Being pregnant for 9 months gives you a whole lot of time to think about what life will be like. Being the Type A that I am, I read all the books, downloaded all the baby apps, and read every single parenting article that came across my newsfeed. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on what motherhood is like, how being a mom would change me, what my days would be like, what I would do (and not do). But boy oh boy -pun intended- and one year later, how wrong was I.
1. Baby Clothes
I always thought I would dress my little babe in the cutest, coolest clothes out there. That I would buy from all of the adorable Etsy Shops, splurge on the most adorable outfits at Baby Gap and H&M, and little Emerson would be the hippest little dude around. He would sport zip up hoodies, graphic tees, and the cutest pair of boots you ever did see. I began to follow children’s clothing boutiques on Instagram and taking screenshots to keep outfit ideas saved.
Hahahaha. I was SO foolish. That stuff is spennnd-y! Don’t get me wrong, those little outfits are absolutely adorable but when I don’t even buy myself a new top for $15, I sure as heck am not buying my baby a shirt for $15, or an outfit for $30, that he’ll outgrow in weeks. (Ugggh. When did I get so practical???! I really am a mom.) And when they’re crawling all over the floor and drooling on everything, those cute outfits just don’t seem ideal. Maybe my casual style is rubbing off on him, but I think he looks the absolute cutest in his solid-colored onesies and a pair of comfy pants. Cozy and ready for some cuddles! 🙂
I thought I’d be the “easy-going” mom, being able to leave my babe at home with Dad or Grandma, walk out the door with not a care in the world. I thought I would enjoy running my errands babyless, tossing my phone on the passenger seat and not worrying about how the little is doing. He’s in good hands, why worry? ENJOY this time to myself, I thought. I would be fine having girl’s nights out, sipping on wine and actually forgetting about being a mom for an hour or two.
Silly me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m 100% the overbearing momma who wants to spend every waking second with him. The mom who runs through the grocery store like a crazy person just to get home to him again, afraid of missing something. The mom who actually felt sad when her little guy started sleeping through the nights. The momma who still contemplates waking him up every night just to get some extra cuddles in. The momma who holds him a few minutes too long every single night, not because he needs it, but because I need it.
I thought I would have a set schedule and a plan-of-attack for every week with a baby. I love to have a plan for everything, and to-do lists for my to-do list. Mondays would be laundry, Tuesdays would be a park day, Wednesdays would be grocery shopping, and so on. I still love that schedule & weekly routine concept but to actually implement that is a challenge. There are days when I’m unmotivated, or days when his naps are non-existent making an excursion impossible. Surprisingly, finally after a year, I have learned to become a more go-with-the-flow type person, flexible, and adapt to his mood and his schedule. He definitely rules the roost in this household 😉
As I get older, I have become more and more of a homebody and really love being home. There is always a million things to do and every time I do venture out, I tend to just get annoyed with the general public. But now being a SAHM, I have only felt more secluded and crave social interaction. Even with storytime at the library, play group, and swimming lessons, I still feel isolated at times and have times where I feel like I’m going insane. When we head out for a play date, there’s always naps we have to work around, nursing to figure out, and lunch + snacks to take with. By the time he’s up from a nap, he’s nursed, fed and changed, we only have another hour before his next nap. I thought we’d spend days bumming, running errands, and mini adventures, but it’s way more work than I ever thought it would be.
Knowing that I was going to be making a huge life change and becoming a stay-at-home mom, I was ready to take on new responsibilities, like cooking. I thought that we would have 3-5 meals planned out for the week, that I would actually go grocery shopping, and we would have yet another “plan” instilled. Yup, that hasn’t happened yet, either. We have never really been a big cooking family. We eat the same stuff over and over, which for a picky eater like myself, I am totally okay with. We have eaten yogurt with fruit for breakfast (and even dinner) for the past three months. We snack on the same things…string cheese, meat sticks, Boom Chicka Pop (so addicting), bananas, and pickles. Quite the combination 😉 And with my husband traveling for work so often, and with that being such a random schedule, it’s really hard to plan out meals. I would love to become an adult one day, actually do some legit grocery shopping. But maybe we will just never be that, especially since we live only blocks from the grocery store and tend to make a trip once every few days for fresh produce. I will admit, I do feel like a huge failure as a SAHM for not being Betty Crocker.
6. Baby Smells
The strangest thing happened to me weeks after Emerson came home. I found myself in his closet, just smelling the freshly washed baby clothes. Who is this new person? And why is she obsessed with the most absurd things? To this day, I smile every single time I fold his laundry and put it away. (I seriously walk into his room to his closet sometimes just to smell it quick.) I know Emerson probably doesn’t need the baby detergent any longer, but I told myself I would splurge on it because the baby smell won’t be around forever. Even the smell of boxed diapers bring happiness to my heart. And that itty bitty baby breath? Delicious. I would lean in, smelling his breath after he nursed while he fell asleep in my arms. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but (almost) every smell I just want to bottle it up so I will never forget it.
7. Mom Jeans
Being a stay-at-home momma, I told myself that I would get ready (most) days to keep confidence levels up and encourage productivity. I told myself I wouldn’t lose my sense of fashion just because I now had a baby to take care of. I still have my fair share of days where you can find me at 3pm still in my pajamas, but I didn’t want to “let myself go” and fall into the ginormous sweatpants for days regime. Before Emerson came along, I would always be wearing the latest trends and take fashion risks. I always accessorized each outfit with layers of bracelets and rings, taking time to do my hair & put makeup on. I’m not sure if my style just evolved or if it’s all about practicality now, but my wardrobe has definitely changed. I feel most comfortable in an oversized t-shirt or sweater + leggings, hair thrown up high on top my head (uncombed, unwashed), jewelry (even my wedding ring) doesn’t cross my mind, and putting makeup on doesn’t exist. I have gravitated towards “less is more” and making decisions on what won’t get pulled on, drooled on, and what’s easiest to nurse in. And to be honest, I love it. I still feel confident in an oversized sweater sporting a messy top knot. I actually feel less like myself when I pull out an old favorite “trendy” l top. It feels like I’m trying to be someone I’m not anymore and wearing that favorite old top is now trying too hard. Maybe my style will change again once I’m done breastfeeding, but I’m pretty sure I’ll continue with this simple, casual look. Now what to do with all those high heels buried in my closet….
Since we did sleep training right at 4 months, and Emerson has been a great sleeper ever since, (Thank you, Jesus!) I thought that it’d only get better. Especially with Daylight Savings Time, being dark for longer in the mornings meant the little nugget would sleep in. Ha! Not this little guy! That internal clock sure is tuned in to his sleep schedule. And every morning, right around 6am, he’s up ready to go. I know I shouldn’t rush days away, but I am definitely looking forward to the day where he will fall asleep on the couch with me, instead of having to wind down with a rocking chair.
As time goes on, I figured things would get easier. Sleeping through the night was a huge accomplishment, and yes, has definitely made things MUCH easier. (I remember the days, hours, and watching the minutes tick by dreading the night. Every time 5pm rolled around, it was almost like we just sat around waiting for 7pm to put the little rascal to sleep.) So yes, in that regard it has gotten easier, but the truth is, it doesn’t get easier; the challenges just change. Now that he’s cruising around, getting into the cupboards is just a minor feat. He already is starting to throw tantrums and when he wants something, he wants it. He also has the patience of his father. I guess I knew all along that this little guy would be stubborn (read his birth story here), and I should look at the positive—he’s also a determined little fella, too 🙂
Every single day I continue to surprise myself. What matters and what doesn’t matter. Heck, the first few months with a baby I organized his toys every single night. Now as I type this, his toys are tossed all over the living room floor from the day before. The dining room table is pushed up against the wall so he has more room to cruise around. The orderly + neat person I was before now welcomes the unorganized chaos. I laugh when I find a random sock in the middle of the kitchen. I’m excited to see how I react to the next few toddler -gaaaah, did I just say toddler?!- milestones and how silly my perceived notions will be once again. Stay tuned 🙂