Blog Series: You Get Better
One of our bloggers recently wrote that when it comes to motherhood, things don’t get easier, but YOU get better. Flynn is going on five months now, and the more experience I gain, the more comfortable I feel in my role as Mom. In the beginning, it was easy to feel totally paralyzed by the mere thought of trying to accomplish everyday tasks while caring for a tiny human or to anticipate his next meltdown or diaper blowout apocalypse. With a little practice, some things are feeling second nature now, and I think even Flynn is falling into a routine (slowly but surely). Motherhood is a learning curve, and we are all learning together as a family, but it’s good when you can take a moment to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, you’re getting somewhere.
Remember when I struggled to get the whole breastfeeding thing down and made the somewhat controversial statement that breastfeeding is HARD? Well, I stand by my remarks. For many of us, even if you have a baby who latches like a pit bull and an overflowing milk supply, breastfeeding takes some getting used to plus a lot of patience plus a lot of time organization (and maybe some blood, sweat and tears because we are only human). If, on the other hand, you’re one of those moms who finds breastfeeding a total cakewalk, then congratulations. You’re clearly a motherhood ninja. That being said, I DO think choosing to breastfeed has all been worth it. I’m finally in a place where feeding and pumping are now ingrained in my daily routine. Over time, I’ve been able to get Flynn on a somewhat stable feeding schedule (but there are DEFINITELY times when I have to calm a situation by way of the boob), and I’ve managed to stick to a pumping schedule when I’m at the office. We’re in a pretty good rhythm now, I’m not a leaking mess 24/7 anymore and I think the stress of when Flynn will eat and how much has finally been taken out of the equation – leaving us all feeling a bit calmer and more relaxed.
Leaving the House
When we first brought Flynn home from the hospital, I felt pretty confident that we would just never leave the house again. Knowing what gear to bring, preparing for the great journey, buckling a teeny tiny person, navigating LA traffic with said fragile little being just felt totally insurmountable. And then when I discovered that we did in fact have to leave the house from time to time, the chaos of trying to get us out the door was INSANE. Should I feed him and then change him and then head out? What if he falls asleep while eating and then I have to change him and load him into his car seat? WHAT THEN? If we had to be somewhere at a certain time it was always a lost cause from the start. But practice makes … well not perfect but better. Taking our show on the road is far less intimidating and time consuming these days. Here’s when I think things changed: Before the end of my maternity leave, we opted to do a little weekend road trip. The idea seemed crazy at first, but in a way, jumping in and taking our baby on a trip early in the game made any smaller daytime outing no big deal. Flynn was remarkably calm on the trip, we got our travel routine in check and we even managed to discover the joy of being out in the world with a little one in tow.
The Daily Grind
Remember when I wrote about feeling like I never had a second to myself? Caring for Flynn was pretty all consuming in the beginning. Every day felt like a juggling act (it still does), but I guess my juggling skills are improving. Learning to streamline our morning routine so I can make it to the office bright and early, getting Flynn on a feeding/sleeping schedule and becoming more confident with things like diapering, dressing, bathing and nursing have helped free up moments in the day. I now get to enjoy a little “me” time (and by “me” time, I mean time to get some work done, pay bills and clean up the house – so LUXURIOUS!). It’s not a perfect science, but the more you do these once-daunting baby tasks, the less intricate they seem.
I can’t say we’ve nailed parenthood by any means, but I can say that if you’re a new mom and feeling like you’ll never get the hang of this, have faith. You’re going to get better.
Jillian Gordon is the Managing Editor of Mamapedia.com. A Los Angeles-based lifestyle writer and editor, her work has appeared in Beauty Launchpad, Nailpro Magazine, Saturday Night Magazine and Westside Today. She is also the former Content Manager of Mom.me. Jillian welcomed her son Flynn in November, 2016.