Mommy Monday comin’ in hot! Tonight my friend Nicole is talking about her experience becoming a mom while being away from family and in another country. Nicole and I were on Nuggets together for years and grew closer and closer each year. It’s so fun to see close friends go from single life to married life and into their motherhood journey.
So grateful for amazing friends like Nicole. Years can go by without seeing each other, major life changes happen. But when you talk you just pick up right where you left off! She’s always been there for me. I knew she was a true friend when I was feeling a little gassy before a date (back in 2006-ish) and she immediately pulled out the GasX she had in her purse for me. That’s real friendship-love right there. #lifesaver
So Now I’m a Mom.. Thank you Buttars for letting me write a guest post on your blog! This is a very exciting opportunity for me, a new mom, to share my experiences with other mom’s out there. I have loved hearing the other mom’s stories, I hope you all enjoy mine!
I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. I am the eldest of 4 girls, and I loved having little sisters to look after. I even planned my career around being able to only have to work part time once having kids so that I could stay home and raise them.
Things started falling into place in my late 20’s. I found the love of my life…and who would have guested he is an Aussie! We got married and settled down in Australia. I always wanted to live at a beach, funny how life works out. And then the moment came where we decided we were ready to start our family. Getting pregnant was not as easy as the movies make it seem! But all the doctor’s visits, poking and proding (IVF) was worth it. I got pregnant in 2014 and I couldn’t have been happier. I don’t know about you women out there, but this was one of the most exciting moments in my life. My dreams were all coming true! If only reality were as easy as the dream… Don’t get me wrong, I would do it all over again and in fact I will do it all over again; but I wish someone had sat me down to prepare me mentally and physically to have a child. These little humans are exciting, loving and draining all at the same time!
The day my daughter Maddison was born, words cannot describe how surreal the moment was. I cried I was so happy (and I am not the crying type). They put her on my chest and I could not believe how tiny her features were, and that I actually created this little miracle. But then she started crying. One of the midwives put her on my nipple (which she damaged immediately) but she still wouldn’t settle. I already felt like a bad mom. I had babysat so many times, why did I have no idea what to do with my own baby crying on me? The doctor said she was probably cold so took her to the “hot box.” I unfortunately had to have a c-section, so I was left in the operating room to be stitched up while my husband and baby went with the nurses. When they took Maddison away I felt a little relief which I immediately felt terrible about (the beginnings of mommy-guilt). I was not feeling very well (I found out later I lost a lot of blood), she was crying, and I didn’t know what to do. I was super tired from the meds they were giving me, so it was nice to lay there resting while the doctor finished stitching me up.
After 6 amazing but tiring days, we got to take our little princess home! It is such a relief to walk out of the hospital (well kind of walk) with your new healthy (sleep deprived and sore…but healthy) family! BUT THEN THINGS GET REAL! My husband is great. He is caring, funny and completely in love with me. But he had to go back to work. And that left me and little Maddison to figure this parenting thing out. My little princess didn’t want to sleep…and if she wasn’t sleeping, I WASN’T SLEEPING! I read every book on rules to follow to make sure your baby sleeps. I joined Facebook groups, I read articles…but nothing seemed to help. I hoped I would be different, that I would be the lucky one with the perfect baby that sleeps so well… but I wasn’t. Maddison is now 15 months old and has slept through the night a total of 3 months in her life and they were not consecutive! And this is hard ladies! The first month, I found myself crying myself to sleep because I was so sleep deprived and just wanted a good night’s rest. Even though Maddison is still not the best sleeper, I will say it gets a lot easier after the first 3 months sleep-wise. And just think, one day she’ll be a teenager and then I’ll be waking her up ☺
On top of being a terrible little sleeper, Maddison was a really fussy baby for her first three months. She wasn’t colic-y, she didn’t have reflux, she was just fussy. Luckily for 3 months she took the pacifier (or “dummy” in Australia) and enjoyed the stroller (aka pram), otherwise I might have gone mad. So here I am in beautiful Brisbane, 8,000 miles from my family in Colorado, with a husband who works a lot, and a fussy baby! Somedays I felt like the only thing I got done was breastfeeding! Forget cooking, cleaning and laundry…I couldn’t get my princess off my boob and down for a nap! On a side note, breastfeeding did not come easy for myself and Maddison, we had a few struggles which caused me a lot of pain. But after 2-3 months of meeting with lactation consultants, using nipple shields, and getting milk all over my house from “air drying,” breastfeeding finally started to feel natural, and I actually started to love it so much that I am still doing it to this day!
During those rough first 3 months that I like to call the survival period, I was really fortunate. Even though my husband worked a lot, he was so supportive and helpful, and at the 3 month mark of seeing too many tears, he suggested (or demanded) that I get some help. I was reluctant at first because 1.) how would I trust anyone with my baby, and 2.) I was a stay at home mom and that seemed silly to pay for help, but let me tell you, it was one of the best parenting tips I can give; get some help to get a little bit of “me-time.” If your baby is a good napper, use nap-time for a little me-time, or maybe you have family that lives nearby that can help out a couple hours a week. However you do it, I strongly recommend it. During my 5-10 hours of freedom a week, I usually workout or go the grocery store. Working out gives me some alone time, gives me energy, it is a release, and makes me feel a little bit better about my new mom body; all of which make me happy. When I am happy I am a better mom and a better wife, so all around a very good thing! Mom’s, a little alone time is a wonderful thing. Embrace it! Don’t ever feel guilty about needing it!
FAST FORWARD TO TODAY! After the crazy first few months things do get easier, but there are still challenges. There are days I feel like I am in a fog and I am just barely making it through! There are some days when I feel like all I do is cook and clean and don’t spend enough time with my little princess. And then occasionally there are the good days; I feel that I was an awesome mom plus I got the house clean and dinner on the table (Maddison usually napped well on these days!). Every day is a new adventure with Maddison. Whether I am googling her poo color or downloading apps to tell me what developmental phase she is in, every day holds something new. There are days I want to go back to work so I can use my brain again and contribute to society, but then I think about what I would be missing. I get to see a healthy, beautiful girl growing up faster than I could ever imagine (even on my long days). Being a mom is hard! But it is truly rewarding and worth every misstep. You are not going to be the perfect mom, no one is. And believe me, you will have days where you feel anything but perfect…But those are the days you have to remember you are not alone! Just remember how special this short phase of their life is and embrace it.
LASTING ADVICE “It takes a village to raise a child” – This is so true for the mom’s sake. As a mom, we need people to lean on and talk to. Days are long and hard and sometimes the night isn’t any easier. Having a village to share knowledge and experience with is important to all of our sanity. As a stay at home mom far away from her family, I feel alone and I know others do as well. So having people to share with and engage with is important. I go to a Mothers group. It is amazing! You aren’t a bad mom- you will make mistakes, we all do! As long as your baby is given food, shelter, safety and more love than anyone could possibly imagine… you are doing your job.
Get Alone Time and Don’t Feel Guilty- You deserve a break every once in a while. Take it and embrace it. Don’t feel guilty.
And finally, time goes by so fast. Love every minute of it. (Even the hard hours). I literally spend half of the day telling Maddison how cute she is and giving her a million kisses. It is the most amazing adventure and I wouldn’t change it for the world!
BUT Know…BEING A MOM IS HARD (and I am only at the beginning!)!
Reading through Nicole’s blog made me realize just how quickly the “mom guilt” sneaks in! There is no right or wrong way to be a mother. All we can do is surround ourselves with people who are understanding and support (and it doesn’t hurt if your hubby is kind and helpful while you go through huge highs and lows being a new mom!).
“Successful mothers are not the ones that have never struggled. They are the ones who never give up, despite the struggles.”
I agree with Nicole that getting a little time “off” from mom duty each week is crucial to not losing your shit!!!! It’s so nice to know that each week you will have a little time to yourself. Time where you can think in silence, drink your coffee while it’s still hot, listen to your music (gahhhhh if I had a penny for every time I had to listen to effing twinkle little star!! I’d have, like, a whole dollar), meet a friend to catch up, get in a workout, whatever!
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