What Being A New Mom Is Really Like
Happy almost 4th, loves! We’re currently in Bermuda and loving life. Sadly, we leave tomorrow, but I’m so excited to get home to my nugget. Leaving her is always bittersweet—I look forward to the ability to sleep in and be on my own schedule, but she is a part of me now, and being without her simply makes me sad in a way that’s hard to put into words.
That said, I was never one of those women who always wanted to be a mom. I knew I wanted kids some day, but I had a few friends who wanted to be moms literally in elementary school. (This rang true later in life as well—these same friends were the first to have kids in our group!)
The reality of having little kiddos running around didn’t set in until Ryan and I got engaged and knew we were going to be in it for the long haul. Truthfully, at that time, we weren’t even sure we wanted kids. We loved our lifestyle—taking care of our kitten was enough at that time! The luxury of being able to pick up and leave for a trip on the fly was so appealing to us, and selfishly, we didn’t want to let go of that.
Ryan and I lived very different lifestyles before we got together, but we had one major thing in common: we beat to our own drum. We did what we wanted, when we wanted, and we were both fiercely independent.
That all changed when we had Lacey, of course! She depends on us (mostly me:) for everything, and that was not an easy task for me to take on.
Before Lacey, when things didn’t feel easy in my life, I changed them.
If I didn’t like my job, I found a new one. (I changed industries twice from the ages of 22-24, when I decided to go back to school to study nutrition.)
If I didn’t like where I was living, I moved. (I moved from New York to San Diego at 23 with little money in my bank account and half a car full of my things.)
I never allowed myself to sit in an unhappy state for very long, even if it meant taking a big risk.
When it comes to being a parent, there is no option to simply “change things.” Yes, you can change your mindset—which I’ve done many times since having Lacey and it’s helped tremendously—but you can no longer run away from your problems.
This was challenging for me to grasp. It’s not that I ever wanted to physically run away from Lacey, but the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to make certain situations easier and feel at ease in those early months was a struggle. There was no hiding. If she was having a bad day, I had to listen to her cry. And sometimes, I would end up crying too. Those days and weeks were especially hard, right around big milestones and growth spurts (around six to eight weeks and four to five months were my personal worst).
Being a new mom brings on so many different emotions. The hard days will challenge you to your core, and make you feel like you’ve been chewed up and spit back out again a million times over. The great days will make you wonder how you ever lived without this beautiful human being you created. And those different types of days can be back-to-back, which when mixed with the hormones you’re already feeling from giving birth and/or breastfeeding, can be a very confusing and exhausting experience.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with new moms and we’re both sitting there saying, “WTF? Why didn’t anyone tell me this shit was going to be way harder than I ever imagined?” Truthfully, I still ponder that question. I don’t know if everyone’s being nice and doesn’t want to tell you while you’re pregnant that you’re life is going to be flipped upside down and around, or if they just forget those first few months like it was nothing.
I will say, as Lacey is now in her seventh month, it has gotten so much easier. Her days are more predictable, I understand what she’s trying to tell me 80% of the time, and she’s a very happy baby. I’m so grateful for that!
Every day, though, there’s a new challenge. My head could look something like this all within 12 hours…
Why isn’t she drinking her bottle? She’s taking a lot longer to fall asleep for this nap, I wonder what’s going on? She seems extra cranky today, is it her teeth or her tummy? Her skin is breaking out again…did I eat gluten in the past few days? We’re going out to dinner tonight, should I pump before we go or see if I can make it until we get back?
Just typing that out made me go a little nutty!
But here’s the thing—and I say this meaning it 100%—it’s all worth it. My little girl means the world to me, and I’ve learned to have patience through the process.
Being a new mom is the greatest learning experience of life. There’s no guidebook or rules to live by (this is true regardless of how many books you read!). For much of the baby’s newborn and infancy stages, you’re solo with your little bundle, and you’re both trying to figure one another out. It’s a beautiful bond that I am forever grateful for.
Lacey is going through a developmental leap right now (leap 6 in Wonder Weeks), and she’s extra clingy. So much so that she wouldn’t allow Ryan to put her to bed the other night. I had to go in, pick her up, and sing to her for a minute and she happily went to sleep. As much as I want a break sometimes, I also love those moments because my little girl needs me. I am her home and safe place. And right now, I’m totally okay with that.
So yes, being a new mom is tough. But it’s awesome, too. There will always be good and bad days, and the more I remember that, the better I can handle the difficult ones.
I’d love to hear from you ladies in the comments. What was being a new mom like for you? Whether your kid is 1 month old, 1 year old, or much older, tell me! Can you relate to my experience? I personally never want to be one of those moms who makes it all look easy (especially with the Instagram world) when it definitely isn’t, so it’s important for me to be honest. I’d love to hear from you!