A recent post by one of our favorite bloggers, Karen Sullivan, the mom behind Baby Chenivan.
I know I keep saying this over and over but I can not believe Nathan will be a year old next week. Someone once described parenthood to me as "Long days, short years" and I couldn't agree more. When I think back to all we've gone through in the past 12 months, sometimes it feels like the days went on FOREVER and other times it feels like it all happened so fast.
Will and I once found everything so new and confusing, overwhelming and exhausting, but at this point we feel like we've settled into a very comfortable place as parents. We know what we're doing, we know what Nathan likes and dislikes, we are confident in our abilities and sometimes we even find ourselves thinking it's.... easy?!?! (Although it's still a lot of work and exhausting, don't get me wrong!!) I am so proud of how well we have worked together and I don't know how I could have made it through this year without him. It truly makes me respect single parents even more than I already did!!
In addition to my teammate Daddy, I have had some additional help along the way. Below is a list of things/people I could not have survived this year without.
Coffee runs, how decaf saved my sanity
When I found out I was pregnant I immediately switched to decaf and then I nursed Nathan for the first 7 months which meant I still couldn't go back to the real thing. So it wasn't caffeine that helped me, it was the actual act of going to get the coffee. After a long night with little to no sleep, it was very tempting to stay in my pajamas and never leave the apartment but coffee was my motivation in the morning to get dressed and get out. Once we were out I would usually take Nathan to the park and meet up with other moms and babies. I think the fresh air was good for both of us, I know the company of other moms was good for me and the long walks helped me fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans so triple bonus for Mama :) I went to Starbucks so often I even became a Gold member of their Rewards club!
Although I was anti-pacifier before I had my own child, these little suckers (pardon the pun) were sometimes the only thing that could comfort Nathan. I quickly learned to always carry one in my diaper bag, just in case. We have since weaned him from them and he very rarely takes one anymore (for emergencies only, like during a screaming meltdown in an enclosed public place), but they certainly helped us through many tough times in the beginning.
After 5 months of waking up at midnight, 2 am, 4 am, and 6 am to nurse my never satisfied, always hungry little bundle of joy, I was delirious from sleep deprivation. I threw in the towel and switched Nathan to formula for nighttime feeds. This allowed Will to help with night duty and allowed me the occasional full night's sleep!! However, our little man is very particular about his formula and will only drink it warm. So rather than standing at the stove, listening to a screaming infant while we heated the water up, we came up with the brilliant idea to heat the water right before we went to bed at night and pour it into our trusty thermos. Every night we set up our assembly line which allowed for much quicker feeds at 2 in the morning. After all, the quicker you can feed the baby, the quicker you can get back under the covers!
You often hear about mothers putting themselves last, never giving themselves a break, never allowing themselves to be selfish. I am lucky to have some very good girlfriends and meeting up with them for dinner and drinks provides me with opportunities to be Karen, not Mama. It's amazing how good for the soul that can be.
Between babysitting, cooking, laundry, cleaning, and endless other ways, our parents were a huge help to us this past year. Nathan is the first grandchild on both sides so he receives 100% of the attention from his grandparents. He is very lucky to be so loved and we are very lucky to have had their support.
Karen Sullivan is a mother of one in Manhattan. She blogs at Baby Chenivan.