Thursday, March 14, 2013

Parenting: Year ONE


If there is one thing I’ve learned over the past year, it is that parenting is the most amazing, rewarding and fulfilling experience one can ever have.  I’ve also learned that it is f-ing hard work.  There hasn’t been a week that has gone by in the past 371 days that I haven’t doubted myself as a parent in one way or another.  The constant parenting questions have flown like lava through my head.  Did Gracie poop enough today?  Did she eat enough? Is her weight on track?  Are we reading to her as much as we should?  Does she watch too much TV?  Are we exposing her to enough new experiences?  Is she being stimulated?  Are we spoiling her?  Is she spending adequate time with both sides of our family?  Is what we’re feeding her the healthiest option?  Is her development where it should be?  Why did she start walking and then decide to stop?  Can she tell I lost my patience today?  What if she becomes an impatient little girl?  I could go on… and on… and on. 

At the end of the day, we as new parents are our own worst critics and there really isn’t anyone out there that is going to be harder on us than we are on ourselves.  Now I will say that I’m sure there are some new parents who are more relaxed in their parenting expectations and don’t worry about these kinds of things.  I am not one of those parents.  To this day G has to, at times, tell me, “Babe, calm down… you’re worrying for nothing”.  93.6% of the time my wife is right and I am worrying for nothing.  Meh, what can you do.   

While I am guilty of worrying too much and doubting myself, I also try to be aware of what G and I are doing well.  This is something I feel all parents should try and do – focus on the good.  I thought about this quite a bit as baby girl’s first birthday approached.  As I went through my mental list of should’ve, would’ve and could'ves, I tried really hard to reflect on some of the good stuff.  You know those moments that are few and far between when you KNOW with certainty that you’ve done something good, something right for your baby.  I love those moments.  Here are a few of ours.

* Our kid is happy.  Like REALLY happy.  This is something we’ve been told by friends, family and strangers since Gracie was a teenie, tiny baby.  More people than I can count have told us that our little gal is the most joyful baby they’ve ever met!  I’ll never forget something my auntie Maine told me one day.  She said, “Gracie is a very happy little girl and that’s not something that just happens.  It’s a reflection of her environment”.  This is what I am most proud of.

* Healthy eating habits started on day ONE.  I always knew I wanted to make our kids baby food, I just didn’t know how.  Turns out, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.  I’m proud of the fact that nearly 100% of the baby food Grace has consumed has been organic and homemade.  And while I did ruin a pan (or two) in the making of said baby food, both G and I agree it was totally worth the time, energy and pans.  Now that Grace has moved on to big people food, healthy choices continue to be a must.

* We stuck with cloth diapering and did it even though many friends and family couldn’t understand why we wanted to cloth diaper and thought we would eventually go to disposable.  Some of our co-workers even had an office bet on how long we would last, haha!  This was more than a money saving move for us.  It was a decision with Gracie’s health and the environment in mind.  Like I’ve always said, every family is different and it’s important we not judge each other – this was just the best option for our little tribe. :)   

* Lastly, we survived not one, but two operations on our baby girl.  This was something that frightened us deeply.  We often lost sleep over our concerns.  There were tears and some arguments, but we got through it as a family and we couldn’t be more proud of how amazingly well Grace did.  Her smile makes it all worth it.

Now I’m not going to list every accomplishment we had in year one because quite frankly, I doubt anyone but us would want to read that list, lol.  Still I wanted to highlight just a few things – the things we are most proud of.

So for all you other mamas and papas out there, can you relate to any of these feelings – or am I just crazy? ;)  What are you most proud of?

~ Our little teacher ~

11 comments:

  1. Well said. and good on you for looking for the positive.....it can be so hard !
    She is a happy happy baby and you guys have done a fantastic job !

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    1. Thank you my fellow mom of 5!! Your compliment means a lot. :)

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  2. Congrats on surviving the first year!!!
    We really are hardest on ourselves & I have found that it continues... Even when the major milestones have been met & they have surpassed the expectations of the pediatrician.
    Kudos on sticking with cloth diapers too :)
    Everyone thought we were CRAZY for attempting cloth with our trio but we did it, still do it & are now looking into cloth "pull ups" I'm eager to get them potty trained :)

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    1. Phew, we made it! Ha! Thanks Spring, I anticipated the challenges would continue and I hope (and think) we're ready. I had no idea they made cloth "pull ups"!! Thank you for the heads up. I'm totally going to look into that.

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  3. she's so cute! I read about your TTC and her surgeries and y'all have done a fantastic job! I totally wanna try cloth diapers-what brand did you like best?

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    1. Thanks so much B! I'm happy to read that you're catching up with our adventures thus far as I've enjoyed following your blog too! The majority of our cloth diapers are Bum Genius but we did have some leaking issues with the size mediums. It was weird... the XS, S and L worked great but the M's were super leaky. Target is now carrying a line of cloth and I've heard good things about it. I may looking into trying a few new ones out just to see how they do.

      Overall we have been very happy going cloth so I highly recommend it!

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  4. This is beautiful! I am guilty of worrying too much! I will have to take a page out of your book and keep my worrying in check! Thanks for the great reminder!

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  5. What a great post! Such a great reminder to look at the positives.

    I've spent more years than I like to admit raising other people's kids so you'd think I would be super relaxed with my own. But nope, I still worry about eating, sleeping and milestones along with everyone else :-)

    As long as our kids are happy we must be doing something right!

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  6. This is so great!! You both are absolutely wonderful parents, and Gracie is the most precious little girl - we just can't BELIEVE she is already 1 year old!!!

    xxx

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    1. Awe, best compliment ever! Thanks so much! I'm still in disbelief that she is a year old too. :,(

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Thanks so much for keeping up with our little family! We love reading your comments and will get back to you as soon as we can.

K+G+g+w ♥

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