September 7, 2017
You’re probably thinking, “Wait, what? Trying to be another mommy blogger?”
I can assure you, I’m not. Not that anything is wrong with being a mommy blogger, but I’m just wanting to share a peek into my personal life over the past year of being a new mom.
If you keep up with my social media accounts, you probably know that my daughter turned one on Thursday. As I’m sitting here typing this, I still can’t believe it. I can’t believe a whole year has gone by already, and I can’t believe my baby is a toddler now. I also still feel like a kid trying to raise a kid. I had Ella when I was 25, which is a pretty average age to have a baby, but I’ve realized that the older I get, I still don’t feel like a “grown-up.” Anyone else?
If you’re a new mommy, or hoping to be one day, this post is for you:
The first few months of Ella’s life, I would feel so bad about myself if I messed up in any way. I remember thinking I was the worst mom ever when I accidentally cut a little of her skin when I was trying to clip her nails. It really didn’t hurt her very much, but it devastated me. I know that sounds so dramatic, and I’m sure some of that was the crazy hormones we have to deal with after giving birth, but it’s true. I was a mess.
I think it’s so important for us to remember that becoming a mom doesn’t mean we take on superpowers. We’re still just as flawed and we’re going to make mistakes, and lots of them. But you know what? Our babies don’t really care. As long as they’re getting fed, changed and loved on, they’re pretty content. We have to give ourselves grace as moms. It’s ok to mess up. It’s ok to not be perfect. If the Lord can extend grace to us, we can definitely give grace to ourselves.
This one was HARD for me. I’ve never thought of myself as a control freak until I had Ella. All of the sudden, I went from being pretty chill to constantly checking her breathing in the night, never leaving her side, thinking I could care for her better than Philip (and anyone else), and obsessing about her schedule. I was full of anxiety and, to be honest, I still struggle with that sometimes.
Every night before bed I prayed, “Lord, I know you’re in control and her life is in Your hands. You control her every breath. Help me to trust You.” He finally made me take action on this prayer. One night when Ella was around three months old, I felt as though He was asking me to prove it. Immediately, her crib and the church nursery popped into my head and I knew that I had to put my prayer into action. I knew that to display my trust in Him, I had to start letting her sleep upstairs in her nursery instead of right beside my bed, and I had to start letting other people take care of her when we went to church.
This may seem soooo silly, and not all moms struggle with this, but control was a personal struggle I’ve had to battle with as a new mom. You may not get it, and that’s totally fine, but I know there are some out there who do. I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. It’s a battle, but it’s one that we can win.
Someone is always going to think you’re doing something wrong. There are so many parenting styles out there, and everyone is so full of opinions. Most of the time they’re just trying to be helpful, which is great, but some things you just have to take with a grain of salt.
Find what works for you, and stick with it. Ask for advice from someone you trust when you need it, but try to let it roll off your back when people give you unwanted advice (& I promise you, they will). I’m naturally a people-pleaser, so it bothered me a lot at first if I felt like someone thought I was a bad mom, but I realized it’s ok. I know that I’m doing the best I can and that’s all that matters.
It’s so easy for us to be obsessed with our babies. I mean, we carried these precious little humans for 9 months and they’re finally out in the world and we are so in love! But our first loves have to be our husbands. One day, our children are going to grow up and leave the nest, but our husbands will always be there (if the Lord allows). THEY are the ones we’ve made a covenant with. We are to protect our children, love them, raise them, educate them, but they’re going to leave and start their own families one day.
Date nights are SO important. When we lived in Augusta, we were fortunate enough to have lots of babysitters and we tried to go out on a date once a week. Now that we’re in Florida, we don’t have that option, but we’re still trying to take one night and treat it like a date, even if it’s just sitting out on our porch eating dinner and talking.
I know it can be hard to have energy for another human some days, especially in the newborn stage, so it is important to remember to give yourself grace in this area as well. But don’t forget to invest in your marriage. You won’t regret it.
Make sure to take some time for yourself, whether it’s a long bath at the end of the day, a workout routine, getting your nails done, hanging out with your friends, etc. When you got married, you didn’t only define yourself as “wife,” so don’t just define yourself as “mom” when you have a baby. Yes, it’s a super important role, but it doesn’t define you. You still need to know who you are, what your passions are, what energizes you, and what your talents are.
I don’t know about you, but when my kids grow up and leave the house one day, I don’t want to be left standing there wondering who I am without them. And I don’t want that for you either. So get out there! Start a new hobby, sign up for a race, open up a new business. Your life doesn’t stop when you have kids. I truly believe our kids will appreciate and admire that we have our own stuff going on and that our worlds don’t solely revolve around them.
So that’s just a little insight into what I’ve learned (and am still learning) over the past year. I hope this was helpful and encouraging, and I hope it has inspired you to have fun being a mommy and to not sweat the small stuff!