My babies are ONE YEAR OLD!!! That means we all survived!!! How, I’m honestly not sure, but I decided to sit down and reflect on my first year of motherhood. I couldn’t help but find a few key words to summarize all the things I thought about.
PC :: Emily Hardy Photography
TIRED: I’ve never been so tired in my life as I was when these girls were waking, multiple times at night to be fed. That can’t be easy for any mom, but let me tell you—when there were points, after the middle of the night feedings stopped, or when someone was sick, that they took turns getting up I was literally up from 11pm-4am straight with one baby and then the other; it was like one would go to sleep, I’d lay down, and then all of a sudden the next would wake-she’d go down and the first baby would wake up again. I’d finally get to sleep and then they’d get up at 5:30am for the day. I’ll just say I understand why sleep deprivation is a torture mechanism.
The funny thing is, even now that they’re older I’m still tired—but it’s a different kind of tired—it’s from chasing and entertaining them all day. But, it’s do-able and just a state of parenthood that I think you get used to.
CONFUSED: I’m a planner—an over planner in fact. AND, I’m a researcher. I have never studied so hard in my life as I did reading articles and pins and posts and all sorts of things about newborns as I did when I was pregnant. I felt prepared, I loved babies, I have a Master’s in Child Development, I have this. And yet, after they arrived, it didn’t take long for me to realize I’d never been so confused in my life! Babies were supposed to be easy, they eat, sleep, cuddle, and poop right? WRONG. There were times I thought for sure their random crying meant they hated me. There were times I thought for sure I was never going to see them smile. There were times I felt like I’d never get it right. But, then you know what? I realized sometimes babies just cry (yes, I watched and rewatched the Purple Crying DVD repeatedly but it wouldn’t sink in). And, sometimes you snuggle and love on them, but they’re still going to cry—it’s not something you’re doing necessarily so take a deep breath, find ways to relax, and know this too shall pass.
SO GRATEFUL: I don’t know how to express my thankfulness at the ability to bear and raise these babies. It was a struggle to get here, and there had been times I never thought we’d be here, yet somehow through whatever powers that be, I’ve been blessed to be on this journey of motherhood. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about those struggling and send a wish into the universe that they find peace in whatever way possible. And then, I undoubtedly think of how grateful I am to be right here- even if sometimes it means being covered in boogers and feeling like I will never get ahead of my to-do list.
BUSY: I’ve come to realize that being busy is another state of parenthood that never goes away. When they’re newborns it’s being busy planning ahead for the next feeding , or getting things done in between trying to sleep and keep them happy. As they get older it’s busy trying to figure out schedules and sticking to them while still getting out of the house. And then as they’re older still it’s busy keeping them busy so you can get things done without them getting into trouble. You’re just busy. ALWAYS. Not to scare any soon to be mamas—there’s downtime, but you have to plan it out, and often get a babysitter.
APOLOGETIC: I’ve apologized a million times over to friends and family for not understanding, REALLY understanding, what their life with kids was like before I was actually here. I mean, I was good about being there for friends with babies and making them food, bringing the gifts, checking in. But still, I didn’t GET IT. It’s made me a lot more open-minded not just about having kids, but other states in life—I’m not walking in anyone else’s shoes, so I can’t understand their position. I’m thankful this is somewhere motherhood has helped me grow.
HILARIOUS: As much work as it all is, as tired and as busy as I am, I laugh, on a daily basis, at the smallest, and sometimes big things. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not entertained by the wonder and amazingness that is my children. The day I got projectile pooped on by a 3 week old—I laughed. When Mackenzie said “mama” with a sour look on her face, I laughed (and cried). Now that they’re walking and trying to dance, I laugh at how they often look like drunken adults stumbling home from the bars. And sometimes even at the things that aren’t great-like when they get into coffee powder or tear all your tupperware out of a drawer, you laugh, because quite frankly, sometimes that’s all you can do.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE: Yes, I know this is more than one word, but it’s true. I don’t know how we would have made it without our friends and family lifting us up, making meals, sending us kind thoughts, stopping by, and helping us get out of the house and reminding us we were someone outside of our kids too. Now as they’re older and always going in opposite directions, I think about the times I take them out and a stranger hands me a dropped cup, or another mom helps one of my littles climb up onto the mat at open gym because I’m picking the other baby up after a fall. I hope I can be that for other mothers too-in those moments my arms aren’t already full of baby.
In the end, this was the best year of my life—it just keeps getting better and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us all. I remember a friend saying to me once, “the days are long but the years are short”, and I’ve never believed it to be more true than I do now—I can’t believe it’s been a year!