Happy Tuesday. I hope ya’ll had an amazing weekend. Max and I headed to visit my family on Saturday. We had the most special time with my mama, dad, brother, sister, and niece. It felt like old times we joked, because our husbands weren’t there. Just back to the original crew, plus two cute additions. Seeing my dad play with our babies is one of the greatest joys of my life. It reminds me of when I was little and he was making me laugh and laugh. Brooke (my niece) and Maxwell would just wait their turn when he was playing with the other one, they couldn’t get enough of his shenanigans.
On Sunday we went to the zoo for the Block Melanoma run and walk. Since my sister Krystle is 36 weeks pregnant, she opted for the walk. My mom and her were sweet enough to offer to watch Max, so that I could do the 5K without a stroller. Ya’ll, I felt SO darn good during the race. I had to keep reminding myself that I was pregnant. As I mentioned on Instagram I used the “talk test”, which basically means you talk aloud to make sure you can carry on a conversation. My OB suggested this because heart rates aren’t always the best indicator of the work. I continue to feel SO well during pregnancy, still not feeling any symptoms of our growing little bean.
I’ve read and loved many, many blog posts like this. I decided to speak from my heart and to not look at anything for inspiration. I wanted these to be MY lessons from my unique experience with Maxwell.
What I’ve Learned in My First Year of Being Max’s Mama
Take time to do things you love.
In my new role of mama, it was important for me to still be Amy and have some time to myself. Very early on, my sweet indulgence for the day would be to take a shower at night with Pandora blaring so there was no chance of hearing a crying baby. Maxwell had a crying period every night that lasted about an hour and a half right before bedtime (at that time bedtime was about 11pm). Since I had been mommin’ all day, it was amazing to slip into a hot shower for 15 minutes and I knew that Maxwell was in daddy’s capable hands. Truth be told, there wasn’t a thing that either of us could do during those crying periods anyway.
Then my breaks got a little longer and I would often to go for a walk by myself or to go to the gym. I loved it. Just that little bit of time away refreshed me. Now that we have a stable little human I love grabbing dinner or even getting an eyebrow wax and Target run in alone. It truly is the little things, but I know that these little examples of me time makes me a better mama and wife.
Stick up for your mommin’ skills.
I wrote a blog post about how my sweet mother-in-law kept making comments that made me feel like I wasn’t doing things right. Because it was happening often, I knew that right thing to do was to have a conversation with her. I’m a huge believer in going straight to the person, instead of going through someone else (aka having my husband talk to his mama). I knew things would get lost in translation (bless his heart) and that if I was really a part of their family, I get to share my feelings too. Everything got SO much better after I just simply said something like, “It bothers me and makes me feel like you don’t think I’m taking care of Maxwell well when you are constantly making suggestions and trying to tell me how to take care of my baby.” She completely understood, apologized, and changed her ways! It has made our relationship SO much better and avoided a resentment that I was starting to feel. Here is the thing: when you are a new mama, you are figuring things out. Even your not yet mama friends will have suggestions like, “I think I’m going to be more chill about their nap times.” Um, okay. Maybe you will, or maybe you’ll realize why nap time is so darn cherished.
You do know your baby the best (especially when they were last fed, changed, napped, etc). People will be very quick with “suggestions” but don’t you worry, you are doing amazing. If someone is making you feel otherwise, don’t be afraid to stick up for the way you are parenting.
It won’t all go according to plan.
You might have this amazing day planned and then your baby is the crabbiest little baby of all time. Or they might be hangry during your family photo shoot. I learned quickly to adjust my sails and expectations of the day. To go with the flow a little more than I was used to. It is okay! It’s an adventure!
You’re stronger and more patient than you ever realized.
Making it through our trials of breastfeeding were tough. I had this amazing little baby that made me way stronger than I had anticipated needing to be. But, for him…I could do it. Patience just might be the key to parenting and staying in love with your spouse. Lord knows you will need it with these little loves, and somehow you do have it. Just take a few deep breaths, realize how darn lucky you are, and reset.
You’re gonna miss this.
As much as we were SO excited and thankful to have this little love, there were definitely challenging parts of new parenthood. Of course everyone knows about the lack of sleep. As a breastfeeding mama, it was hard because only I could soothe him in the middle of the night during those early months (he needed to eat). At first I had all this new mama adrenaline and honestly felt pretty well rested even with the middle of the night 2-3 hour long awake periods Maxwell would have. And then a few months in, I got to a point when I was like…”AH! I just need to sleep more!” I was slightly desperate and I remember posting something on Instagram about it. My friend Michelle (mama of 2, about to be 3) responded by saying she would start singing the song ‘You’re Gonna Miss This’ at times like that. Because how long do you get to rock your babies for?! They grow up SO fast and she told me in a few months he won’t need me at all during the night and then I would miss rocking him. It was the perfect refresh for me to realize that our baby wasn’t quite ready to sleep through the night yet, and it would happen someday soon. And, it did!
If you are lucky enough to have a parenting partner, work together!
Oh my Lord, thank you Jesus for Drew. I’ve said it many times before, but he is the best daddy to Maxwell that I could imagine. He loves it! He looks forward to playing with him, encourages me to do things aside from being mama (he loves having a little daddy/Max time), and he was the one that usually pushes us out of our comfort zone (wanted to go out and do things with newborn Max). As I’ve mentioned many, many times before it is SO important for us to come together during stressful days than creating more stress by being rude to each other. It takes work, and sometimes you just have to say what you need from you partner, but you learn how to be the best parents that you can be together.
It isn’t how they act, it is how you react.
My dad often says, “What is more interesting than how the child acts out, is how the parent reacts to it.” That has stuck with me. As Max has entered a period where he will throw a little tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants or cries when we say the word “No!” I have further realized the importance of my reactions. I always think to myself, “I’m the adult, I’m more capable of being steadfast in my emotions.” I truly believe you have to lead by your little duckling by example, so I cannot be reactionary or raise my voice during stressful times.
Mamahood looks beautiful on you, at every stage.
Mamahood is going to challenge your self confidence and body imagine. Your body is going to go through many changes. One thing I learned from having Maxwell is to be patient and kind to myself during postpartum. After Max came, I really had to focus on how to be a mama including how to breastfeed and take care of this new fragile life. I ate more than I ever have in my life because I was constantly starving. I couldn’t worry about losing the pregnancy weight, I needed to nourish myself to nourish Max. I listened to my body when it said that walking was all it could handle.
Guess what?! Even with my slow and safe approach all of the pregnancy weight came off (and then 5 pounds) and I was literally stronger than ever before getting pregnant again (based on the amount of weight I could lift).
Of course, I had stumbling points along the way. Like when the scale got stuck with 10 pounds to go. Or when I would try on one of my normal tops and it wouldn’t fit right. This time around I feel more prepared for moments like this and now I know that I can do it. I know now to keep on being patient and not to worry about getting into my regular clothes too fast.
You just created a life mama! Your body did an amazing thing! Honor it and be kind to it as it heals. Know that you can back to where you feel more comfortable, but along the way…remember that the squish gave you a BABY!
Every baby is different.
My niece Brooke and Maxwell couldn’t be more different. Max as a newborn took 45 minutes to eat per nursing session and then wanted to eat an hour later. Little miss Brooke only ever took 15 minute little nursing sessions. Now that they are older and sticking with the eating theme: Max is a crazy eater. Food gets everywhere including his hair and all over the floor. He shovels food in with both hands until his mouth is completely full. Brooke nicely picks up each piece of food and puts in in her mouth. If she drops something on the floor, she points to it until you pick it up. She probably doesn’t even need to wear a bib. Some babies crawl and walk sooner than others. What I’ve come to realize is that none of that matters. You have the little love you have and it doesn’t matter what his cousin does better or faster. It doesn’t matter if you friend has a “chill baby” and yours was crazy for a few months. Just like in adulthood, comparison doesn’t do anyone any good 😉
You’re going to love this little person more than you ever knew was possible.
Drew and I still gush over everything Maxwell does. We are so deep in love with being his parents that it is truly indescribable. He is the best thing that has ever happened to us and our marriage and we are looking forward to seeing him grow and develop more and more. We’ve loved your first year more than any other time in our lives little buddy. Xo.