When I found out we were expecting a baby in March 2020, I had no idea what life journey we were about to embark on. It was the same week when the world started shutting down due to the global pandemic. My experience being pregnant was very different given the times we were in. Everything went better than I expected, and our baby boy was born in October 2020. My motherhood journey kicked off and has been on for a year now. One thing I am grateful for, is that I had been caring for children from when I was younger until I graduated from college. My experience taught me a lot about caring for the basic needs of children. However, having a child of your own for 24 hours every day takes a little bit more.
In this blog post, I will share the ten lessons I learned from my first year being a mother to our amazing son. Check out my reflection on my first mother's day.
#1: Acknowledge the huge life change
Becoming a mother or parent changes your life in a very significant way. I had no idea what to expect and was surprised by how much my priorities would shift. Having time during my pregnancy to mentally prepare for the shift in our lives helped me. However, the past twelve months have changed me even more. I am still getting to know myself as a mum.
#2: Don't live in fear
One of the first things I committed to doing when I found out that I was pregnant was not allowing fear to take over my life. Eight years earlier, I had a major surgery that made me worry about having a healthy pregnancy. I am so thankful that everything went well. Fast-forward to now that I have my son, I have to fight more fears on a daily basis. I constantly need to remind myself that every fall or scary moment is part of the journey.
#3: Embrace and enjoy the journey
People were right when they said time would go by very quickly. I have to constantly remind myself to be in the moment and enjoy the time with my son to the fullest. The pandemic gave me a gift where I get to work from home, be with him and experience his milestones. Seeing him grow and learn new things every day has been one of the most exciting things I have ever experienced.
#4: Lean on your partner or support system
Before I had a baby, I always thought I would have a stronger network and the "village" that would help me. Due to the pandemic, my support system was my husband alone. I have come to really love and appreciate my husband in a very different way. We have taken care of our son on our own from the day he was born till today. Learning to let go and accept his help made my life better.
#5: Do the things you said you would never do
There were some things around taking care of a child that I said I would never do before I had our son. Now I have come to accept that it is ok to do things that I would not have done because they are necessary at the moment. The truth that I have come to accept is that I can't control everything and striving for perfection is exhausting.
#6: Make time for things you are passionate about
One thing that I knew I really wanted to continue doing after becoming a mother was writing my blog. It has become something that allows me to express myself and grow in many ways. I made a deal with myself that I would not post for the duration of my maternity leave. Once it was over, I went back to writing my weekly posts because I really enjoyed them.
#7: Chase your professional goals …. responsibly
While being a mum is fulfilling and exciting, I know that I still want to continue having a successful career. I returned to work when my baby was 3,5 months old. Going back to work at that time was a conscious choice that I made because of the professional goals I had. In the last nine months since I went back to work, I have worked extremely hard. There have been times when I had to remind myself to rest a little because I was going too fast.
#8: Find your "flavor" of motherhood
As with everything, comparing yourself to others around you never has a great outcome. I have found that I am a mother that prioritizes being prepared, reading up on parenting topics, cooking my baby's food from scratch, and much more. I also acknowledge that there are things that other mothers enjoy doing that I do not, and that is perfectly fine.
#9: Be gracious and kind to yourself
We set high standards and have expectations of who we want to be as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, working professional and all the other identities we hold. Having high expectations of ourselves is good until it puts you under pressure and causes unnecessary stress. It is essential for you not to be too hard on yourself.
#10: Celebrate yourself
Reflecting on the last twelve months, I am very proud of all that I have accomplished. Taking care of a baby and working full time has not been the easiest thing I have done in my life. However, I have been doing both and rocking it.
Celebrating milestones has become a tradition for me. I want to make sure I am reflecting, learning and being grateful for all my experiences. To all the mothers out there, thank you for being awesome!!!