As my baby boy will soon be turning one, I felt that now was a good time to reflect on my first year with him. There are so many clichés I could insert here, but the one I’ll go with is that it’s been absolutely the best year of my life. In the short time since I’ve had the Squish, I’ve learned a few things.
From labor onward, I learned that he’s really the one running the show. I just have to catch up. For instance, I had originally planned for a home birth, but I ended up having an emergency C-section. Talk about unexpected. I’d read all the information I could get my hands on about reducing the likelihood of having a c-section by avoiding painkillers and walking and moving during labor. I thought there was no way I’d have a c-section. I had completely prepared myself to sing the praises of home birth after delivery, but that’s just not how he wanted to make his entrance. He had somehow used his umbilical cord to attempt to strap himself in for the long haul: it was wrapped tightly around his shoulder, his thigh, and then to add points for style, it had a knot in it. Being the type A that I am, the unexpected is still hard for me to take. I’m still working on rolling with the punches more. I’m learning how to be peaceful when a desperately needed nap is interrupted by a baby who decides he doesn’t need his. I’m working on being patient when plans take ten times longer because he has a blowout or is suddenly starving. Long story short, I’ve learned that parenthood is a never ending series of plot twists.
Oh, yes. When I was pregnant I had so many good intentions.
“My kids will never have screen time.”
“I will never ignore my kids to play on my phone!”
“My kids will never have junk food.”
“My kids won’t ever have a drop of formula.”
“I’m going to use exclusively cloth diapers.”
The list goes on and on. It’s embarrassing when I think about it. I’ve already broken so many of my “nevers” because the truth is, in parenting, there are no absolutes. When you’re in the trenches of parenthood, you do what you have to do to survive sometimes.
Replace “it” with whatever you’d like. Crying. Singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider five hundred times in a row. Diapers so putrid they require a Hazmat team. It really is different. I didn’t quite believe this, and it was kind of a point of anxiety during pregnancy because I felt confused and awkward with other people’s kids. I still sometimes feel that way. With the Squish, though, it comes naturally. I can hold entire “conversations” with him throughout the day without feeling like a dork.
Seriously. All kids are different. All moms are different. Read as much as you’d like, but don’t let it freak you out. Realize that what’s written on the internet is not gospel truth. For instance, sleep training. I read all about the horrors of it, and how it would ruin my kid and cause brain damage. I didn’t think I’d do it. Then he was 6 months old and wouldn’t sleep with or without me. He wanted me next to him but was too restless with me there to sleep well. Guess who sleep trained? This girl. Guess who went to sleep in 5 minutes by the third night? The Squish. He was so ready for me to teach him how to sleep on his own. The best thing you can follow in motherhood is your own intuition, coupled with a lot of prayer. Remember that you were selected to be the mother to your individual child; you are what he or she needs to develop the way they need to, and they are what you need to grow as an individual.
I’ve had a hard time settling into my new role at times. While I immediately loved him and loved being a mom, it’s certainly not a glamorous job. There are many times I’ve felt invisible, alone, and insignificant. Growing up and even through college, I’d always had high aspirations. I’ve wanted to be so many things: a doctor, a lawyer, an FBI agent. You name it. What I craved most was to command respect from those around me. To be in control. To be seen. To be important. The biggest thing I’ve learned this year is that none of my former aspirations compare in importance to raising my son. I see much of society around me crumbling and realize that I am the only one who can provide him the tools and armor with which to navigate a fallen world. I am his first, and often his only, line of defense. It’s up to me to teach him how to love, how to fight, how to be honorable, humble, honest, and righteous. It’s a huge responsibility, but if God saw fit to bestow it upon me I know I am equal to the task with His help.
This first year has been so absolutely amazing. I am so excited to see what the next years bring. I know things can only get better from here.
Kid, I love you. I’m so grateful I get to be your mom.
I’m a twenty-something LEO wife and stay-at-home mom to a one-year-old little boy. I enjoy writing, reading, taking my son for walks and runs in the stroller, and crafting. My goal is for Love and Blues to be a resource for first responders and their families. I write about marriage and family topics, as well as about the quirks that come with being married to a man in law enforcement, firefighting, or emergency medical services.
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