Friday, July 20, 2012

Guest post!

I have spoken about my critique girls before, and while I am taking a hiatus from my manuscript, I do stay in touch with these fabulous ladies.  AND one of them is a new mommy just like me!  She took interest in the post I wrote awhile ago about being a new mom and being selfish with your time with your family, as she has had the same issues in her first few months as a new mom.  So I asked her to share a little bit about her experiences journeying into "mommyhood."  So without further's Christie Koester
15 Things I've Learned in the Three (short) Months I've Been a Mom

1. Your life changes in a major way and you can NEVER prepare for it.

I was reading seven (yes, SEVEN ) books when I was pregnant to prepare myself for labor, motherhood and taking care of our baby. I talked to all my girlfriends with babies. I took classes about babies. I blogged about preparing for our baby. I thought I was beyond ready. Wrong. That first month after I brought our baby home was the hardest month of my life. Yes, some of the books helped with a few tricks here and there but nothing, and I mean nothing, could've prepared me for the way my life was about to change. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

2. Breastfeeding can be HARD

I’ve been fortunate enough to breastfeed, but one thing I learned was not all babies and momma’s click immediately. I dreaded every feeding that first month because I felt like a broken feeding machine. It took over 15 minutes to get a good latch. I’d sweat. I’d cry. I’d bleed. Then I’d have to pump. And then feed him an ounce from a bottle. And in a short hour later, I had to do it all over again. And up to 12 times a day. I never gave up. I was determined to make it work with the help of my doctor, a lactation consultant, and the support of my husband and many girlfriends who were strong advocates of breastfeeding.

After the fourth trip to the pediatrician to make sure our little guy was gaining weight, the hard work finally paid off. I was officially a successful breast feeder.

Do I think breastfeeding is simple now? No, not really. But I’m still at it and totally look forward to every three to four hours so I can bond with my little guy. It’s one of the best moments of my day.

3. A smile makes up for all those lost hours of sleep

Week one - I was clueless and scared out of my mind. Week two - I was ready to bury myself in the Kohl's clothes rack when my mom forced me to leave the house. Honestly, I didn't want to go back home! I remember having a sinking feeling in my stomach when I thought about all that waited for me there - the responsibilities seemed endless and so overwhelming. I wanted to run all the way back to my old life where I could easily catch up on sleep. Week three - I was crying at everything...commercials, songs on the radio, things my husband said, the fluids leaking from my body. Everything! Week four - I was ready to crash and explode. I had expended all energy in every form. The 14 hours of sleep I was going on FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK had caught up to me. The constant wake-up calls at 1, 3, 6 were killing me. And then...just as I was about to scream, "I can't do this anymore!" Our son looked up at me and smiled. My heart grew about twenty million sizes bigger and sleep didn't matter much anymore. My son loved me.

That was enough.

4. Communication is huge...even if it's uncomfortable

Week four my perfect husband and our perfect relationship had a major hiccup. The wonderful marriage we once had was slipping through my fingers and I couldn’t do anything about it, or at least that's what I felt at that moment. I learned I get a little dramatic when I’m sleep deprived. There were no more dinners for two, or wine tasting Fridays, or hugs and kisses after returning home from work, or nights snuggling together reading our books until we drifted off to sleep. I missed him terribly. He could’ve been in the same room, but everything was different - I felt we were miles apart. We were both scared sh*tless and VERY TIRED. VERY. We stopped talking. We held our frustrations in. We grunted at each other in passing. And one night we both reached our breaking point, letting every bit of emotion out in one big blowup. I cried. He cried. And after that, things got better. We hugged it out. We talked from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. about everything. From that point on we were honest with one another. We forgave when we needed to. And we never stopped talking!

5. Multi-tasking takes on a whole new level

That first week I brought our son home, I was relieved if I could take a shower. Going into week thirteen I'm back to cooking, blogging, working, cleaning, running errands, and all the other things us moms/wives do. All I can say is you need more than two hands to get everything done in a day. Soon you will be embracing your feet. They are excellent at picking up burp clothes, pacifiers and rocking your baby to sleep.

6. Always ALWAYS listen to your gut

Don't mess with women's intuition and instincts - there's something to be said about this. If something doesn't feel right in your gut, LISTEN to it. You'll save yourself a ton of worry, sleepless nights and time. And time is something you don’t have a lot of, so just open your ears and heart to what’s going on inside and listen. Very few will understand the exact feelings going on inside you but they are there. Listen to them. You will know when something isn’t right.

7. Mom friends rock

The very few people who will understand what you’re going through are your mom friends. I would've NEVER been able to make it through the first few months if I didn't have my mom friends. These are the people you can text at 2 a.m. with questions like...Is it normal my baby has neon green poop? Why do I want to scream when everyone gets in my baby's face? Why am I up right now and my husband is sleeping? Google will only take you so far. You need friends like these to help keep your sanity. And if you don’t have any, sign up for Early Family Childhood Education (ECFE) classes or support groups through your hospital. These moms are there to remind you that you are normal. You are amazing. And you can do it. They've been there. They've been through it. And the good ones will NEVER judge you.

8. You need thick skin, and thick skin forever

Be ready for almost EVERYONE wanting a piece of your baby. It’s nice to know your baby is so loved by so many people, but sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming. You might get to the point where you want to escape. But sometimes you can’t go anywhere. Instead, you’re cornered by opinions and judgment. And more times than not everyone else’s way always seem to be the better way (according to them) because that’s the way they did it (insert how many years ago here). It's annoying. It's frustrating. And a lot of times it's hurtful. If you let it. Or there’s the beloved guilt trip where you’re forced to tote baby around every place under the sun. Soon weekends are taken up, nap schedules slip away and you’re more tired than ever because you have to play catch up and be there to pick up all the pieces. Be an advocate for you and your baby. Set boundaries. After all, you are pretty much the only one getting up in the middle of the night. What I was taught is to remember that most of these people are just trying to help. They love your baby and they want baby to love them. But you have the precious gift of being the parent and will ALWAYS be. I step back and keep doing what I do best - loving my son. And that feels like I accomplished something major.

9. The human body is a miracle.

Every day I look at myself in the mirror and then at my little man. I can't believe I (ahem, my husband too) created such a perfect human. I had an idea in my mind how I wanted my labor to go, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Keep an open mind. Embrace the miracle happening inside you and be ready for your mind to be blown away no matter the outcome. There really isn’t any great way to quite describe the moment when you meet your baby for the first time. It’s a whole new level of love.

10. You’ll always be late

I hate being late. I think it’s disrespectful and rude. But I don’t know how else to fix this. I can get up an extra hour earlier and I’m still always 10 to 15 minutes late. Baby either spits up, poops or is taking an extra-long time feeding. The good thing is most people are understanding.

11. Worry takes on a whole new meaning.

I worry about everything now! Who will he become? Is he growing like he should? Should I be doing more? Is he eating enough? Should he have more of a routine? What if something happens to him? Has he been in his car seat too long? How will he do on a five-hour car ride? Every day there are more worries. What I need is faith. It's what gets me through. I need to trust everything will work out according to God's plan. As a mom, I really wish God would let me in on that plan of His so I could just let go and let my son be and know I have nothing to worry about... This is where faith comes in. I must have faith to let go a little at a time.

12. Going back to work is hard

I don't know how to sugarcoat this. I go back Thursday (today). I'm dreading it. I don't know how I'll survive it. I will cry and I’m sure I’ll be mad at the world. I just know leaving my baby is going to suck. He is my world and has been with me every second for a full year now and I’m leaving him! I’m thankful I have a job but just when I got used to being a mom, I have to now become a working mom and learn all over again how to balance even more. Didn’t I suffer through enough change for one year? Can't I just win the lottery and call it a day?

13. You develop a new appreciation for your own mom

I look at my mom in a whole new light. I know now what she went through, all she's endured and I know I can count on her to be there for me when I go through every new stage. Now I know why my mom never made it down to the pool to sit in the sun when we'd vacation in Arizona but my dad could. Or why her cushion on the chair at the dinner table was the only one not worn out. Or why our house wasn't always picked up perfectly. Or how she loves us no matter what we do. I get it all. And it makes me lover her even more.

14. This is the hardest job you'll ever have… but also the most rewarding

Parenthood is hard and I'm only on month three. Yet, this has also been the greatest experience of my life. I love my husband more because of it. I love myself more because I can't believe what I've been able to take on and concur. And I love my son more than words can describe. I never knew I could love this much. And that makes life awesome! It’s almost like each day is a little more brighter.

15. Take each by day

I start to panic when I look into the future. I get overwhelmed when I realize what I’m going have to do when our baby starts eating, crawling, walking, talking… The list goes on. I remember walking into the baby aisle at Target and getting dizzy at all the brands of bottles out there. “I’ll never be able to get these all down,” I told my husband. “I’m never going to be able to take all this on,” I told my mom. “How will I know what to do and when to do it?” I admitted to friends.

You wake up every morning. You take each day as it is and you never ever take a second for granted. Some days it’s minute by minute, some it’s hour by hour…and some is day by day. I can’t look further than that. And I’m thankful for this. I have finally slowed down and smelled the roses. Life is more beautiful than I remember but each day brings a new challenge. And if you were to ask me if I’d do it all over again. I’d say, “In a heartbeat.” (Even the 38.5 hours of labor.)

I couldn't agree more with all of this advice!  Thanks Christie!

Stop by and check out Christie's blog and also check out Christie's author's site at:


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