Next week we will be celebrating Owen's first year of life, and while it really is his day, there's part of me that is taking some time to reflect on this first year of motherhood (because if you ask me that's something to be celebrated too). It's been the most beautiful, messy, challenging and rewarding experience and I wouldn't trade any part of it. I'd like to think I've learned a thing or two along the way and since today marks a year from Owen's due date I thought I'd get some of these thoughts out of my mind. Starting from the beginning…
- A due date is merely an estimation. I tried everything to get Owen out on time - castor oil, spicy food, sex, walking, you name it - I did it. Since I was overdue I ended up having my membranes stripped and within 24 hours I was in labor. I’m convinced this was a coincidence and that all these old wives tales about going into labor only exist because it was the last thing the woman tried. First true lesson of patience and letting go of control.
Birth is fucking insane. We forget about it as women because we love our babies so much, but the truth is that it’s absolutely bonkers and when it’s all said and done you’re given Motrin, a pack of pads, and a squirt bottle and sent on your way - I actually walked home. Haha. No one talks about this, amirite? I wrote out my story when it was still fresh so I wouldn’t forget.
Nothing bonds two people quite like having a baby. I would be lying if I said Zack and I weren’t nervous about what having a baby would do to our relationship, but a year in and it’s truly the greatest. After going through pregnancy, labor and now parenthood I feel closer to Zack than I ever had prior. Maybe it’s out of pure exhaustion, but we have been so great about not sweating the small stuff and working together as a team. Plus watching your guy become a dad is basically the sexiest thing on the planet, especially when they’re as amazing as Zack is.
The newborn stage really is so precious. There’s nothing quite like it and while it’s tiring and often times stressful as you figure out what the hell you’re doing I already miss it. Those early days with Zack and Owen and our family will always hold a special place in my heart.
But it only gets better. Each month I think Zack and I turn to each other and say, “No, this is my favorite stage!”. As sweet as newborns are, it really does just get better and better. We get a glimpse into Owen’s personality more each day and we each fall in love with him a little more in those moments.
All parents deserve a little “me” time. It’s really easy as a parent to put yourself last, but I have found that just a few hours to myself weekly does wonders for me and is honestly essential. I always come back feeling refreshed and have learned that that mom guilt can really just step off because if I’m refreshed, I’m most likely going to be a better mother and wife and that’s what we all deserve.
Your checklist will never be complete. The type-A in me has really had to come to terms with this recently. I was finding myself so stressed out because there just literally aren’t enough hours in the day. So my advice - breath, prioritize, learn to say no, learn how to accept help and be easy on yourself when you don’t reach your expectations.
Comparison is a bitch. Just don’t do it. So much comes into play when you’re parenting and no two mothers or kiddos are going to be the same. I’ve learned to find confidence in whatever it is I’m doing because I know at the end of the day if I make a mistake I’ll figure it out and that Owen will be okay. I might not always be on trend with my parenting style, but there’s no question that our little guy is loved, happy and healthy.
Things change constantly. I’m such a scheduler so once I think we’ve got a good rhythm of naps and eating I’m ready to tattoo it on myself and follow suit, but typically just as I’m about to do so Owen switches it up. Kids certainly like to keep you on your toes and with each new change there are challenges and triumphs. It’s easier said than done, but the more I go with the flow the better off I am.
- Being a mom is the best. Get ready for the sap. I really love being a mother and I’m not afraid to say it. I feel like I have found my niche this past year both personally and professionally and the fact that Zack and I made Owen is still blows my mind daily. It’s a tough to juggle it all sometimes but there’s no job I’d rather have than being Owen’s mama.
Photography by Amy Frances.