Our First Year of Parenthood - Spruce Homes

Our First Year of Parenthood

I read a quote yesterday and had one of those “AH-HA” moments…The quote read, “Children may be our greatest teachers if we are humble enough to receive their lessons.” – B. McGill As I read it out loud, the words felt like they were piercing my inner-being. Not a day goes by that my patience, sanity, and heart aren’t tested and changed by our baby girl, Rae. Becoming a mother has single handedly been the most challenging thing I have ever done. ..I used to think that starting a business and moving countries were pretty big life accomplishments / changes, but they’ve got nothing on raising a child lol.

Today marks our sweet girls FIRST birthday! Wow, has life changed in a short 12 months. Brad and I remember people jokingly telling us, “Get your sleep now before baby comes!” I always giggled along, but never took what they were saying to be a reality. OOPS! They were right lol. The first 3 months of Rae’s life the doctor’s had us waking her every 2 hours for a feed because she was so small. Believe me when I say that a lack of sleep starts to wear on a person after some time!

I wanted to publish this blog as a follow-up to the first post I wrote as a mother back in August titled, “Baby. Marriage. Work. Life. Our Attempt at balancing it all.” So many moms and dads experience emotional roller coasters in the first year of parenthood, and I know I found myself searching for someone I could relate to. If that’s you, I hope that this blog and Brad and I’s continual story bring you comfort and hope that in the most challenging moments there is still joy to be found.

Over the last 12 months we’ve experienced happiness, sadness, anger, excitement, doubt and 1,000 other emotions as parents. We’ve read books, scrolled web md, and ask friends for advice – but the majority of our learning’s have come from figuring things out on the fly. I wanted to share my top 3 insights into parenthood after my short 12 months of being a mommy because my goal is to be a shoulder to lean on for other new moms. These are all things that have worked for me in this season of life, and I hope that if nothing else they can bring you hope in your darkest moments.

1. Your marriage must remain a priority – Once baby comes into the world your whole life revolves around him or her. It becomes SO easy to let your marriage fall by the way-side but you simply can’t! Brad and I fell into this trap and didn’t even realize it until Rae was 6 months old…we now plan 2 date nights a month and get a babysitter (aka: Grandma and Grandpa or Auntie Katie & Uncle Dusty) and we go on an actual date. Whether we go to the movies, out to eat, or have a drink – it’s a time for us to invest in our relationship and enjoy a few moments of silence together.

2. Grace not perfection – I’ve learned that no matter what, I always feel like I’m falling short…whether that means I’m not keeping up with work, or I feel like my head is in a 1,000 places at once… I’ve learned that I’m not perfect and I’m never going to be. My house is inevitably going to be cluttered with toys, our bed gets made about 50% of the time – and yes, we will probably eat-out 3 of the 7 meals a week…IT’S OKAY! I always remind myself, “Grace, not perfection!” These moments of chaos are also what brings joy for our little family of 3 🙂

3. You can be an entrepreneur and a good mom at the same time – I always grew up thinking it was one or the other….you had to pick career or being a mom and that’s just the way that it was. I remember crying to Brad one night before Rae arrived because I was afraid of losing my career, and what I was passionate about once I had the responsibility of another life on my hands. One of the coolest parts of entrepreneurship to me is that you have the ability to make your life whatever you want it to be…it’s not going to fall in your lap – you have to have the willingness to put the work in– but it is indeed POSSIBLE! My time with Rae is everything to me. I’ve learned that making a routine is the only way I feel a sense of calm. We have our morning routine of milk and YouTube’s together before she is off to “school” and then we have our evening rituals together before she goes to bed. In order to stay on top of work, many evenings are spent working once Rae is fast asleep, but the sacrifice is worth it to me. Brad and I work Saturdays and have created a routine to each have a special time with her: On Saturday mornings Brad takes Rae on a bike buggy ride or some other fun adventure while I get some work done in the office, and then we “switch” in the afternoons and he heads to the office while I take Rae on a “mommy and me” adventure. The consistency and special time alone has really been neat for both of us!

As I reflect on this past year, it’s hard for me to write this without tears in my eyes. Rae – you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. The world held still for just a moment when you were placed in my arms, to fill the empty pieces of my heart I never knew were there. Your sweet snaggle tooth smile pushes me to be the best version of myself each and every day. Happy birthday my love!