Photo by Imagine’at Photography | www.imagine-at.com
Like all worthwhile challenges in life, being a parent is not easy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or has a very well paid nanny… and if they wanted to lend said nanny to me, I would totally be down! Some challenges (like not getting much sleep) I was prepared for… some challenges (only 1 week paid maternity leave and then getting laid off) I was not prepared for when we decided to have a kid… but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Let’s start with the expected:
I can’t run out the door at the drop of a hat anymore. That’s okay. It takes a little more time, but we get in a “getting ready” routine and we still get there.
Watching Nova grow up has been an amazing experience. The first year has been incredible. Watching her figure out how to walk and observe the world around her has been indescribable. I wouldn’t change anything for the world.
Baby poop isn’t THAT bad – at least when it’s your own baby’s poop.
Sleepless nights were tough, but they passed. It seemed slow at the moment, but before I knew it, she was sleeping 5 and 6 hours at a time… and let’s be honest, I didn’t sleep more than that, to begin with! The life of an entrepreneur, right?
Now for the unexpected:
Breastfeeding was harder than I thought it would be – for the first 3 weeks. It hurt like WOAH! But, after I figured out the latch situation, it has been such an awesome experience.
We ended up only getting one week paid maternity leave and short-term disability, which was the equivalent of about half a week’s worth of pay… and I didn’t know that was the deal until about 2 months before the due date, so we didn’t have the opportunity to budget appropriately. So, we adjusted.
I was laid off in November, have yet to receive my final paycheck and there is currently some investigations going on for some shadiness that went down at my old job – resulting in a lot of people being owed a lot of money. Also, clearly unexpected, but we adjusted. After lots of prayer and job hunting, we determined that this was the opportunity we were waiting for to have one of us doing photography full time. Scary as all get out, but so far it has been totally worth it. The plan changed again, but we adjusted. I’ve spent much more time with Nova than I would have otherwise and we have booked WAY more gigs than we would have if I was still working another job full time. Working for my own business is something I’ve dreamed of my entire life and while the dream didn’t happen how I thought it would – it happened!
I’ve really struggled with losing the baby weight. A year later and I’m still 10lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight, which was already up weight due to medical issues. So – once again, I’ve changed my strategy and I’m changing the way I am approaching food and exercise. MORE importantly, though, I’m working really hard on changing how I accept my body where it is right now. Do I love that the skin on my belly is loose and hangs there? No. Is it amazing that I grew a baby in my body? Totally. Are there more important things than the last 10 lbs? Yes! So, I’m working on making sure I take good care of my body, but I’m really working on loving myself where I’m at.
That’s really how life is though, right? We make plans, life throws a curve ball, we adjust – and hopefully end up better than we originally thought we’d be. And, the “bad times” (like losing a job shortly after having a baby) are usually surrounded by really amazing things. If we focus on the good, the bad things don’t seem as rough.
But now for the REALLY unexpected:
I didn’t know it was possible to love someone this much. Such a tiny helpless person at that.
I didn’t know how much more I could love my husband, but I’m finding out every single day.
I didn’t know how much I would love being a mom, but it’s amazing.
I didn’t know how it would be possible to make everything work, to keep building our business, and going to school, and being able to see our friends and do the things we love – but we do! Nova comes with us, we adjust, our friends adjust, and it’s working! Some days I don’t know how it works, but it does!
I didn’t know how much I would like other people’s babies, but I do! I get excited to see them! I think about these kids compared to my kid and I get excited! It’s so weird and I love it!
Life throws curve balls. You don’t think it can get worse, and it does… and even more surprising, you don’t think life can get better, and it does! One thing that I am learning over and over and over in the past year is that we are NOT islands. We need the people in our lives, and we need GOOD people in our lives. The more amazing people we surround ourselves with, the better life gets. The more we can be supported in the hard times and we appreciate the good times.
So there you have it, my not-that-late-night wisdom – thanks to reminiscing over Nova’s first year, a semi-sleepless night, and a Brandy Old Fashioned after Nova went to bed.
If you want to see some freakin’ CUTE photos we took for Nova’s first birthday – head over to the Imagine’at Photography blog and check them out!