Lessons From My First Year of Parenthood

Love is a battlefield...and in my first year as a parent, I learned that saying doesn't just apply to romantic love. Being a parent is challenge. Sure, it's a lovely challenge, and there are lots of rewards along the way, but just like anything worth doing, it isn't always going to be easy. I've learned a lot.

And now I'm going to share it with you all because that is my way.

You don't "pick" a style
I never decided to be an attachment parent; in fact, it happened quite by accident. In the 365+ days that I have been a parent, I've read articles where women lament trying to be attachment parents. Either you are, or you aren't. Your style is your style, and it's ingrained in who you are. So just be yourself. There is no style that works better than another, it's all about what's right for you.

A baby's gonna do what a baby's gonna do 
Sleep training. Scheduled feedings. HA! Yea, have fun with those. I swear, a person could make themselves totally freaking nuts trying to get a baby to do something it just doesn't want to do. My daughter, for instance, was never going to sleep in a crib no matter how hard I tried. After a month (or two) of trying, I decided to throw the rule book away and just do what feels right.

Same thing goes for those who would say "you gotta keep the baby awake or they won't sleep later," or "don't let the baby nap after 5:00PM." To you all I say, "poppycock!"

Some people REALLY like babies 
It freaks me the f*ck out when a stranger reaches out and touches my baby's face. Who does that?! I'll tell you who, people who love, love, love them some babies. I learned quickly that wearing my baby in public cut down on weirdo strangers touching my kid without asking. That, and resting bitch face.

Some people REALLY don't like babies 
"To everything turn, turn, turn. There is a season..." And this applies to friends who aren't that into babies (or kids) and/or those who (mistakenly) think that "you've changed" and that having kids is contagious. They will abandon your ass, as in, you won't see them. I think maybe someday they will come around...like when my kid goes college maybe.

The worst part about this, is that people are literally terrified to admit that they don't want to have a relationship with your child. I would be totally down if some of my friends who have abandoned me just came out and said, "Hey, you know, I want to be your friend, but I don't want to hang out with your kid." It would incentivize me to hang out with them sans kid...which, let's be honest, I could totally use!

People will treat you differently
This is not entirely a bad thing, except when it is. See, some people will treat you as though you are more special, and I'm not gonna lie, that feels terrific. But then, on the flip side of that, some people will treat you crappier. It's weird, but some people aren't anymore tolerant of parents than they are of kids. Which is insane because we were all kids once...so when people treat me poorly based on that fact that I'm a parent, it's kind of like they are treating their parents badly (at least, that's how I see it.)

All I can say is God bless the people who treat me the same. (And thanks to those who treat me better!)

Compassion, compassion, compassion
This lesson is two-fold. First of all, I have so much more compassion in general; for my mom, who did a fantastic job raising two children on her own, and for moms, overall. This shizz can be hard. There's a lot to consider, and a lot to contend with. This has made me a better, more kind person, and I am super thankful for the experience.

Also, there is the compassion for my daughter that helps me get through rough days (and nights). Like when she wakes up teething and crying and we're up in the middle of the night. I have to dig deep for compassion in some of those moments, but when I do, I find that I am present as a nurturing parent. Compassion goes a long, long way.

Perspective is subject to change 
When my daughter was born, my perspective changed considerably. It continues to evolve, but it's sure a lot different these days than it was before I had a child. Different things are important to me now. Some things just ain't important at all. And due to my current perspective, I know that not everyone is going to get it. They don't have to.

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