My Experience Being a Mom
Being a mom for me is the most rewarding but also challenging experience. As I am writing this Mathis is napping. I had to be up at 5 am, and he kept me up for most of the night. My husband is on the west coast for work, leaving me alone to care for Mathis for these last three busy days. If I were to answer the question, “What does daily parenting mean to you?” I have to say, “It’s endless love.”
In the past year, I had to learn to embrace everything that goes along with becoming a mom. All the sweet newborn snuggles and beautiful days, I wish it wouldn’t end. Even those moments when I needed to hide in the bathroom for a minute just to regain my sanity.
Preparation for motherhood
I became a mom at 30 years old – I thought I had it down pat. With lots of babysitting experience and a daycare job during college with infants, taking care of babies was not something new for me. But being a mom was a brand new thing.
Since I would become a mom the day my son was born, it was time for preparation. I read books, blogs and articles on sleep training, baby development and other topics. However, the one thing I have learned since becoming a mom: no book can prepare you to be a perfect mom. There are a million ways I can be a good mom, and that’s what I am trying to be every day.
There are days I wonder how my day went by and nothing got done. But then I take a deep breath, turn worship music on, close my eyes and say a prayer. I think about my days not measured by tasks but as feelings and memories (exhaustion included). I realize that the hard parts will fade, and the memories I have are those filled with burning love.
His first smile, first word, first steps, the way he looks at me when I come to his room early in the morning. Even though I am not a perfect mom, I am good enough for my sweet baby. Because no matter what I love him so much that it hurts.
Books vs. Reality
Sleep training - there are different methods of doing that, I read them all probably. There were things I agreed and disagreed with for one reason or another; I didn’t think I could follow through. What I learned from all the reading is that the important thing was to establish a routine and create one that works for our family.
To be completely honest: Did I fully sleep train, Mathis? No. Did I train and help him learn to fall asleep on his own and sleep through the night? Yes! Did I stop feeding him at night early on? Yes, I did, but there are exceptions. Why? When we travel, and he wakes up at night and needed comfort during a growth spurt, when he’s sick - those nights I put it on hold.
So, even though we had an established routine, which I started creating the day he was born, there are still days when everything goes out the window. Like when he wants some rocking, or only would sleep on me or wakes up every couple of hours restless at night.
I planned to do it until Mathis was one year old. I went through the discomfort and pain of the first weeks, the pumping, and what it felt like all the time when I was working and breastfeeding when home. All was good; supply was high, I even shared with local moms when needed. Then Mathis turned six months and refused to take my boob. He would only drink from the bottle and screamed bloody murder if I wanted to feed him.
I lasted a few months exclusively pumping, then Mathis started refusing the bottle and went back to feeding only once a day. At ten months he began to think that feeding was a game. If mommy picks up her shirt, it's time to pinch her and laugh about it and spill out milk. People said that I am lucky that he self-weaned himself and I did not have to fight with that. It was no discomfort for him or me since my supply just vanished.
Napping and Schedule
In the beginning, I followed simple rules. Feeding every 4 hours, that's how I established it from the day Mathis was born. Just to be clear, he was born 10lbs. therefore I did not enforce a three-hour rule like most recommend. Sleep every 2 hours or so (not when he was a newborn, those days were: sleep, eat, poop, repeat).
When I went back to work full time, and a nanny stayed with Mathis, I realized that for him to have a good sleep I had to create a schedule. Again, we created a simple schedule that worked for us best. I do follow the 12-hour day schedule. Knowing that Mathis wakes up around 7 am made his bedtime at 7 pm as well, as well as two naps each about two hours long.
I did try pushing his bedtime later, hoping he would sleep longer but it seemed like his internal clock was 7 am. Even when he goes to sleep at 9 pm, he is up at 7. Since I believe babies need their 12 hours of sleep, I decided to stick to 7 pm bedtime.
I knew that it’s recommended to start introducing food at six months old. Luckily my pediatrician is not too controlling and lets me figure out what works best. I was planning to begin solid food at six months.
But one day we were flying home, Mathis was little over three months, and Vitaliy got me a chicken quesadilla when we were at the airport. As I was trying to eat, Mathis, who was in his baby carrier, grabbed my hand and started to suck on the quesadilla. We sure got some looks, but it kept him occupied for the 30 minutes or so.
So after that, he began to show interest in the food we were eating, and I just went with it. If he wanted to eat something I was eating, I let him try it, and that’s how we introduced real food to him. He is almost one year old now, eats everything, still has no teeth, but can bite an apple [Symbol]. He is a child of Foodies! He eats his three meals a day, and snacks on something every time he sees food or sees me eating.
Learning to be a better mom
Asking for advice, for help when you need it, as a new mom is not going to make you less of the mom. You do your best every day. For your child, you are perfect because you are one who loves him/her endlessly. Just because I did not follow some rules or books and I’m not a “poster mom,” it’s not a measurement of me as a mom. For me, it is essential that Mathis grows up knowing that I love him endlessly and therefore I am good enough mom!!!
P.S. I did not plan on writing a blog about motherhood, but as I said in the post about me, what inspires me, I hope you find it encouraging too. Share your stories with me. Enjoy your cup of tea and remember you are good enough.
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