So it’s official, my little girl has officially lived longer than any houseplant I’ve ever owned. I’d say she’s the only living thing I’ve kept alive this long but my 2 cats are going to be 5 this year, but in their defence, they pretty much look after themselves. It was Daisy’s 1st Birthday yesterday and her big family party is tomorrow afternoon, so whilst I’ve been too busy retrieving balls from the ball pit and baking cakes I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the last year.
Being a parent is tough, guys. Everyone warns you about how tiring it is and how you’ll miss all the sleep you used to get, but there are so many other things I wish I was better prepared for. It’s been an absolute joy, of course, I mean my once little potato-baby is now a proper little person on the verge of walking all by herself, with one of the funniest personalities I’ve ever known.
I’d geared myself up for sleep deprivation. It’s tough, but I’ve never been a big sleeper and I don’t ever nap in the day so most days I can deal with it, but you know what they don’t warn you about?
Worrying – So. Much. Worrying. Especially in the early days. What did parents do before the days of Google? I have lost count of the number of searches I’ve done about poop, nap schedules, milestones, and heaps more. I’m still guilty of trying to compare my little girl to babies of a similar age, wondering whether she’s developing as quickly as she should be.
In fact, let me use this post as a little page of advice I wish I could give myself a year ago. Here you go, Allie from the past, here’s what I wish you knew then that I know now!
Disappointment – There are going to be people in your life that let you down. There are some that you think will be super close to your little one, but they aren’t. Thing is, although your world completely revolves around her, they have lives of their own – and they won’t be knocking on your door every week to see her or message you all the time to ask how she’s doing. There will be others who you were personally really close to, but having a baby wrecks your social life and you won’t see or speak to them as much anymore. It’s tough to come to terms with, but you’ll get there.
Schedules – Oh, the schedules. Who knew babies didn’t come with one and followed them perfectly? You work so hard to get them into a routine of feeding and napping that works with your day, and then they throw it out the window and you have to work a new one out. I wish I’d learned sooner to try and go with the flow a little better.
Standards – Before your baby is born, there are going to be so many things that make you say “I’m not going to do that as a parent”. You might stick to some of them, but you’re soon going to realise that giving your baby a dummy to soothe her, or bringing a tablet loaded with kid’s shows to a restaurant isn’t a bad thing. It makes life easier, it’s harming no-one, there should be no shame!
Advice – Advice from anyone without a baby is going to wind you the hell up. Who in their right mind came up with the advice, ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’. Firstly – who can sleep on demand anyway? Secondly – what if the baby will only sleep if she’s lying on your chest? Scrap that even – WHAT IF THE BABY JUST DOESN’T SLEEP?
Post Natal Depression – This has been tough. It’s so hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it themselves, but it’s real and it’s so hard to deal with. It ties into every other single problem in this list. It means going for walks in the snow in the darkest days of winter to reset your batteries, it means trying to make excuses to get out of social events because you can only cope with leaving the house if it fits exactly into the schedule you’ve worked so hard to develop. Again – people aren’t going to understand, and even assume you’re being lousy and lame for backing out, but it gets better.
As horrible as all of this is – it’s so, so worth it at the end of the day. Celebrating those milestones, having strangers tell you how adorable your little one is, seeing her smiles, hearing her laugh, and recently, having her launch herself at you whilst saying ‘Mumumumum’ makes all the heartache worth it.
Sure, by 6pm I find myself counting down the minutes until her bedtime, but the second she’s asleep? My phone is open so I can look at photos of her and then I miss her. What a rollercoaster…
(Sorry if you’ve actually sat and read all of that – my usual movie posts will be resuming shortly!)