Emma is one year old! Several people have asked me if it seems like “just yesterday” that I went to the hospital and delivered Emma. And, honestly, it seems like a full year ago that my water broke and I delivered my sweet girl. We made so many good memories and had a ton of fun this year. However, there are 10 mistakes that I made in Emma’s first year of life, and I want to share them and encourage you not to make the same mistakes!
1. I felt guilty if I didn’t “enjoy every minute” like people were telling me to in the first few months of Emma’s life. Especially during maternity leave when Emma was tiny, there were some minutes that I was super bored and not enjoying my time at home. I wondered if there was something wrong with me — but then I realized that even good moms don’t enjoy every minute, but they do take advantage of quality time with their little ones and always try to respond in the right way and with a good attitude in the “not so fun” minutes.
2. I wore a bikini outside 3 days after I delivered — pretty sure that was premature! LOL. I should have waited at least 10 days after delivery when my stomach looked decent and I wouldn’t scare the poor neighbors.
3. I listened to all of the negativity surrounding caring for an infant (up all night, sore boobs, never have time to workout, won’t get your pre-baby body back ever, etc, etc, etc), believed every one, and as a result, dreaded the first few months of Emma’s life before I delivered. BUT, my experience was much different than I was “expecting.” Emma was a super star eater and I had no trouble nursing or any boob soreness — at all! Sure, I missed a little sleep, but I never had trouble functioning throughout the day. And I am always able to make time for workouts. I was doing light walking 2 days after delivery, and I haven’t missed a day since.
4. I let other people’s judgement about being a working mom get me down. In the first few months of Emma’s life I was attending a different church than I am now. Not a single Sunday went by when a woman would ask me — can’t you stay home full time with Emma instead of working? I would have to stand there and explain that I actually enjoyed working, and I actually wanted to continue in my career because it provided a healthy balance in my life. Plus, my job was flexible, etc, and I am doing something I am passionate about which gives me more energy with Emma. EVERY Sunday I had to justify myself and I would leave church feeling discouraged and judged. Finally, I left the church and moved to a church with working women — hello — these women do exist even in Christian circles. All of the girls in my small group are young professionals, and I LOVE it!!!
5. I started running less than 2 weeks after I delivered. Yeah — jumped the gun on that one. My body wasn’t quite ready yet and needed more time to heal. I had to suck it up and take a little time off from running until I recovered a bit more.
6. I worried a TON about leaving Emma for the first time overnight. I was supposed to go on a business trip 10 weeks after Emma was born — in Austin TX. I was super pumped about the trip, but then got really nervous about being away from Emma for 4 days. I arranged for her and my husband to come to Austin with me. The trip ended up getting canceled, so it didn’t matter, but still. Then I had another business trip when she was about 6 months old.
Brandon and Emma came with me for the first few nights and were going to leave me alone for the last night. Wellllll, Emma screamed bloody murder when they were leaving, so Brandon chickened out and they stayed with me. Then just a few weeks ago I had a business trip to Vegas. Brandon and I also wanted some time away to celebrate our anniversary. Well, we took the trip without Emma. I was super nervous, but it ended up being really great. We needed some time alone, and she did just fine at home with the grandmas.
7. I pushed myself too hard in workouts for my site, and ended up with a bad butt muscle tear. Haha, yes! I hurt myself over-training and then trying to be super mom and do backyard boot camps for the site while I was injured. I ended up tearing a deep butt muscle, and I am still recovering 4 months later! Bummer!
8. I let other “perfect facebook moms” get me down. You know who I’m talking about — the moms who are constantly posting about pulling a fresh batch of cookies and some homemade bread out of the oven, after spending an hour reading a book to their baby and rocking them to sleep before going on a play date with several other perfect facebook moms at the mall. Yeah — occasionally I feel a little discouraged since I am not domestic, nor do I have time in my 60-80 hour work week to make homemade bread or go on play dates. But, Emma doesn’t need that! She and I spend quality time every day going on fit walks, playing at the park, tickling, laughing, and having fun. She isn’t upset that I’m not walking around with an apron on.
9. I made the mistake of expecting to be completely back to my pre-pregnancy body days after delivery. If you’ve seen my pictures post delivery, you know I looked decent, but I was FAR from my pre-baby body. In fact, it didn’t take one week, one month, or even 2 months — it took closer to 4 or 5 months for me to really look good in a bikini again! I was shocked that it took that long, but it can be done!
10. I made the mistake of worrying that I wasn’t a “good enough” mom. None of us should, but we all do it — compare. Whether it’s with other moms, with other ladies in the gym, or with other co-workers. But stop comparing! I want what’s best for Emma and I work hard every day to make sure she is happy, healthy, and excelling! I read tons of articles about what she should be doing and when, and how to improve her baby skills. I love her more than anyone else in the whole world, and what else could she really ask for?!?! I think about the kind of person that I want Emma to be, and I am that person for her. I pray that one day she looks back and says, “Wow, I have a great mom.”
This is bound to sound cliche, but Emma’s first year has truly been the best year of my life! She is the happiest person I have ever met, and inspires me every day. I cannot wait to share more fun times with her and watch her grow.
If I could give any advice to new moms or mommies to be, I would say this: Figure out what works for you and your family! Every baby is different, and every mom is different! Don’t compare or feel guilty for not doing things the same way that your friends or mom did them. In a lot of cases, there is not a right or wrong answer. I also encourage you not to be judgmental of other moms if they do not do things the way you do or agree with your stance on a certain issue. Best wishes as you continue the journey of parenting. I would love to hear some feedback about some mistakes that you made in the first year of your child’s life and how you learned from it.