The Life Not My Own

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

First Baby Regrets



We all have regrets.  It seems that life can’t be lived without them.  Nobody knows this more keenly than us mamas.  They tell you that it’ll go fast and to savor the moments, and you believe it will, but then you still lose precious time.  Here are some things that I wish I’d done, didn’t do, or done more of with Miles that I’m hoping to at least try for this second baby:

-Stop reading books and googling things.  My first baby just did not fit the mold.  He didn’t fall into his own schedule by three months, he didn’t like the bouncy seat, he hated riding in the car, and he didn’t sleep as much as he was “supposed” to.  I wish I’d stopped looking things up, thinking there was something wrong with me, and just embraced my precious son for who he was. 

-Stop the Diet Coke addiction.  I rarely drank sodas, but somehow in the first month of exhausted, colic-filled motherhood it became a ritual for me to drive to McDonald’s every afternoon, order a giant Diet Coke for 69 cents (because that evil special happened at my most vulnerable time), and drive around while my son slept for a few precious minutes.  While there was nothing inherently wrong with that, I really felt like I wasted a lot of time when I could have been drinking something more nourishing (tea or even COFFEE anyone?), perhaps napping myself, and not pouring aspartame into my body.  Plus, as tired as I was, I probably had no business driving. ;)

-Be okay when baby cries.  Sometimes, no matter what you do, the baby will just not stop crying.  Instead of feeling like a failure as a mother, accept this, know it won’t last long, and move on.  Keep dark chocolate on hand for moments such as this.

-Ask for help.  I really am too stubborn and independent for my own good.  I needed to ask for help more, even if it was just asking my husband to vacuum the living room. 

-Kick the old men off the church couches.  Miles was never one of those babies that would sleep through church or quietly coo.  From the start he was LOUD.  He was also a very noisy nurser, especially when we were having troubles in the first few months.  I usually got stuck in the nursery or in the lonely, depressing, nursing mother’s room.  The church lobby has monitors, but the nice, cushy couches that you can actually see them from are always taken by this group of older men.  I wish I had been more vocal and asked them to scoot over.  That would have been the perfect spot for me and my noisy baby.

-Give yourself some slack.   I felt like such a failure those first few months.  I would think about all the things the new pioneer mommas had to do and think there was something wrong with me.  I couldn’t even keep the dishes clean or the floor swept!  You know what?  I needed to stop comparing myself to some imaginary standard that wasn’t even real, and just do what was possible for me.

-Stop pushing baby onto the next phase.  People tell you not to do this, but you don’t really get it until you experience it yourself.  All too soon that sweet baby will be rolling over, crawling, and walking…and all too soon they’ll be wanting daddy instead of you.  Embrace this season and moment, because it’s all too fleeting.  Yes, it may seem like life will be much easier when they don’t have to be held all the time…but you’ll miss those sweet snuggles.

-Be more vocal in general.  It really is okay to decline a get together with friends or family because you know it will be way too over stimulating to your high-needs kid.  It’s okay to ask to dim the lights or turn the tv off or to have your fussing baby back.  Don’t put your desire not to step on people’s toes above your and your baby’s needs.

-Let baby come into bed.  I felt guilty for a long time for not being able to get Miles to sleep anywhere but beside me.  I shouldn’t have.  For awhile, he needed that.  My almost-two-year-old now tells us he’s sleepy and asks to go “night night” in hi own bed.  It won’t last forever…savor the sweet snuggles. 

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