....days to go until Emma is one. Some moms get super sad around this time and start to miss the "newborn" stages. I, however, do not. I have thought A LOT about what I wanted to post in the last few days, and honestly, I think what keeps coming to mind over and over again is how much I have grown in the last year. Some may prefer to call it "change" but that sounds so negative, right? Being a parent is easy, it's the selfless part of being a parent that is the hardest part. I remember in the first few weeks I would sit and cry most afternoons because I was A: lonely; B: sleep deprived; and C: hormonal as all get out. I kept thinking about all my friends out there having fun and doing things (i.e. not sitting in the house ALL. DAY. LONG.)
Then, somewhere around 2 months, that feeling went away. I remember vividly one night early in the morning as I was rocking Emma back to sleep...all I could think was "No one else in the whole wide world gets to do this." Whether it was good or bad, no one else gets to take care of Emma like I do. When she's upset, she doesn't just reach out for any stranger, she runs to me and wraps her chubby little legs around my waist. It is the best feeling in the world. I have always felt blessed to have Emma, but let's be honest - taking care of another human being is hard, and you can't really mess up. It's not just Brent and I anymore, we have a third member of the family. So here are my top 5 lessons learned this year....
1. There are just days, times, moments, etc.. when you just have to let it go. I loathe chaos and disorganization. I am a planner, and I like things neat, and my way. I have had to let that go sometimes this year. My house will not always be clean, and I may live with chaos, and I am learning that is ok. It is very hard to do so, but if it means having Emma happy - then I will do it...but not for anyone else, so don't get any ideas.
2. I can't do it all. I try, but fail every time. Being a working mom is the hardest thing I have ever done. I know being a stay at home mom is too...but it's a different "hard." I have had to deal with the tremendous guilt I have leaving Emma some days. When I come home from "work," I'm still working. I don't get a lunch break - that's when I run errands. I have to trust someone else to raise my child during the day - and you have no idea how hard that is. I have no sick/vacation/time off days...I just go unpaid now when Emma can't go to daycare. I love my job, and I am thankful for my co-workers and the students I have come to love. But I know that I can't be everything to everyone. I'm ok with just being "me"....I don't want a promotion, I just want to be able to breathe some days:)
3. I'm still learning....how to parent! I can't imagine what I would do without social media and blogs. I have learned so much and received so much support from friends on here. It's funny - I hardly ever see some of you in person, but feel like "old pals" on the internet! My goal is to make an effort to see some of you more - for reals. The comments on facebook and here have meant so much to me. I blog for me, mostly, so that I have a sense of producing something I am proud of, and also to document our family life. But it's nice to be acknowledged by others, to have my feelings validated, and to be able to support others who may read this and feel encouraged.
4. Babies don't come with guarantees...so don't plan like they will! I try and plan as much as anyone would, but there's no boxing in a child. Life just has to fly by the seat of the pants sometimes. Things come up - and you have to go with the flow. I learn this every 4 months when Emma gets a fever and I have to drop everything at work to stay at home with her. You never know what an outing will turn into...a chase around the shoe department at Nordstrom, or a tantrum at Walmart because she can't hold the giant beach ball while shopping with mom. It's just God's way of teaching me to love the unexpected.
5. I am stronger than I think. I wouldn't say I have confidence issues, but I had always worried about myself and being a good parent. I was never a "baby person" - you know...the type that loves kids and babies and always wants to babysit and hold them and coo over them....NOT. ME. So I was a bit worried about this whole parenting thing. I wouldn't consider myself selfish either, but I had been accustomed to a way of life for quite some time now, and it's all changed. I always knew Brent would be awesome - he's so even keeled, supportive, caring. I'm thankful he's not the kind of husband that doesn't know how to do laundry (or refuses to), or spends more time with his friends than with his family (sorry girls if this describes your man!). So, I'm not surprised that he is a wonderful father. I knew early on while being pregnant that this was God's lesson for me in learning how to love others and be selfless. I love Emma more than anything, and there's nothing I want more than to see her happy, healthy, and loved. I'm just hoping I can continue to learn how to be a better wife and mom...without too many screw ups!
So, here's to motherhood - it's both as easy and as hard as I thought it would be!!! Thanks everyone for bearing with me these past 12 months (and longer if you count the pregnant months!) and offering support and guidance. It means more to me than you'll ever know!