too attached to it
  • I tried to let her "cry it out" in fear of her being too attached to me
  • I tried to keep her from falling asleep in my arms in fear that she wouldn't ever be able to self soothe herself to sleep
  • I made sure she always slept in her swing for naps and always had noise around her so as she got bigger we wouldn't have to tip toe around
  • I tried to capture a million pictures of her because they say they are little for a short while and you blink and they are 5 years old. But in the beginning was absent from most of the photos because I didn't find the time to take care of myself and when photo ops came, I hadn't showered since Saturday and it was now Monday. I refused to be in pictures. Hello REGRET.
All of these things I had read up on or come across that were telling me what the "perfect mom" should do or would do, and the pressure was on. I felt as though I had something to prove, especially being a young mom. As if the world is watching, waiting for you to make a mistake, I was waiting to make a mistake because it was all so new to me. I say this because before I was a mom, I know I was the one critiquing the moms I would see around and say to myself that I would "never" do that. I remember one time in particular while I was working at AE, there was a new mom in the store strolling her newborn around and her baby started screaming. All of us working were not parents, nor had any idea what it is like to be a parent and we all looked at each other like, "Geez don't you know how to calm your baby down?" As if there is some science to it that every mother is supposed to know. I would say "shame on you" to myself on that day. I look back now and think GOOD FOR HER! She managed to shower, get dressed, put make up on, get the baby dressed, fed, and out the door to get some fresh air. I only hope she didn't feel like she had something to prove either! So as time has passed and Faith is getting into a better schedule thats not as demanding, I am coming to some serious realizations about what I thought I knew and what a waste all the stress was...
  • So what if I forgot to write down the time of a feeding.  I made myself crazy thinking that if I didn't write down every single thing in this journal, my daughter was going to somehow forget to eat at her next feeding... YEAH RIGHT. Lesson learned: I could have set things up easier for myself, maybe used a white board and hung it up where I was going to feed her and just jot down the last time I fed her. Oh yeah, and maybe actually get a rocking chair =]
  • I ultimately gave her the pacifier. And guess what, the fact that she needs her bink to fall asleep and I have to make sure she has it, is ultimately more rewarding for me than having a screaming baby... Lesson learned: I chose the pacifier and if I have to try to ween her off of it one day, then Ill figure that out then... but for now, the pro outweighs the con for me!
  • I just don't think she is a baby that needs to "cry it out". She cried if she needed something, even if she needed extra snuggles from her mama, Im the only familiar thing she knows so I don't blame her!
  • Not letting her fall asleep in my arms has been both a blessing and a curse. I am glad that I don't have to hold her till she falls asleep every time she sleeps, but I wish I wasn't SO anti-baby holding... because now I have a baby that doesn't do the whole "cuddling" thing at all. And gosh dang it I want to cuddle her! Lesson learned: I created what I actually didn't want all because I was convinced it was the "right thing to do" to help her be independent. So what if I held her while she slept from time to time...
  • I was so psycho about her napping in her swing instead of her crib which would make it impossible to get stuff done cause I didn't want to wake her... even if she was used to noise, its just common curtesy to be as quite as you can when someone is sleeping... Lesson learned: I could have maybe put her swing in her room instead... but instead I wasn't really thinking at all!
  • And while I look back at all the pictures I have of her, I am SO glad I have them. But I feel like I put too much pressure on myself over them... I would scroll through millions of photos on pinterest thinking, "WHAT THE HECK! These are so adorable! Why don't I have these kinds of photos??" and I just made myself crazy over stupid stuff like I don't have good enough lighting in here, our sheets should be white, our furniture should be white, our walls should be painted, and we need people to take photos of us playfully laughing and smiling at our baby that allowed about 2 hours of sleep total the night before. Too. Much. Nonsense. Lesson learned: Who cares =] As long as we have pictures thats good enough!
I digress. Enough stress! Your mama instincts are way better than any advice anyone has. Don't get me wrong, some tips and tricks can be great. I have learned a lot from other mamas I admire and respect, but there are things that you will know about your child better than anyone else. Just make sure you take the advice as just that... advice... not the rule. The bond between you and your baby is the most incredible thing, and in all of the stressing its only because of that famous saying "we only want the best for our child". Just be careful as to whose "best" we are going off of. Let me tell you, You are a perfectly imperfect mom. And THAT is the beauty of motherhood.

These are the moments I looked forward to! =]

"The greatest thing she learned is that there's no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one." -Jill Churchhill


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  2. Hi I came across your blog and I LOVED it! You take realllllly CUTE pictures I have to say! I'm new to this whole Blogger thing but I look forward to reading your posts! :]

    1. Thank you so much! Ive never taken classes on photography but have learned so much just snapping a ton and playing with them so its good to hear they aren't too shabby ;] Have fun blogging!! Its so great to be able to look back on old posts, hope you love it as much as I do!

  3. Oh goodness girly! Your post so perfectly describes what a new mom goes through whether some are capable of admitting it or not. I experienced all the same struggles and emotions as you. It was nothing like I thought it was going to be and yet, nobody can prepare you for all the different emotions you'll be going through. Having a baby is the absolute best thing in the entire world, but it also can be very trying, and depressing when you aren't living up to the expectations you've put on yourself because a "book" or a "friend" told you it's the right way to do something. Good for you for realizing this so early into little Faith's life and being so open and honest about it all. I've learned the best thing I can do for my own sanity is to take everything ONE DAY AT A TIME. More than that is sooooo overwhelming.
    I totally enjoyed reading this post. You're such a fabulous mama and Faith is so blessed to have such a fun, honest, loving Mom.