Happy New Year Everyone!! I literally can't believe it's already 2017 and as I look back on the last year...2016...I wave goodbye to it with a sense of bittersweetness in my heart. 2016 was the year of fulfilled dreams for me - quite possibly the greatest year of my life thus far. I'll get into that later. So I'm waving goodbye to this past year with mixed emotions...a full and happy heart for the things that were, and an excitement and nervousness of what's to come. To be honest, I know 2016 sucked all around for a lot of people. And if that's you, I'm really sorry. I hate that. But you know what? Today is the FIRST day of a BRAND NEW YEAR. This year will be what you make it. So 2017 - Let's DO this!
2016 was the best year of my life so far for so many reasons - we bought our first house, traveled to cool places together, my family all moved here from Chicago, I found out I was pregnant, we made so many new friendships with people, and so many other things...but the one that tops them all is the birth of our Emmett Rhodes on December 1st. So as of today...he is officially ONE MONTH OLD. How is it that a month has already passed since the day he was born? In some ways, I still relive that eventful day like it was yesterday...I almost remember every detail still. And then in other ways, I feel like I can barely remember my life before Emmett was in it. But I CAN tell you..I've learned a whole lot in the last month about being a mom...
First of all, it's HARD. Like...really hard. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I had friends of ours who have already had kids tell us how difficult the first few weeks are with a newborn...one even called it "walking through actual Hell" (which I'm fairly certain I wouldn't use those same words to describe it (Haha) But I will say, Caleb and I were not prepared for how difficult those first few days would actually be. And to be completely honest with you...I would rather do my 24 hours of labor all over again before I would do that first night back at home with the baby again...no, seriously. Let me paint that picture for you...
So Caleb and I bring a tiny, new baby home to a perfectly clean house that first night. We settled in and realized there were a few things that we didn't buy ahead of time that we needed at home for baby...so we grabbed those things at the store real quick and my parents met us at the house later to help us get settled in for our first night alone with him. (By the way, we came home to a giant banner on our garage door announcing Emmett's arrival...which made us cry...and then walked into our home where candles had already been lit, blue balloons were placed in a couple different rooms and another "Welcome Baby Boy" sign was hanging in the doorway of our living room...all thanks to my sneaky daddy who did some prep right before we pulled in with the baby) Anyways, my mama made dinner for us that night and stayed until around bedtime to help us get everything situated before we would try and take on the night...we could this, right? Oh my word.
So we decided to camp out that first night in our bedroom...so we lugged the rocking chair from the nursery into our room, the bassinet for Emmett to sleep in...(because he would sleep at least some right?? LOL at that) and we proceeded to get ready for bed - when the crying first started...about the minute after my mom headed for home (of course). We took turns attempting to soothe him. Tried feeding him. Tried rocking him. Tried the bassinet. Tried the MamaRoo. Tried a pacifier. Tried walking around the house with him. ALL TO NO AVAIL. Our puppy Romo showed her concern by staying awake with us...and so we literally forgot for about 24 hours that we even owned a pet at that point. We both started to go insane...just a little. By 8am, I called my mom in hysterical sobs, begging for her to come rescue us and try to get Emmett to stop screaming. She walked into a filthy house (in less than 12 hours)...no listen...there was dog poop scattered about the kitchen (because you know, the whole "we forgot we had an animal" thing because SCREAMING BABY) and we didn't let Romo out to potty. Our room looked like a bomb had gone off in there...blankets and bedding everywhere, the furniture seemed to be in different places by morning than it was when we went to bed the night before, and my mom walked in to find me shirtless, attempting to feed Emmett...BOTH of us crying and Caleb taking his turn trying to catch 2 minutes of sleep with a black sock over his face. This...was parenthood that first night. And WHOA. We weren't ready.
Needless to say...the following few nights were nearly as terrible as we desperately tried navigating this whole "parent" thing with absolutely no sleep. But somehow at the same time, Emmett has already been in our lives for one entire month and it's the greatest, most rewarding gift we've ever experienced. No, we don't really sleep anymore. We don't get hot meals (unless our amazing friends bring us dinner, which they've done for a month now...THANK you guys!!) and yes, there have been days on end that neither one of us got to take a shower. But we are gratefully happy. Exhaustingly fulfilled. And so very overjoyed at this precious baby boy that has made our lives infinitely more difficult, yet infinitely more beautiful. It's hard to describe this love we have for him. But a month has gone by and I thought I'd let you in on 10 things I've learned being a mom so far...
1. I don't matter anymore. This sounds harsh and victimizing and I don't mean it to be at all. I just mean my needs come after Emmett's...every. single. time. And that's the way it should be! (This is why showers have ceased to be important...at least at the moment haha)
2. Hot meals are overrated. Although I'm breastfeeding...so meals in general are important because I'm starving ALL THE TIME. But sometimes a bowl of cereal is the greatest thing I'll experience in a day. Seriously, if you bring me food, pretend it's for a grown man triple my size because I guarantee I'll finish it all.
3. It takes a village. This phrase has always been tossed around among other parents we've known in our life circles and we didn't realize how true it was until we had a baby of our own. It takes SO many people taking care of us, so that we can take care of him. (At least these first few weeks anyways.)
4. Babies don't need stuff. We were prepared with every amazing piece of baby technology you could possibly have beforehand...all the seats, and bouncers, and strollers, and sound machines, and soothing agents...and guess what? Emmett hates ALL of it. Babies just want to be held by their mamas and daddies. And right now, that's my full time job. And I love it, because someday (and all too soon I fear), that will change.
5. Going anywhere with a baby takes about 5 hours longer to get ready for, than it did before baby. It literally takes a year to get out of the house with a newborn it seems. (Although today, I got out to the grocery store with E all by myself and it was a success!)
6. Marriage becomes a lot more difficult. And this is where it gets weird...because in my one month experience of being a mama, I learned my love for my husband is so much deeper now than it ever even was before...BUT, marriage itself is more difficult now than ever. Finding time for each other seems unattainable these days. But we're making a diligent effort to still have date nights and chat at the end of every day together.
7. Keeping owners' manuals of all your baby gear is a MUST. This stuff is more complicated than you think guys. The only really easy thing to use is a diaper genie I've learned...and let's be honest...how hard can those be?
8. Letting other people help is a gift that I need to accept. This one has always been hard for me. I'm very much a "I can do-this-myself person" and in the last month of being a mama, I've learned I definitely can't do this myself. And it's okay to accept (and even ASK!) for help. With everything. Baby, laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.
9. There is an endless supply of laundry to be done. I think I do like 6 loads a day...and somehow there is always STILL laundry to be done...I guess this makes sense when you have a baby pooping and spitting up on everything you own. :)
10. The most important thing I've learned so far is to take every day, just one day at a time. Every day has been a different set of challenges with Emmett. Some days, it's just about keeping him from screaming until his voice gives out (I wish I could say this has never happened but...) and other days, it's a serious victory when both E and myself have been bathed. All I know is, I have never been more grateful for something or someone in my life. This baby has made me realize what I was created and born to do...and that's to be a mama.
These difficult days of having a newborn are fleeting and short in the grand scheme of things. These incessant sleepless nights and constant feedings won't last forever. The mornings of surviving on coffee and a prayer should be treasured because I can do them while holding my precious, healthy baby. Yes...it's hard. But it's EVERYTHING I've ever wanted. Someday, Emmett won't cry for me to hold him anymore. He won't get his nutrition solely from my body forever. And I won't get to wake up with him right next to me in bed someday soon either. These moments are to be treasured. Even the hardest ones...because being a mama is a privilege that I feel I don't even deserve. But I can promise you this, I will do everything I can to be the greatest mama to my son that I can possibly be.
So 2017...I'm not sure what you've got up your sleeve - but I'm ready for you. And you've got some BIG shoes to fill from last year. But I'm looking to you with excitement and anticipation.
AND finally...happy ONE MONTH to my precious Emmett Rhodes - you have fulfilled my forever dream of being a mama and you'll never know how much I love you.
Cheers to 2017 everybody!!!!