Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My Experience as a Parent Thus Far

Now that Scarlett is over 9 months old, I feel like I have a tight grip on this thing they call parenting.

As I was working out at the gym earlier, I was randomly inspired to write about my parenting experience so far.  I wanted to not only share my journey, but to also teach others who might be new parents or will be expecting a little one soon.

Scarlett was born via c-section after a 21 hour labor in December 2014.  Her introduction into this world was a rough one.  I had a traumatic birth and don't even remember seeing Scarlett for hours after she was born.  My pain level was very high and I was mostly interested in just sleeping.  Looking back on her birth, I wish we had that magical bonding moment as soon as she was born.  

One week old

What's crazy is that once you have the baby, it's yours with no questions asked.  You're responsible for knowing exactly what to do and raising this person for the next 18 years of their life.  Babies don't come with instruction manuals and you can only do the best possible job you can.  Scarlett cried a lot in her first few days of life.  She also had her days and nights mixed up, so she would sleep all day and be up all night.  It was rough to say the least.  We gave her to the nurses in the nursery twice so they could take care of her so my husband and I could get some sleep.  Make sure to ask as many questions to the nurses as possible because they don't come home with you!

Adjusting to parenting isn't always easy.  The first few weeks and months was a big blur. Scarlett wanted to eat constantly and never seemed satisfied.  I formula fed her and she always seemed so hungry no matter what.  If she wasn't crying from hunger, she was crying from gas pains.  She had gas issues for a while and once we finally switched her formula, she was so much happier.  If you're a new parent, figuring out a routine is something you need to do right away. Make sure to sleep when baby sleeps.  I remember crying when Scarlett was a week old and saying I don't think I can do this.  It was very overwhelming.  I didn't know how to maintain my own interests while cleaning my house, doing laundry, cooking, and taking care of a new baby. Luckily, as the days and weeks go by, everything becomes easier and you learn how to balance everything. 

Cutie girl 

I can't stress enough how important taking pictures is.  Make sure you take tons of pictures to remember these times by, because they will be gone before you know it. I look back on pictures of Scarlett and can't remember her being as tiny as she was at a month old, or a week old, etc.  I have Scarlett's pictures in a special album and I'm sure she will enjoy looking at them as she grows up.  Of course, I'll love looking at them with her too.  

It's essential to document everything, no matter how small the detail.  I record everything in Scarlett's baby book.  Detail is extremely important to me and not only do I record milestones and notable things in her book, I also record smaller details about her on a piece of paper for each month.  My mother didn't keep a baby book for me, and she can't remember certain things when I ask her.  If your baby book has a space for a letter, please write one.  I wrote Scarlett a letter when she was 6 weeks old.  I plan on showing it to her when she's old enough to appreciate and understand it.

The weeks and months go by so quickly. Each phase of life brings a new milestone.  You'll applaud and cheer your child on when they first lift their head up, roll over, sit up, crawl, etc.  I used to think how difficult it was when Scarlett was immobile.  Now she's crawling and pulling herself up to stand and won't sit still.  I'd give anything to have that tiny baby back who didn't fight diaper changes and would just lay on the floor while being read to! It's funny how things that felt so hard really weren't that challenging at all.


Now at 9 months old, Scarlett is a girl on the move.  She is really developing a personality and loves to laugh and be silly.  Not only is she very aware of life around her, she's understanding more every day.  She loves her mom and her face lights up whenever she sees me.  Pretty soon she's going to be walking and talking! I can't wait for that, but of course it will bring a whole new set of challenges too.  

Since I'm a stay at home mom, I'm blessed to be able to spend every day with her.  We read books, listen to kiddy cd's, play with toys, and of course go to tons of activities.  I am tired at the end of the day.   Once Scarlett goes to bed I try my best to balance cooking dinner, going to the gym, and spending time with my husband too.  You can't do everything, but I wouldn't trade these times for anything in the world.  I feel so lucky and fortunate that I'm able to not work at this time and spend my days with Scarlett.  

Let's play!

Babies are not babies for that long.  In just a blink of an eye, I'll be dropping her off for her first day of kindergarden.  One day she won't need me anymore, which feels so hard to believe. I hope that day isn't for many years though. 

Parenting is hard.  Not only is it hard, but it's also exhausting.  You are raising and shaping your child to be the best person possible.  You hope that they know and practice right from wrong, and try to do their best on a daily basis.  Despite the challenging and tough times, there are so many rewarding moments like kisses and hugs and making memories together. Make sure you spend as much time with your kids as possible, because one day they won't want to spend time with you.  It's a sad but true fact for parents. 

I have so much to look forward to down the line and I know it will only get better.

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