Monday, April 2, 2012

One Year Later... Top 10 List!

My kid is 1..

which means we survived our first year of parenthood.

And in celebration of that amazing feat ;) I thought I'd document some things.

Here's a TOP 10 LIST of what I learned my first year of parenting :)

1. Spontaneity is out the door. You read that right, folks. If you are pregnant, expecting to become pregnant, trying to be come pregnant... be prepared. It's not a bad thing, just something you have to get used to. When someone calls and says, "Hey, want to meet up for some lunch in 20 minutes?" You immediately think: "She hasn't had a nap and is due any time, she hasn't eaten yet, I need to pack some diapers, what's the weather like, is she wearing the right clothes, does she need a jacket, where are my keys, lets fill up the bottles and sippy cup, where's the formula...." and you processed all of that in about 35 seconds ;) Then, you change her diaper, get her ready, pack the diaper bag, scrub off the leftover Sweet Potatoes off your shirt, freshen your make-up, fill bottles, and head out the door! It's all for love, but it is exhausting at times, haha! We were talking the other day about how when you used to go to ball games, you took your purse. Now, you take a closet ;)

2. DVR is your friend. Yes, once your child is old enough to decide that he or she enjoys a TV show, you WILL watch every episode at least 40x... maybe more. You will become aware of every character. You might even look on Wikipedia at their background story... And the days of you watching YOUR TV show could be out the window ;) That my friend is why recording shows is perfect. Because then while they're napping or preoccupied with a friend you can indulge on 'Desperate Housewives' or '16 and Pregnant' or 'Once Upon a Time.' 

3. Date nights are ALRIGHT and they are NEEDED. When I first had Tayler, I would feel terrible if we laid her down in her bassinet and spent time talking. I'd feel terrible if we left her alone to cook dinner. I don't know why, but I had in mind that that made me a bad parent... like I was neglecting her. So, you can imagine how difficult it was for me to actually leave her alone for a night out with Ethan. I struggled so bad. I cried prior to my parents arriving (they were her babysitters for the night!) I cried when we got in the car to leave. I texted about 20 times prior to our shopping trip... but after spending the evening with Ethan, I realized that it was needed. After having her, life seemed to get away from us. We didn't have time to just sit down and talk. We needed to reconnect.. and guess what? That's okay! Mommies and Daddies need that. And you aren't a bad parent if you take a night for just you and your significant other! In fact, I think that makes you a BETTER parent. You will be more stable and united if you do that. So, don't be like me-- don't feel like you're abandoning your child. Enjoy it! It's okay!

4. You will catch up on sleep when your children are grown! ;) Sleeping surely becomes a thing of the past, but that's alright! The key is: NAP WHEN THEY NAP. I was someone who had a hard grasping that concept when Tayler was younger. I spent her 'nap time' doing everything else in the house besides taking care of myself. I learned that sleep makes the whole house better. If Momma is happy, everyone is happy. Remember that ;) Even now, with Tayler waking up about once a night, I still take naps when she naps (sometimes!) because I know I need it. It's not all of the time, but when I am feeling exhausted, I know that I need time to regroup and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

5. You will learn to enjoy the outdoors. Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you to come in when the street light came on? Yea.. and you pitched a fit? Yep! You guessed it! Kids love outside. Kids hate coming inside. It's just simple math, haha! I have learned that you must distract as soon as you walk through the door to avoid that flippity-flopping on the ground! If I even move near the door, Tayler starts crying. Learn to embrace the outside and spend as much time out there as possible! It's healthy for you!

6. You have to quit listening to everyone else. Everyone does parenting different. You'll figure that out. Some don't believe in co-sleeping, some do. Some breastfeed, some don't. Some do cry it out, others don't. There will be different milestones at different times for every baby. If you keep listening to what everyone else says, you'll never follow your heart or your instinct. Do what is best for your baby! You will literally drive yourself crazy worrying about what everyone else thinks, so stop. Some women probably hate me. I co-sleep, I still rock her to sleep for nap times, I breast fed for only one month, she's a year old and still uses a bottle AND a binky, she watches TV, and she eats table food. BUT she also can say 11 words, understands and listens to the word 'No', loves to listen to us read to her, gets a bath every single night, is always dressed nicely, always has her hair done, has her fingernails clipped each week, is extremely social, loves kids, and loves us. To some, I might not be a good parent, but I know my kid is loved and I know she is happy and that is all that matters to me! That should be all that matters to you too! :)

7. He or she is going to get hurt. It's inevitable, y'all! They are going to fall down. They will get some bumps. They will get some bruises.. probably a few scraps and they'll bleed their own blood ;) (Nice reference, huh?) You can try and prevent it, but ultimately it comes down they're kids. They're ornery. They're brave. They'll try new things without thinking anything about it. They are fearless. And if it means running, falling face first, and getting scraped up... then so be it! Of course, they'll cry like you dumped their formula down the toilet for awhile, but it'll be alright. They'll heal. And so will you after that first traumatizing experience. Let them have fun. Don't restrict them because you are 'scared.' Never let your fears rub off on them! :)

8. Your priorities shift. Where once you were worried about what you are going to eat, what you are going to wear... your first thought is: 'Lets get the baby ready, figure out what they're going to be doing today, then I'll worry about myself!' I find myself going to restaurants and looking on the menu and deciding what I can have BASED on what I can share with Tayler ;) And guess what? You sometimes don't even realize you do this.. and honestly, you don't even mind. Because they are worth it! They are worth it beyond what you could even fathom. You take the time to break up their food before eating, making sure they have something to drink... all before even smelling yours. It's called love. :)

9. Saying 'No' is okay! When I first started telling Tayler 'No' I felt terrible. I didn't want her to be spoiled.. or a little brat, but I also didn't want to not give her things. She was my baby. I'd prayed for 39 weeks that she would be alright. I prayed that she would be healthy and happy.. and here she is! Happy! Why would I want to limit giving her anything? But it's needed. There are things she does not need to get into. There are things that can hurt her. She needs to learn to share, not to hurt other kids, etc. Telling them 'No' doesn't hurt them or hinder them.. it helps them and blesses them beyond belief!!

10. You will become someone you never thought you would be. And it is perfect. When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared. I was afraid of not being a good mother, of my relationship changing with my husband. I was afraid of it all. But.. one year later. I can't help but thank God above for all that He has done for my family. I love being a mother. I love the person it has made me. I know what unconditional love is now. I know what it is not to care about yourself. To give everything you have to another person. I know what it is to watch someone sleep at night and shed a tear.. just because they look so beautiful and peaceful. I know what it is to not just pray for myself, but to plead the blood over another soul.. and her future. I am thankful I have a man that took it upon his shoulders to take care of us. Ethan has become an amazing father and an amazing husband. Our love is on a whole other level. We had to learn what love was... not only based on the physical (a baby in your bed at night does that to someone ;) haha!) but we had to know what kind of love we had based strictly on our hearts. We had to know what we loved each other.. even when the tough times came. Being a parent has changed my life and I'm so thankful that God did it for me! I wasn't planning on having a baby, but I guess that's why God handles that stuff, right? ;) He knows what is best for us!

What is on your top 10 list of what you have learned since becoming a parent?? 

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