One year a family of three. Stuff I've learned:
-How to do stuff with one hand. I can make a sandwich, dry myself off after a shower, put makeup on, type and perform other basic computer functions, open a single-serving yogurt container, cut up a banana or peach or apple, unlock and load things into the car, and feed the dogs... with a baby on my hip.
-The importance of relating to other moms. For me not so much talking to "seasoned" moms, but being in community with moms who are in the trenches, going through the same things I am, with babies and kids around for the same age as my own. Especially other first time moms. When I was growing up I always thought it was kind of weird that my mom's best friends were pretty much my best friends' moms -- totally get it now. If you're a new mom too and you've met me within the last year... thank you for being in my life. [and thanks for reading, P.S.]
-Stuff gets dirty. You might remember my post quite a few months back about needing to wash the sheets. Well, that has pretty much translated to needing to wash the whole house.
-Nothing works for everyone. Every child is different. Every week is different. But I read it on the internet that so and so's baby did such and such..... I had to learn to curb my control-freak instincts and move into a place of flexibility and compromise. I expect this to only grow. I also have had to learn not to compare myself to other moms with other kids, or compare other kids to my own. Sleep schedules, eating habits, sizes, milestones, there is so much variation!
-Quality time with your husband is important. We don't have this down pat, but I really recognize the value of the quality time when it comes. It is so difficult to find time in our crazy life to stop everything else and just be with each other. and when we do, it is so hard to turn out the mental distractions and to-do lists. I know couples who go on date nights on a regular basis and it really works for them. Maybe someday we will establish a routine and a rhythm in our family that allows us this. I confess that time and task management are the most difficult areas of our lives. There's so much we want to do and so little time to do it. Says the girl who is blogging instead of writing today's share of the birthday party thank you notes. [the birthday party was amazing btw... can't wait to share pictures next week!]
-We want more, we want more. Like, you really like it, you want more. When Penny was a newborn and people would be all like "so when do you think you'll have another one?" -- I'd be all like "You're talkin crazy right now." And then my sister-in-law told me that you don't start having the urge to have more babies until your "baby" is capable of crawling or running away from you... that's when your arms start to ache with newborn-emptiness. Well, I get it. I'm not saying we are or aren't getting back on the train again any time soon, I'm just saying I get it. I want more.
-Being a mom doesn't make you a chef overnight. I thought it might. To my husband's unspoken dismay, the only extended cooking I have done has been learning how to steam vegetables, and making more desserts for parties. I still hate the thought of touching raw meat, especially chicken. And as long as I am working outside the home, I don't foresee myself becoming a daily cook any time soon. But never say never.
-I'm not a good gardener, either. From oversight I starve my plants. I first potted plants and flowers to adorn our patio before we had dogs, before we had baby. Life was so simple then. Those flowers and my little volleyball team were the only things in life that needed my nurturing. I tended to them so lovingly because I so wanted something to nurture [a.k.a. my ovaries were hollering]. Since then we have potted flowers every season to keep things looking fresh, but they die sooner and sooner now every time. Neglect. Baby trumps Dogs, Dogs trump Potted Plants. This might not be the equation in everyone's home, but so it is at the Griffin residence. Sorry plants. I won't kill any more of your kin by starvation, we'll only plant more of you if/when we have a drip system in place for your pots.
-Time flies, take video! Pictures are awesome but video captures your baby and your life in a way that a photo just can't. Sometimes I might go read old posts on my blog, or look at older photographs of Penelope and me and I can't even remember what it felt like to be in that stage of motherhood. Video is the best way to be reminded of the way she was.
In true milestone form, the week of Penny's first birthday we bought and installed her next car seat. The convertible. It's big. And bulky. And she can't be carried around in it like she could her bucket -- I miss that already. As I read the Britax manual, I thought gosh this is so much more complicated than the last car seat. More complicated indeed. Cheers to this next car seat, and this new year of parenting.