Ted turned one on 4th September. It’s so true what they say, the year has been short but some of the days have seemed very long indeed. I feel incredibly privileged to be a Mama and I thought I had a good idea of what the first year would entail but I have learned so much more in the last twelve months than I could ever have imagined. Here are just five of the most important things I have learned over the past year.
1. Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of bringing that tiny baby home for the first time and knowing you are solely responsible for them.
We were in hospital for five days after Ted was born which gave us time to settle into being parents under the supervision of midwives and doctors who actually knew what they were doing (unlike us). They helped us to establish a feeding routine, came round and checked Ted’s temperature several times a day and fed & looked after me. When we came home I suddenly panicked that I wouldn’t know whether Ted would be too hot or cold, whether he needed a hat on or if he was hungry. In the end of course it was all fine but that sudden realisation was quite terrifying!
Ted on his way home from hospital and not looking too pleased about it!
2. The Mum Guilt is real.
From the minute Ted was born I was constantly worrying about whether I was making the right choices, not just for him but for our little family. Breast or bottle? Should we sleep train? How often do we sterilise his things? Was I singing to him enough? Talking to him enough? Endless things to worry about. This has continued throughout the year with decisions about weaning, sleeping and learning always at the forefront of my mind. What I have learned is that my instinct when it comes to Ted is usually right. We try to follow his lead and that has worked well for us so far.
3. Getting out of the house can turn a day around.
Neither Ted or I like to be in the house all day. Ted is bright and easily becomes bored which can lead to him being a bit whingey. I started taking Ted to classes when he was around 4 weeks old and just getting out of the house could reset the day for both of us. Classes aren’t for everyone but they helped me to provide Ted with the stimulation he needed and me time to talk to other adults. We now generally have a full week of classes, play dates and seeing family which suits us both.
Ted at his first baby swimming lesson at 4 weeks old and looking chilled.
4. Good friends are worth their weight in gold.
We all know this already really but when I had Ted lots of my friendships changed. Some of the friends I saw regularly before have barely been in contact since he was born which is sad but totally understandable given that they are at different life stages to me. More positively I have made some wonderful new friends and become far closer to friends I already had as we have spent more time together. The best group are the close friends I already had who have embraced Ted’s presence and choose to spend time with us even if their children are older or they have no children themselves. I am so grateful for these friendships, it is the most wonderful thing to see your friends love your baby as much as you have loved them and theirs.
5. A baby brings so much joy to so many people.
Most people love babies. People coo over Ted in the street, neighbours we didn’t know before stop us in the street to see how he’s doing and smile at him, the joy he has brought to my parents particularly sometimes catches me and makes my eyes fill with happy tears. Extended family and family friends now find excuses to pop in and see us only to spend time rolling around on the floor, singing nursery rhymes and being silly, anything to make him smile or laugh. Mostly though he brings joy to us, his parents. I laugh so much more now that he is in our lives, he goes to bed and we tell each other the things he has done today that have made us smile, we watch videos of him and talk about how lucky we are. Parenting is certainly not easy but the joy in our house has increased exponentially in the last 12 months and we are so grateful.
Ted M, bringing all the joy since September 2017.
What are your biggest lessons so far as a parent? I’d love to know whether they are similar!