Motherhood: What I’ve Learned
By: Melanie Braga
Motherhood is a beautiful, rewarding, stressful and tiring role. But the most important one that one can ever have.
I have always wanted a family of my own and was thrilled to be blessed with a baby girl on August 1st, 2014. I knew that this would be a journey like no other I have experienced and even though I was as prepared as I could be; it still didn’t seem like I was really prepared. It has been a year and I have learned so much especially about me. Here are just a few of my top ten highlights (in no real order).
1. Sleepless Nights
Everyone knows that with baby comes many sleepless nights. But to actually go through them, is tough! If it wasn’t tummy pains, it was teething pain or just restlessness. No matter the reason, it resulted in many sleepless nights. This has been the hardest hurdle to overcome; however, I learned that taking naps during the day with Nikki helped battle those sleepless nights when they knocked on the door. It is important to get some rest for mom as it is for baby. So no matter what, try and get some rest when you can as the housework can wait.
2. Unsolicited Advice
Many of my friends who already went on the parent train, all warned me that many people were going to offer parenting advice, even when not being asked. Oh boy! They were so right! No matter who or where I turned, advice was always given. It would be on what to feed my child, how to care for her and any other parenting advice they deemed necessary to tell me. At first, the advice was hurtful as I felt it was a stab on my parenting skills and it does get extremely annoying to deal with. It took me awhile to get over this but I have learned that it is easier to just ignore the unsolicited advice and for helpful advice, to just say thanks. People do mean well but they do forget how frustrating it is for new parents to be nagged about their parenting.
3. Trust Your Gut
I learned that you should always trust your gut when taking care of your baby as you know your baby best. I knew what each cry meant and I knew when to intervene. It is always important to trust yourself and as a mom you always want the best for your baby. “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” – Benjamin Spock
“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” – Franklin P. Adams
I learned that I did not have much patience and learned quickly that I needed it more than ever. When my patience was running thin, there are 4 things that I learned to do: 1) Gave myself a break 2) Count to ten and start again 3) Be patient with myself and 4) See the bigger picture. Any one of these would help me cope and keep my patience at ease.
5. Unconditional Love
The moment I laid eyes on my baby Nikki, I was in love. I knew deep down in my heart she was my world and I was going to be the best that I could be to protect her. It was the beginning of that unconditional love that I heard so much about. Even in the hardest days, I learned that this love would always surface and made all the trouble times worth it in the end.
6. No More Privacy
Say goodbye to doing anything on your own. You always have company which includes trips to the bathroom. The silver lining, you will always have someone to talk to.
7. Ask for Help
I learned that it’s ok to ask for help when you need it. Even though I’m still working on this, it is great to get a mommy break. No need to try to do it all yourself as you are already caring for the most precious life, your baby. At the beginning, I tried doing it all and learned quickly that it was draining me and had to ask for help. No shame in that.
8. Don’t be so Hard on Yourself
No parent has ever been perfect but we all try our very best for our children and that is what matters. Learning not to be hard on myself allowed me to be a better mom to Nikki as I got rid of that pressure.
Laugh as much as you can and it will be a happier environment for you and baby. By laughing often, it helped relieve my stress and Nikki learned to laugh often as well, and she was one happy baby. Life is too short, so smile and laugh often.
It is amazing how quickly we learn to multi-task with a baby in our arms. I mastered many tasks with one hand and I have become much more productive at home. This is a great skill learned through the first year of motherhood and am grateful for it.
But the best lesson learned was experiencing what it is like to care, love, support and sacrifice for an extension of you. For the first time in my life, I know and felt what my parents went through to raise me and my sister. I have a deeper appreciation for all that they did and for the life they gave me. Now I have the opportunity to do the same for Nikki and for this, I have become a better me.
– Momma Braga