First off can I just say dude! Violet is already nine months old. What happens to the time? The last year has been the most vivid time of my life, where every day–however seemingly similar–feels remarkably interesting and different as I watch my daughter gradually develop into a jabbering, nutty little wonder.
There is a lot of personal psychological change in the first year of parenting too. I find the hardest thing for me is not feeling guilty when I leave Violet for a few hours and remembering that it’s okay to want and need time to myself. My next step is to leave her with someone else for the night. With that said, now on to…
Things I Learned In The First Nine Months Of Parenting
1. Don’t pass judgement, because you’ll be doing the same thing in a month.
Every kid is different and every parent is even more different. You learn a lot about judgement when you have kids, like how we should leave it at the door. This is well articulated in the recent Huffington Post article Apologies To The Parents I Judged Four Years Ago by Kara Gebhart.
2. Instincts should be followed first.
There is never one way to do something, yet when it comes to parenting a lot of books oversimplify, take out the gray areas, and make it seem like there is a right and wrong way to everything. Take sleep for example–should you Ferberize or co-sleep? Make sure the kid is asleep by 7 every night or let them stay up till 8:30 because they don’t act a damn bit tired till an hour later? These things seem pretty basic but they get pretty confusing and complex when you’re in the thick of it. I say to get a variety of opinions, try some different things and find what works for you and your family, not everyone else’s.
3. Napping is my friend.
I’ve never been one to nap…until now. I have to force myself to let go of all the tasks I could get done in the little time Violet is asleep during the day in order to recharge my own batteries. I can’t be a good mom if I can’t open my eyes all the way.
4. Competitive parents are insecure.
What else could it be?
5. When strangers tell you that you look really tired, they are trying to be sympathetic or sell you an eye cream.
Remember this when you want to punch someone in the face.
6. There seems to be a direct correlation between the difficulty of parenting and the reward.
At nine months old, Violet cruises all over the place, trying to eat my library of books, pulling things down from tabletops, smashing avocado into her hair. She has a bad case of separation anxiety and doesn’t like to sleep without us. She has become a fussy eater. Etc., etc. At the same time, she is becoming more exciting, cute and entertaining by the minute. She dances when she hears music, smiles constantly, gives hugs and kisses generously, she loves exploring outside with us, she laughs easily; all things which seriously brighten our days.
7. Modern mothers try to take on too much.
Motherhood is much more tiring and time-consuming than any other job I’ve ever had. And I’ve worked at some crazy places. I am not alone in trying to take on too much every day while trying to perfectly balance work-baby-home-husband-play-cooking-cleaning-hobbies-family. Sometimes I wish there was an off switch.
8. Get advice from someone who has had multiple kids.
Single-child parents–myself included–are much too concerned about every little thing that could go wrong or right with a kid, whereas parents of multiple children have learned to relax and go with the flow. They tend to trust their instincts more, not panic every time their kid eats dirt and understand that parenting and perfection do not mix.