One Year In

Courtney at All the Sun for You posted recently about the top 10 things she was surprised to realize about herself as a parent, and then she challenged us all to write our own lists and link back. Here is my contribution!

The top 10 things I’ve learned about myself as a parent thus far… 

1) I’m really laid back about most things (though lately, I’ve realized I’ve gotten more hardcore on the importance of naps – they are necessary MIL, so quit freaking skipping them!). For the most part, though, I’m fine with Stella learning about the world around her in an independent way. She definitely gets her fair share of bumps and bruises by exploring on her own, but that’s okay! I constantly get compliments on what a “relaxed” parent I am, and that makes me smile. I never would have thought I’d be as relaxed as I have turned out to be.

2) Family meals are super important to me. At least 5 nights per week we all sit down together at the table to eat with the TV off and phones on silent (this never happened pre-kiddo), and the other 2 nights, Char and I are generally standing around talking in the kitchen while Stella is next to us eating, so at least we are all still interacting. I have great memories of talking with my parents and siblings around the dinner table while growing up, and I strongly believe that it is a huge part of why we were so close to each other and open about our lives.

3) Midnight cuddles are the best. Don’t get me wrong, I love that Stella usually sleeps through the night now, but I really haven’t minded getting up with her (well, except that one time when she was getting up every 45 minutes and I was ready to tear my fingernails out – that sucked). I love feeling needed. I love when she cuddles into my chest and physically relaxes while I rub her back and “shhhh” her back to sleep. I loved having a family bed, and now that she is in her crib (and has been since 6 months), I really miss her closeness at times. I totally “get” co-sleeping now, and I never did before.

4) I don’t want to be a full time SAHM, even though I miss Stella SO much every day that I’m at work. Holy shit do I crave some adult interaction (not to mention, I am not great at coming up with cool, educational games for Stella and that makes me feel like a failure if I’m the only person “teaching” her things during the day). Right now I work 35hrs/week at the clinic, but I’d love to do closer to 25 if we could swing it financially so that I could have more time at home with Stells. Maybe someday, especially if we have 2 kids and daycare expenses start adding up.

5) really want Stella to have a good relationship with food. I’ve worked hard to be able to breastfeed for the first year of her life to ensure she gets a great start with the perfect nutrition. Yes, I get that it’s not p.c. to say that, but I truly believe it’s important to breastfeed if you can, and I’m thankful I was able to provide that for her. In the past six months she has also gotten to eat a ton of healthy, fresh solid foods. It has made me a better cook, because I want HER to have good, balanced meals every day and to like spinach as much as mac’n’cheese. I don’t want her to struggle with food like I have.

6) I’m more careful with her environment than my own. – I buy more organic food for her (and will buy organic milk as well). I buy hormone free/phalate free/BPA free  shampoos, lotions, etc. I surround her with cloth and wooden books and toys instead of plastic.  I don’t want the crap in the environment to affect her if I can help it.

7) I’m a patient Mom. – I am NOT a patient person. I am quick to get riled up, and quick to judge. When it comes to Stella though, I’m patient. Thank God.

8) I love cloth diapering! – Yes, this is random, but I love that it’s good for the environment. I love that it’s organic cotton on her booty. I love that it saves me money every day. I love that she looks cute in dresses with that adorable bum sticking out. I love that it’s easy and that I’ve converted the friends and family around me to admit that they like it too. I love it!

9) I could see myself only having one kid. – Two would be great, but pre-TTC I had always seen us having 3-4 (and maybe 5!). Now…shit, kids are expensive. They are a lot of work. They require a lot of time. I LIKE that I get to focus so much on Stella, and it’s so hard for me to imagine having another child to add to the mix. I never saw myself as a parent of just one or two…that just doesn’t (didn’t?) feel like a FAMILY to me… but now??

10) I still like being ME. - I want Stella to see me as a parent who is active and outgoing and willing and able to do any number of things – be it snowboarding or working out or having beers on the back patio with friends. I am more than just Stella’s Mommy, and I’m glad that I still feel that way. It’s truly key to my sanity and to my happiness and to helping me to feel fulfilled as a person and not just a parent.

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So that’s it – my top 10. Or at least, it’s the top 10 I thought about when I sat down to write this. :)
We are one year in… wow. What a trip.

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26 comments

  1. Love love love this list! I really like how you want Stella to have a healthy body image, I have a while post on working mums and some things I’ve realized lately so I completely get that and I really like the importance on you because you count to.

    Stella and you are incredibly lucky to have each other (I also get the one child thing, I think if its just us well that’s ok too)

    What an amazing year!

  2. What a great list! I love #2. We always had family meals growing up too, but we haven’t started that yet in our own family. Probably because we don’t eat dinner on a consistent basis (JJ and I). I’m struggling with #4 too and wondering if I’m really cut out to be a SAHM with two kids. I’m just not sure yet. And #10 is great! The rest are wonderful too, those are just the ones that stuck out to me.

  3. I love this post. And the photo is adorable!!

  4. You are the type of mama I hope to be one day. :)

  5. I like #7. :-) Patience is a learned behavior and Stells Bells is teaching YOU what really matters. Your patience with her will spread out into other relationships if you think about it and let it. Patience begets kindness and we can always use more kindness in the world. It also makes life easier in general – lots of things don’t have to be as hard as we make them. I am so proud of you, Josey. You are a wonderful mama. Stella will grow up to be a powerful woman.

    1. Mom, you are the most patient person I know. I can’t imagine having 5 kids and all of the responsibilities that you have — as well as the endless patience. You’re an inspiration!

  6. Glad my MIL isn’t the only one with a total disregard for nap schedules :-/

  7. 4, 5, 6 and 10 – right?! All of those things. It’s amazing to hear so many of you having the realization about how patient you are. This is NOT something I can claim, but I’m encouraged seeing your mom say it’s a “learned behavior”… maybe there’s hope for me yet. ;)

    1. Well, I also don’t have a full blown toddler yet. :) We shall see!

  8. Great list! totally agree with #2 and #8 for me from my first 1.5 as a mom :)

  9. For #9 – I always wanted 2 kids. We struggled to get #1. Then #2 came as a little bit of a surprise. (I had stopped BC but figured it would take a while). I was thrilled it happened so easily. Then I was terrified – how could I love another baby as much as #1?! I struggled with feeling like i was taking something away from #1 by making him a big brother at barely two. But now, 2.5 years in with baby #2, I can’t imagine our lives without him! There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with staying a family of three. But don’t count out future children because you’re worried about sharing your time and love!
    And #10 – wish I was like that! I wish I still had some of Me left. I have totally lost myself in being a mom. (Not because of having 2 babies, it happened with baby #1). It’s something I’m definitely trying to work on.

    1. Yeah, I still hope we get a 2nd kid, but we shall see.
      My husband and I purposely take time to go out with our friends and still be active PEOPLE and not just parents. It really helps with both of our happiness!

  10. Great idea for a post!

    The naps stay crucial for a while! Toddlers need to rest and regroup or HFS someone’s gonna freak out. :)

    As for the being bad at coming up with creative learning ideas, don’t sweat it! They learn so much from what we do every single day. I’m so far from an expert it’s laughable, but I can say with confidence that simply talking them through everything you do is exactly what they need to learn what they should be learning at this age.

  11. Loved reading your list!! :) I can relate on so many of these… just wish I could on #2 and #9. #2 because I wish we did this but Alidia eats so much earlier than us for dinner. We do lunch together (with the school kids and other teachers too) so that is nice and I do have breakfast with her… but dinner, nope. We do try to both sit with her though (obviously always at least one of us does).

    And #9… I wish I could be okay with this. Well I guess I will be if it is that way. But it is such a worry of mine.

    Midnight cuddles are the best!! :)

  12. lettherebesimsblog · · Reply

    Happy birthday to Stella!!!! Josey, u r an awesome mom!!!

  13. These are all the things I want for our family – when we have one!

  14. moonstone · · Reply

    Really great post….I think that in order to be a really great parent it’s actually important to continue to be yourself (and not just somebody’s mum).

    I thought a lot about this post, you see, we got our #2 in June this year and I love love love her. I love her cute gumsy smile and her determination to do things she sees her sister doing. I love that my family feels complete now. I love that my girls have each other, I hope they’ll get along well. I love that I got to do the baby thing again….. the list goes on.

    On the flip side, now that I have my much longed for #2, I feel I no longer do as good a job as I used to in many respects, #5, #7 and #10 for example.

    Hey ho, I guess we actually can’t have it all.

    It’s great to have a place to share these thought…..can be hard to do that IRL.

    M x

  15. Great list, Josey! I think family meals are so important too! We grew up with them and when B and I got married, we started that tradition immediately. It’s the one chance each day that we all get to connect with one another with no interruptions!

    Naps – crucial to EVERYONE’s happiness. Maybe not MIL’s, but her happiness is not important here ;)

    1. Can someone please tell my daughter the importance of naps. Especially her afternoon one. Child’s killing me!

      1. Put her down sooner! That’s what saved us. Turns out she was overtired. We were on 3naps/day for a LONG time… then eventually 2, and we’re still on two. She doesn’t stay awake for more than 3-4 hrs now, and before not longer than 2-3. Troublesometots.com helped us a lot! Good luck. :)

        1. It’s driving me banana’s. Lets see how I go today!

  16. Beautiful post…I have been looking forward to your one year post. Happy birthday Stella!! I agree with you. There are so many surprises on parenthood. And it’s a learning experience about who we are. Thank you for your comment on my last post….means a lot. You are such an amazing mom.

  17. What a thoughtful post! I loved hearing how you assess the first year as a mother. I guess we never know how we will parent until we are doing it. I have some ideas of the mother I would like to be, but we shall see! I definitely want to keep a sense of myself, like you, and have my child/children understand that. I also thinking that being a stay at home mom is not for me, but part time work sounds great. I would LOVE to be a laid back relaxed mama, it’s not really my personality now, but perhaps being a mom will help with my neurosis and not make it worse. :) I have been extremely relaxed as a pregnant lady, which was a surprise. My anxiety is nearly zero. Must be the hormones. I hope I continue to feel this way.

    Something I’ve gotten a good sense of reading your posts over the past year, is just how much it’s important to you to be laid back, and not lose yourself. I think you’ve done an awesome job!

  18. Holy cow I can’t believe it’s been an entire year! What amazing things on your list… I hope very much I will be a relaxed parent. And I hope I can find a balance of working and being home, so far we’ve been hitting a lot of blocks in the road on finding child care… But I am just SO impressed with everything you have been through and where you have landed. Can’t wait to see what the next year brings for both of us :)

  19. [...] in my relationship with Stella as I cut out pumping and started to cut back on breastfeeding. Then One Year In discusses what I’ve learned about myself as a parent in the past year, and #2 talks about my [...]

  20. [...] month, I read Josey‘s post on the 10 things she learned about herself as a parent so far. It started with a [...]

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