Outfit details: Mustard off the shoulder dress: Forever 21 (similar ones in this awesome shade here, here and here) | Shoes: J. Crew (old) | Earrings: J. Crew J. Crew |Sunnies: Gucci |Bag: GigiNewYork
Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms and moms-to-be out there!
I will preface this post by saying two things: 1) I am not, nor do I mean to come off as any type of parenting expert. 2) I just wanted to share with you guys a few of the things that I’ve learned/realized over this first year of being Nolan’s mom. Which brings me to my first thought:
1. Everyone’s an “expert”, but no one really knows what they’re doing. The minute that I announced I was pregnant, and even more once Nolan was born, I was inundated with advice, some sought out, most unsolicited. Between information from doctors, the internet, and other veteran moms, it can be very overwhelming to hear so many often conflicting opinions on how to do feed, diaper, get to sleep, medicate, care for, and interact with your baby. A lot of the advice and info is helpful, but some of it is judgmental and annoying. At the end of the day, its up to you to sort through the bs and decide what’s best for you, in your particular situation. I really liked to figure things out for myself, and tried to keep things as simple as possible. Through all the “helpful” advice, really, everyone is just winging it — humans have survived through trial and error if you really think about it!
2. You do NOT need half the stuff that BuyBuyBaby is trying to sell you. I really think that these baby merchandise companies are capitalizing on the new mom’s anxiety and fear, in turn, creating MORE anxiety and fear, and more so, making moms feel GUILTY for not buying (and buying into) the bullshit items like “wipe warmers” (sorry, friends of mine who use these!) As a person who has a serious aversion to clutter, I was so afraid that having a baby would bring so much crap into the house (and realistically, some of it is unavoidable). So we really tried and continue to try to keep Nolan’s things to a minimum. Babies don’t know what a “toy’ is vs. a cardboard tube pulled out of the trash (trust me, Nolan prefers the latter)– so we’ve kept the crappy plastic toys to a minimum and let him explore random household items instead. One mantra that I’ve kept in the back of my “mom” mind is that HUMANS HAVE BEEN RAISING OTHER HUMANS WITHOUT THE INTERNET, TECHNOLOGY, OR ANYTHING FILLING THE AISLES AT BABIES R US SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME– and guess what?! We’ve not only survived, but thrived! We don’t even use a baby monitor (don’t judge!)– we bought the most basic, audio only model, and only used it for a few weeks before we realized it caused more stress than relieved it, for us at least (we also have a small upstairs, and could hear Nolan through the doors lol)…my mom never had a monitor, and all of us somehow survived!
3. Being haggard and selfless does not make you a better mom. One of my dearest friends who became a mom a year or so before me shared this thought/observation with me at my baby shower. So many moms wear their frazzled appearance and exhaustion as badges of honor, proclaiming (loud and clear) how long its been since they’ve eaten a real meal/watched a show/gotten a mani/showered etc. In my opinion, and experience, this does not make you a better mom! I refuse to put myself last all the time, and I will NOT feel guilty about it! So what if Nolan has to entertain himself in the pack n play for a half hour while I shower? It’s ok to leave him for a night with family/friends so that I can go out with Tim or my friends. And sometimes, he’s gonna have to sit through an episode of House of Cards because that’s what Tim and I are watching. I was happy and ME for 32 years before I had him, and I see no reason to discontinue being either of those things! Which brings me to the next thing I learned…
4. Babies are not alien creatures, they are just small, inexperienced humans. Before I had Nolan, I def would have put him in the “alien creatures” category– babies seem so foreign at first. After reading “Bringing Up Bebe” last summer though, (chronicling an American woman raising her baby in Paris, and the sociological differences in baby-rearing culture), the notion that babies are just smaller humans, with the same desires for independence, privacy and alone time as we do, really clicked with me. Would you, as an adult, like someone stalking your every move, constantly hovering over you, “entertaining” you, doing things with and for you? That sounds like torture to me! So, when Nolan wakes up in the morning, I leave him to sing to himself, talk to his stuffed animals, rearrange the blankets in his crib (Shocker! He has in fact survived with a pillow, blankets, and stuffed animals in his crib! Current dogma instills in us that the crib should be bare, but as soon as I observed that he was strong enough to move things as he pleased, including himself, I let him have these things in the crib). I don’t play with him every second that we’re home– one of my favorite things to do is just watch him from a distance and see what he gravitates towards and can figure out for himself. Since we’ve been “giving him privacy” and independence to do things for himself since he was a newborn, he’s grown accustomed to it and now I’m so proud of his independence and ability to entertain himself– also it makes it a lot easier on me as a mom!
5. Make them fit into your life, not the other way around. A few sagacious people passed this little nugget of wisdom on to me, and it is def the most valuable idea that we try and live by. As a woman who never felt a burning desire to be a mom, (sorry Nolan, if you ever read this! I’m obviously so happy your’re here!) one of my fears was that having a baby would change our lives in negative and irreversible ways. We learned that it doesn’t have to. I would definitely say that life changes, yes, in that you have to be a little better about scheduling and organized/structured with your time– but it’s really only as “bad” as you make it! From the first few weeks he was born, Tim and I decided that we were just going to take him EVERYWHERE; we would have him live life with us (most of the time) as we had been living prior to his arrival. We ‘”ripped the band aid” off of the typically nerve-wracking experiences for new parents right away– we took him to fancy, not only “family friendly” restaurants, took him camping (he slept in a tent multiple times!), took him to the beach, had him sleep over other people’s houses at night, both with and without us; he’s slept in many hotels, flown on planes twice (Miami and San Diego), gone on many a car trip, navigated public transportation (subways, ubers, taxis, trains); he’s been to parties, in crowds, to bars, and even to New York Fashion Week! Other thank to recap all the fun we’ve had with Nolan over the past year, my point is this: instead of building up anxiety over waiting to do these things with him, wondering how he’d fare, we JUST DID THEM…and he adjusted!
6. Being a mom is like being in a weird,but kind of cool, sorority. Once you have a baby, you’re in. You get it. You can trade stories about poop, puke, and socializing (other than your own!). Sometimes being in this club is annoying (judging, comparisons, competition, cliches), but most of the time its nice. It’s comforting knowing that pretty much everyone is dealing with the same issues, and that you’re not alone…I like being able to learn from moms whose babies are older than Nolan, to get a peek at what’s to come, and I like being able to share some of what I now know with moms who are newer than me. I also see my own mom differently; I understand a lot more thing that baffled me growing up (like why she never had time to sort out the mail! Guilty, myself…). I admire the fact that she worked a high pressure, full time job, commuting many hours a day, and still making time to take care of my siblings and I. We were well cared for, but groomed for independence, exactly how I want Nolan to be.
There are probably a million more things that I’ve learned, literally something new every day– so cheers to my first successful year down, and another year of adventures to come!