As my husband and I approach Olyvia’s first birthday, I find myself pumping an imaginary break pedal…wishing feverishly for time to stop or just slow down. I am stunned to look back and realize that a year has, quite literally, gone by in the blink of an eye…the sand is swiftly moving through the hour glass and the “newborn” I had is now a toddler…with 8 teeth…and a thirst for exploration and adventure. No longer is she the nursing 2 month old quietly sleeping in my arms; she is her own little lady…and a busy one at that!
When I discovered I was pregnant, I did what anyone would likely do – went to Amazon and ordered a dozen different What-to-Expect type “handbooks”. Like the good student I’ve always been, I read every one…cover to cover…and in the end, I learned nothing about my child. Every baby is different and, for me, the books I read gave me more anxiety than peace. One book, in particular, painted such a horrific description of labor and delivery that by the closing chapter I was convinced it was written by Stephen King. 🙂 My point is this – while books can be useful, they will NOT tell you what makes your child “tick”. If I could, I would tell my past self to rely on my instincts and intuition a little more and worry a little less about “what the chapter says”. I would also stop fearing the labor and delivery experience. Advice I’ve given to two of my friends who recently had babies…don’t view labor as your biggest fear…regard it as your greatest accomplishment. Anyone that has gone through the experience knows that it is truly a miracle…for more than one reason…I mean, let’s be honest…10 cm isn’t what one would characterize as comfy. 😉
If I could rewind time, I would also recognize and appreciate my own growth as a mom. This takes reflection and consciousness raising…difficult to do in a sleep deprived state, but absolutely necessary. As women, we always fall in to a trap of comparing ourselves to each other or to some unattainable airbrushed standard. The stakes seem even higher when you become a mom – the pressure to do it all and do it all well is heavy. In the past year, I’ve learned to let the little things go…and to forgive myself. My biggest and most important job is to love my daughter and raise her to be a capable, confident, and quality individual. Stop comparing yourself to anyone else. Get to know yourself as a mom; get to know your child and the rest will come. Don’t focus so much on having a parenting style…I’m proud to say my “style” is trial and error. 🙂 It seems to be working and when it doesn’t, I try again. You’ll win some; you’ll lose some…such is life. Again, there are no perfect parents or perfect children, but there are a lot of perfect moments along the journey. Enjoy it, capture it, and remember it.