Before Hayden was born, I thought I was pretty well prepared to be a mommy. I had worked at several daycare centers in college (and for a few months when we first moved to Pittsburgh) and have friends and family with babies and kids who are pretty great about sharing with me. I have watched my little cousins by myself while their parents were out of town, kept my godchildren and babysat. I was nervous about the whole labor part, but not about the whole bringing baby home and being a mommy part. How quickly I discovered how little I knew! Everything is so different when it's your own and when that little one is your responsibility 24/7. I definitely have a new amount of respect for all of my mommy friends. WOW! Being a mommy is certainly the most rewarding and the hardest job on the planet (as is being a daddy - this is just written from my perspective and in no way is meant to downplay the importance of dads). Here are some things I have realized since becoming Hayden's mommy.
- Sometimes you're doing good just to find time to brush your teeth. Seriously, especially after my Mom went back to Texas, finding time to brush my teeth can be hard. Some days, Hayden just needs me more in the morning and then I am busy doing household chores while he sleeps, so I don't find the time to brush my teeth. I do manage to get them brushed before Chip gets home from work. Now, I have figured it out, after I feed Hayden at 6, I give him to Chip for morning Daddy snuggle time (and Daddy changing diaper time) while I go to the bathroom, take my birth control (weird since I haven't taken it in almost five years), wash my face and brush my teeth. I normally take a shower during one of Hayden's morning naps or I wait until after Chip gets home.
- Yes, it does take three hours sometimes to get out the door. It's the getting out the door part taht is so important. For my mental health, and Hayden's, we need to get out and about - even though it may take me three hours and we only run to Target. The fresh air, seeing other people, it's what we both need. That being said - I won't get out if the weather is iffy - I trust myself, just not other people and don't want to put Hayden in harm's way if I don't have to.
- Spit up down the boobs, in the hair or on your shoulder is just a way of life and can also been thought of as your new perfume. Now, it just makes me laugh. I clean up Hayden and then realize that crusty substance on my chest is from Hayden. I also have learned how important it is to change those pads in my bra, because eww! Not a nice smell.
- There is SO a difference in diapers and diaper rash ointment. I didn't completely get this until Hayden. We have to use a different brand at night because he will wet through his diaper and pj's if we don't. We use Pampers Swaddler diapers during the day and Pampers Baby Dry at night. We have tried many, many brands and these two work the best for us.
- What works for other babies may or may not work for yours and sometimes that changes day to day. You learn that you do what works for your family and go with that. Most importantly, you learn not to judge what works for other families. I was given two books that some friends of ours used and loved - Becoming Babywise and The Happiest Baby on the Block. I read both and tried some techniques from both. Some worked awesome and others failed miserably. From Babywise, I tried following the schedule recommended and putting Hayden down before he was asleep and letting him cry. This went on for 10 minutes - he was so upset that he was doing the hiccup crying. Then I started crying. This didn't work for us - I can't do it and that is okay. One technique that did work from Babywise was, at night, to feed Hayden when he woke up and put him right back down. This normally works - some nights it doesn't and I am okay with that. Chip or I will rock or hold Hayden to settle him down. Crying is his way of telling us that he needs us and we are happy to oblige and comfort him. From Happiest Baby, the swaddling and shhshhing works for us. Hayden doesn't like to be swaddled any longer - but for his first month, he really liked it. Right now, we have a hybrid version of parenting - baby and parent led, attachment, babywise and happiest. This works for our family. Hayden sleeps in his new monkey or in the bassinett beside our bed. He naps wherever he falls asleep - be it his crib, pack and play, monkey, swing or infant seat. Sometimes he sleeps in my arms on or Chip's chest at naptime and we just enjoy those sweet moments, because, before we know it, those moments will be gone.
- You won't hesitate to buy something for your baby, but you (happily) put yourself on the back burner when it comes to buying for yourself. For example, buying a monkey infant seat for your baby and telling your spouse that is your Valentine's gift from him to you.
- You wouldn't trade one moment of your life and now know that your life is complete. The love we have for Hayden is indescribable. He was well worth the wait and we love him so very much. Look at his sweet face - how could we not fall in love the instant we saw it (and before)?