mother and baby one year old
Baby,  Health and Wellness,  Motherhood

The Truth About the First Year of Motherhood: Everything You Need to Know

I can’t believe it’s been one year since having my baby boy!

There is so much that has happened in that one year, in some ways it flew by and in other ways it felt like the longest year of my life.

D grew so much and still, every day he is surprising me with how much he already knows.

He’s been an amazing blessing in my life, as I’m sure your little one has been as well.

As much as I would love to say it’s been nothing but baby cuddles and cute little laughs, we all know that’s not all motherhood is about.

Motherhood is messy. It’s beautiful, but sometimes it’s painful. It’s fun, but sometimes it’s boring. It’s an unconditional love you’ve never known, but sometimes it’s emotional, full of exhaustion, sadness and anxiety.

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I’ve always wanted to be a mother, and for some reason I think I subconsciously thought that meant it would come easy for me.

Boy, was I wrong.

I did my best to be as prepared as possible for motherhood, taking parenting and breastfeeding classes, and researching like crazy.

Even though that all helped a ton, there’s no way for you to know what your experience with motherhood is going to be like until you experience all that it is yourself.

That being said, there are a few things I learned and realized about motherhood over the past year that I’d love to share.

I am in no way saying I’ve learned it all after a very short time as a mother, but even in that short time my wonderful son has taught me so much.

RELATED: Preparing for Motherhood: Everything You Need to Know

You Have No Clue What You’re Doing, and That’s Okay

You’re not the only one either.

No mother or parent in general has any clue what they’re doing.

You may see the perfectly dressed mother-baby duos on social media that seem like they have it all together, but even they don’t know anything more than you do.

I have several times fallen trap to the comparison game, and multiple times have had to remove social media completely from my life for a period of time.

I can honestly say that it helps a ton to do that. So if that’s an issue for you, I highly recommend you try it.

Every mother struggles to some degree, every mother gets it wrong sometimes and right sometimes. Either way, you are the best mama for your baby, doing the best you can, and that’s enough.

People Love to Give Advice

People love to think they know more than you about your own baby.

That’s not to downplay the fact that experienced mothers really have learned some tricks along the way and just want to help. But sometimes they like to tell you exactly what you’re doing wrong, or exactly what’s going to happen during your experience with motherhood.

Or, sometimes you just didn’t ask and want to figure it out for yourself.

Even family and friends may say little things that are meant out of love but hurt more than help.

Just remember in these situations, YOU are your baby’s mama. Take the advice you find helpful, ignore the advice you didn’t want, and raise your baby the way you want to.

You Can Research All You Want and Still Get it Wrong

The babies on the internet are not your baby.

I have done so much research on baby sleep and baby eating and baby pooping and baby whatever else that Google and I are besties. I should be the spokesperson for Google (is that a thing??).

Although it has helped a little with some of the more baseline stuff, listening to my baby and following him has been the best way to manage.

I don’t know how many times I’ve caught myself turning to the interwebs for every little change in my son’s sleep.

NEWSFLASH: BABIES ARE HUMAN!

Not just that, they are rapidly growing humans. They change with the weather forecast (at least the weather forecast here).

It’s impossible for your baby to stay on the exact sleep schedule that you have set out for them forever. Yes, they may have a relative routine that they follow, and maybe even for a time it is down to the minute. But I promise you, it’ll change soon.

And that’s fine, even good!

Try to remember that babies really do know how to communicate in their own way. It takes time and more effort and frustration, but the more you listen to your baby than to other people or the internet, the smoother things go.

The Routine Will Come

Then it will change as soon as you have it down, but you’ll adjust to that too.

Like I said, babies change every day and that’s both amazing and frustrating.

You’ll adjust mama.

Although routines are important, there’s no rush to have the perfect schedule and it’s okay to let things go a little some days.

It can be hard to see other moms and babies in their own perfect routine, but I can guarantee it took time to get there. It’s not like that every single day for them either.

Others’ routines won’t look like yours, and that’s wonderful! Babies adjust so well to whatever your family needs. They don’t work against you, they work with you, as long as you work with them too.

So, try to be a little flexible sometimes when need be and understand everything will work out!

RELATED: Daily Schedule with a One Year Old

There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Love

This one is so important.

Maybe you tried for this little one for a really long time and now that they’re finally here, you don’t want to let them go.

Maybe you love to snuggle your baby for naps or carry him or her around in their carrier all day.

Maybe your little one is still really young, and just loves to be held what seems like all the time.

It’s okay to hold your baby. Snuggle them as much as you want!

If you don’t want to put your baby down, then don’t. If you don’t want someone else holding your baby right now, then don’t let them.

You carried your baby for 9 months. It’ll take some time for them to get used to not being part of you so literally. And guess what? It’ll take time for you to get used to that too.

I promise you one day your baby won’t be sleeping on you. I promise one day you’ll be able to put him or her down without them screaming for you.

If you’re in the thick of newborn life reading this, it’s so hard and I know it feels like you can’t wait for them to be able to do some things on their own.

The newborn phase, just like every other phase, does end and it’s very bitter-sweet.

So, just like you’ve probably heard a million times and are sick of hearing, do try and enjoy the good moments. Soak them in real good.

Self-Care, Mama

You know how I just said it’s okay to hold your baby as much as you want?

Well it’s also okay to put your baby down and pass them to dad or grandma or whoever.

Personally, this has been so hard for me.

I think my son is a bit on the clingier side, especially when there are other people around. That’s mostly just because we live away from family and he hasn’t had much of a chance to be around others. It’s been him and I for the most part.

But, when I get the chance, I do my best to allow others to look after him. I try and remember even though it’s difficult in the moment, it’s actually healthy for him and I to have a few moments apart.

When you do have a few moments away, whether that’s when baby is napping or your partner has them, it’s so important to take some time for self-care.

It doesn’t matter what that looks like for you – journaling, reading, exercising, baking, a bubble bath and a glass of wine, coffee with a friend, a nail appointment, a therapy appointment… just do it.

The consequences of not taking care of yourself can be much worse than the fact that you are away from your baby.

I always know when I’ve been neglecting my self-care because of how I start feeling. I do my best to not get to that point, but it’s really easy for it to happen.

Make sure you fill your self-care cup, so you can take care of your baby too.

RELATED: 10 Healthy Habits for New Moms

These are just a few of the most important things I’ve learned in my first year of motherhood.

I sincerely hope you took something meaningful from this post, and it helps you in your journey of motherhood.

Don’t forget to leave a comment and share the love!

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first year of motherhood with toddler
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I am a military wife, a university graduate, and a new mama living in Nova Scotia. Follow me on this journey to learn about pregnancy, motherhood, staying healthy, and taking care of you and your family!

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