Norah’s birthday and Mother’s Day and Keith’s birthday are practically on top of each other, and I was going to write something long and sappy about the things I’ve learned in my first year of motherhood, and what an awesome kid Norah A. Babysaurus has turned out to be in only a year, and how I intended to bake a lemon pound cake topped with blueberry compote for Keith’s birthday and instead he got a stack of Oreos on a salad plate.
But today it’s sunny and eighty-plus degrees, which means I’m feeling cheerful instead of strangely moody and sentimental. Let me sum up:
THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN MY FIRST YEAR OF MOTHERHOOD
1. Everyone — friends, family, compassionate strangers — tells you from day one, “It gets better!” and you either (a) scoff, (b) roll your eyes, (c) cry, or (d) demand to know when it will get better and how much better it will get. Fifty-two percent better? Three times better? Do you have a chart or Universal Betterness Scale? Because for at least the first two to six months everything sucks to infinity. Then, one day you and your husband are having fun playing with your happy baby, and you look at each other and go, “Hey! It’s better!” It gets better.
2. According to the Internet, there are approximately seven billion ways to raise a child properly. Take your pick! The chances that your child will become an unhappy, maladjusted adult solely because of your (or someone else’s) parenting decisions are incredibly small. With the exception of locking your child in the basement for eighteen years, do what you have to do to get through each day and create the family environment that you envision, and do it with love and respect.
3. Not all mothers fall in love with their babies right away; I didn’t. Not all mothers love every part of mothering; I don’t. If the stuff you’re reading by other mothers on the Internet is making you feel bad about yourself, stop reading. Your baby doesn’t need a perfect mother; your baby needs you, as you are right now, today.
A Facebook friend recently shared a bit of insight which nicely sums up the underlying point: “When you have no judgment of how things should be, you are not limited by your expectations.” Bingo.
4. If you take a break from making everyone else happy in order to ignore them for a while and make yourself happy, everyone will be happy.
A SUMMARY OF NORAH A. BABYSAURUS AT APPROXIMATELY ONE YEAR
WHAT YOU GET WHEN I RUN OUT OF TIME TO MAKE A LEMON POUND CAKE WITH BLUEBERRY COMPOTE FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY
I know, I know. I’ll post a very detailed tutorial later.