Baby's First Year: Confessions

The cutting board is always out, with a knife laying nearby waiting for its next item to slice into bite size pieces...

The washing machine constantly runs, as the hungry infant is not patient for the extra 10 seconds it takes to find and put on a bib (that he will throw off asap)...

The broom and vacuum sit in the corner waiting to be used for the third time today, why bother putting them in the closet when there are endless crumbs to catch...

The baby tub waits in the hall bathroom, so that the daily accumulation of avocado and tomato at the back of Archie's neck and behind his ears can be washed off in a few minutes before his nap. A washcloth would be easier but those are all missing, so, whatever...


Meal time with our fresh little one-year-old makes me miss nursing for more than two seconds. Which is super crazy because no offense to God and His Almighty Boob-Plan, but I really hate nursing. Everything about it. **Sorry, not sorry** but eventually buying formula and washing bottle parts always comes as a relief to me.

Back to the present-- "this is just a phase," I remind myself, searching the fridge and freezer for something quick to make into baby-food that didn't come out of a container or a pouch-- even though those are my go-tos for at least one of his three meals/two snacks a day!

My niece is a year older than Archie and while I was pregnant with him, my sister and I would be chatting and she would tell me the different things Harper was doing and I would honestly just cringe. "Ugh, I hated that phase!" I said (to myself, mostly, unless I was having one of my advice giving moments). My sister's experience brought back memories of nursing under kicked off covers (because, not brave), trying to transition to a bottle, figuring out naps, and the constant wondering, "Is this teething, standard drool, or an ear infection?" I looked at my "capable" two and three year old's and felt deeply nervous about the year in front of me that would begin on October 2nd when our 3rd baby was born.

A girlfriend and mama to five girls once told me that she didn't like the first two years of mothering. Sure she adored her babies, but she said she really found her rhythm with her self and her kiddos once each daughter turned two. I looked at Emmy and Mack, who were one and two at the time, and thought to myself, "Well, that sure makes sense!"

Every stage of the infant years totally baffled me. I always felt "surprised" when the baby gave up a nap or stopped being entertained by a beloved toy. I kind of had this sicko us vs. them mentality with my hubby even calling our kids minions and creatures because it felt a lot of times that they were like little wild animals running amuck in our house. Now that Emmy and Mack are three and four, it is much easier to parent them-- in some ways. They can skip a nap, they talk to me (a LOT),  they crack me up, they help around the house, they play together, when they get hurt they help themselves to a bandaid out of the "bandaid drawer" --basically all this points at my own inner striving to make life easier on ME :) Sometimes I wonder why even have kids at all if I savor so deeply the moments they leave me alone!! **Kidding, Not Kidding**

Before Baby #3 was born, I tried to prepare for all the moments that would be hard as I unpacked my breast pump, stocked my nightstand with Larabars --because let's be real, I have a great hubby but he is less of the "breakfast in bed" type and more of the "I'll get up early, make coffee that's too strong, and take the big kids to Bass Pro" type-- and got out all my super cute postpartum clothes.

But the thing for baby #3 that I wasn't prepared for, was Archie himself.


I really have never loved a baby the way I love this little boy. I think any mama can attest you love each of your kiddos the same amount, just differently. It is not that I love him MORE than the other two, most of my obsessive-Archie-feelings stem from the season of life we're in. Things feel really simple right now. We don't have a lot of commitments, every weekend our plans revolve around our little family of five, no obligations or sports events to attend. My husband currently comes home every night, and things just feel really consistent and sweet.

It's not that Archie was that much easier than the first two babies-- yes he was one of those mysterious children I had read about who just laid down and fell instantly to sleep without being rocked or fussed over, he also never cried unless he got hurt which actually worried me more than delighted me because Emmy and Mack were so vocally miserable! We had our fair share of issues like a tongue tie that led to several rounds of mastitis, acid reflux, weird rashes, the usual suspects. But from the beginning, I felt deeply bonded and connected to Archie in a way that I feel like I might have cheated myself out on during the previous infant phases.


I didn't think I would have time to enjoy this baby the way I did the other two because I felt like I would constantly have my head on a swivel and my hands tied running around trying to meet everyone's need. But in most ways, I have MORE time to enjoy him because I am less worried about the food on the floor and the skipped morning nap. I didn't get as frustrated during the middle of the night feedings because I loved seeing his face when he saw me come into his room and knew-- because my older kids now sleep ALL night-- that soon this too shall pass. I coped with the tired days with extra coffee and grace to let my kids watch TV so I could go back to bed in the mornings with the baby. It has become a relaxing pause in my day to have him crawl into my lap with a book or a toy. I love sitting beside him on the floor and teach him to walk.


Archie changed me as a mom. He taught me how to be present, and how to have less anxiety about the phases to come. He made me into one of those wackos that just want to soak up every minute because "it all goes by so fast." Before Archie was born, I heard people say that and secretly thought, "Thank God, let's get these years over with!" I know there were LOTS of times I stopped to adore Emmy and Mack as babies. I can remember sneaking into Emmy's room at night just to watch her sleep, and whispering to Mack over and over again, "Nobody has ever loved a baby the way that I love you."

But I was just so stinking worried all the time. My husband worked out of town and I felt desperate for family and community to rally around us. I obsessed over how they slept and what they ate. I really let those struggles rob me of my joy. I wanted so badly to have my children be well-adjusted and content in the midst of all our moving and change. Sweet little Emmy has already lived in four different houses and three different cities and she isn't even five yet. Those adjustments will come for this baby too, and the next one, but now we're savoring our days even if sometimes I still spend 90% of my day counting down to 8 pm when my house is quiet and I'm next to my husband on the couch-- eating a big bowl of ice cream!

After Archie was born, something clicked for me and it benefited not just my relationship with him but my whole family as well. If Emmy or Mack ask for one-on-one time with me, I find myself saying yes more often-- it is still not A LOT, but I think having more kids makes you value that one-on-one time when you can get it. The last year, it is like I am finally settling into Motherhood and accepting realities like spending all day cleaning up after little people, answering questions and wiping butts.



I DEFINITELY don't think you have to have three kids to have this experience. I think you just have to keep fighting to learn yourself as a mom, learn to love motherhood, and learn to be present. It is not something our culture will teach you. Once you have kids, welcome to the club! You're a mom! But that doesn't mean you automatically love each phase no matter how much you love that little baby. And that is okay. It is more than okay. I think if we are all really honest with each other, we will find that it is actually normal to struggle with all the adjustments raising children bring.

It really took me years to learn to love being a stay-at-home mom. I have shared this before, it is just not something I envisioned for my life. It actually never crossed my mind! Even after our daughter was born, I thought my time at home with her would be temporary. Once Mack was born and it seemed like, wow, this is going to be the next 18 years, I basically went through a season of shock, bitterness, and now joyful acceptance of the daily rhythms that ebb and flow as a stay-at-home mama.

I cannot stress more that it's not that I have become BETTER at being a mom. I am definitely not any more capable of raising kids than I was when Emmy was born. I still google everything and feel overwhelmed and anxious MANY times throughout the day. I could write a whole separate post on how this season has been one of the hardest of my lives. But there has just been this beautiful shift in my perspective-- after fighting for four years to really learn to love the phase of life I'm in, I mostly and wonderfully do.


*Fun Fact-- At Emmy's 1st birthday, I was 6 months pregnant with Mack-- as I am now with Baby #4, cheers to babies being born 14 months apart!*






2 comments:

  1. Aww I love this post! And I found it very encouraging :)

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