Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lessons learned

Becoming a parent is hard work. You are thrown into the deep end with no instructions on how to survive. You get all sorts of unwanted advice and some that you want. But most of the time we play with trial and error and we learn from our mistakes. So here are some of the lessons I have learned the hard way.

  1. don't wake her up unless you mean it.
  2. Don't let her nap until 9 p.m. And definitely don't be naive and think she will sleep through the night after that nap.
  3. Trust your instincts and ignore the advice of well meaning family members and friends. If you wanted their opinion you would ask for it, but that doesn't mean you are going to act on it. And that's okay.
  4. Stick to your guns even when it hurts. If you want to breastfeed or use cloth diapers do it because it's important to you, but don't give up because it's hard. You don't know if you can be successful until you try. And if you quit just because it's hard you might regret it later. And don't let someone talk you out of it just because it might be easier.
  5. Be willing to make mistakes so that you can learn from them. Learning how to be a parent is one of the hardest things I am learning how to do. But when she smiles in her sleep, it is absolutely rewarding. Even though it is not intentional.
  6. It's okay to call the pediatrician every time you have a question. And it's okay to call your daycare provider too. They both have a better idea of what is going on and more experience than  you. Why not use it? It's what they are there for. To help you out. Ask questions - especially the dumb ones. You will feel so much better having asked them.

  7. As the parent you get to make the rules for everyone else interacting with your child. You can say no to your mother and mother-in-law. They were both upgraded to Grandmother status and are not in charge. Tell them no ahead of time instead of correcting them afterwards. I still struggle to tell my mom to stop doing things that make me uncomfortable with Eliana - because she is my mom. I am getting better about it, but it is hard.
  8. Go with it. You never know what she is going to show you. She could show you how to sit, crawl, walk, talk, share, smile, go down the slide face first. You just never know. So take a breath, let her hold your hand, and smile. Your child is about to do something amazing. 

I love being a mom. I love it so much. I can't imagine my life without that little Jellybean. She has taught me so much and changed the way I live my life. She has mellowed most (not all) of my rough edges and made me more able to go with the flow. 

My favorite memories of these last 14 months? When she smiled at me for the first time. She held my hand for the first time. She hugged me. Her face lit up as I walked into the room.  In fact, it does every morning as I go in to wake her up. When she calls for Mama at daycare - Marilyn tells her that Mama is there, and she calls for me. I love it. 

Happy Mother's Day to me this year and every day that I am blessed to be a mom and the Mom in this family and house. It is a blessing. And I am thankful for having the opportunity to learn every day from an amazing little runt.

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