Kinza turns a wild one this month and it’s so incredibly bittersweet. While this past year has been one of the most incredible years of my life, it’s also been a rollercoaster full of both happy and sad, scared, and stressful moments. Most of you may know that soon after Kinza was born, we shifted down to Southern California; add that to the laundry list of feelings that come along with becoming a mother. But here I am, blessed with a beautiful daughter who is about to reach a pretty big milestone and I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. Here are 12 lessons I’ve learned in the first 12 months of life with a child:
1. It’s perfectly okay to trust your own instincts. Maternal instincts are so very real. Although there are others who have been in the game much longer than myself, I found seeking advice from others could only take me so far. You know what’s best for your baby because you’re the one raising him or her.
2. Don’t overthink it with the development of your child. It’s easy to compare your children to others their age and look for similar developmental habits; however, it will drive you crazy. I realized early on that as long as my girl is hitting her developmental cues, I have nothing to worry about.
3. Everyone will have something to say. Take those opinions with a grain of salt. People will begin telling you the do’s and don’ts as soon as you become pregnant. It can be overwhelming and often invasive, but try to remind yourself that at the end of day, you will make the best decision for your child.
4. Stick to a schedule. I couldn’t stress this enough. When Kinza feeds on time and sticks to a regular sleep schedule, she is beyond happy go lucky. The second I become lax with a routine, she becomes groggy and temperamental, naturally so.
5. It does get easier. Six months was Kinza’s major turning point where she finally slept through the night and by month eight, I felt normal again.
6. A baby doesn’t have to change your life…but it will in ways. One of the first things I told my husband after having Kinza was that she would go wherever we go; I want her to be on her schedule but on our timeline. Meaning if we’re out at dinner with friends, she can fall asleep in the car seat. Sticking to your lifestyle is important for so many reasons; but of course, you’ll have your moments where you just have to go according to your child’s plan.
7. Don’t ever say no to help. Community is everything for me; whether that’s emotional support from other moms, grandparents helping out, or an extra pair of hands to help with poopy diapers. It really does take a village.
8. There’s no right answer. Weeks and months go on, and just when you may think you’ve got the hang of things, your baby will change it up. And sad to say, there’s no instruction manual.
9. Self-care is vital. I’ll be the first one to say you can’t take care of your kids unless you’re taken care of yourself. I have made it a point to get back into working out, taking baths and going out with the girls as much as I can, and I freaking love it. There’s nothing wrong with making your personal needs a priority; in fact, I think it helps prevent feeling overwhelmed or burnt out.
10. Everything takes a little more planning. Whether it’s making sure you pack the diaper bag the night before a weekend getaway, or have snacks for a play date, every trip (long or short) requires extra planning. In fact, we are just about to begin planning a trip abroad and I know between the extra clothes, toys, snacks, diapers and itineraries, the planning will be never-ending.
11. Always take the photo – always make the video. My entire camera roll is filled with Kinza’s life and I am so grateful because it’s true, they grow SO quickly.
12. Your relationship with your partner will change. There’s a little being at hand now, which comes with its own set of responsibilities; and though it may not feel the best, your relationship may sometimes come second to your baby. This is why Haris and I decided to keep date nights alive and make more of a conscious effort to focus on one another. There will be normal arguments and tension due to lack of sleep, work stress and preferences in method, etc., but as long as you remember to keep the lines of communication open, you should be okay.
Motherhood is just simply beautiful and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. How was your first year? Share what you’ve learned from becoming a mother in the comments section below!