6 Life Lessons I’ve Learned In The Past 6 Months

Oh man…Riley just turned 6 months on Wednesday and WHERE DOES TIME EVEN GO??? It feels like she was just born but it also sometimes feels like it’s been a lifetime (that’s probably all those sleepless nights that felt like a century in themselves). She is just an absolute delight and is SO fun and I love her personality so much. She’s got attitude for days and smiles for me always. I love it.

My journey to motherhood was probably not typical (not having a strong feeling if I wanted to have kids or not) but oh man I cannot imagine my life without her right now nor could I have ever EVER imagined how fiercely I could love someone else. I used to roll my eyes when I’d hear moms say “oh there is NOTHING like the love for a child” and I’d be like…well respectfully you don’t understand my love for ice cream and hot baths and a good book BUT OKAY. But, like, I get it now. I mean, I don’t think you need to have a kid to experience a full and fierce love. NOT AT ALL. But there is something indescribable about my love for her — I mean, she’s essentially this little tiny dictator who tells me when *I* will sleep and when I won’t, she takes all of my energy and needs me 24/7 basically…yet I’m obsessed with her and will do ANYTHING (like even dance around like a goof) to get one of those gummy smiles for her.

Anyways…I’ve learned a lot about myself and about being a mom in these past 6 months. Some of these things I learned through parenting were things that I was like HUH wow I can apply these things I’ve learned outside of mom life.

So here are 6 lessons I’ve learned in the past 6 months (plus cute pictures of Riley):

I’ve learned that progress is not always linear

I think one of the biggest lessons that I took to heart over the past 6 months is the fact that progress isn’t always linear. The thing that taught me this? Riley’s sleep. It’s the best feeling ever when your baby goes from being up every 1-2 hours as a newborn to finally sleeping an amazing 5 hour stretch and then, as we experienced last month, the glorious 11-12 hours straight with no middle of the night feedings. But you know what would happen after we just settled into each new “sleep milestone”? A week or two later she would stop doing whatever awesome sleep thing she did and I would get SO SO frustrated. I’d say I THOUGHT WE WERE DONE WITH THIS AND ON TO A NEW SLEEP PATTERN. But alas. Sometimes developmental delays or teething or growth spurts or just nothing that can be explained happen and the line does not continue in a straight. BABY SLEEP IS NOT LINEAR. Sometimes you take steps backward.

How I’m applying it outside of Mom Life: I think about my goals now and I get so bummed every time a setback happens but PROGRESS is not always linear. Sometimes setbacks happen or we stay stagnant for a bit or straight up defeat. But forging on the best I can is important on the road to progress.

 

I’ve learned that asking for help feels uncomfortable/awful/scary but ultimately freeing

 

Before having Riley I would NEVER EVER EVER ask for help. It just wasn’t a thing I did. I AM AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN, dammit. But I learned the value of my village in the throes of PPD/PPA. We couldn’t have made it if we didn’t have the people in our life to ask for and accept the help they offered.

How I’m applying it outside of Mom Life: I feel like before I always thought that needing help was weakness but I’m learning to realize it takes a strong person to genuinely put pride aside and ask for and accept help. I realized that there are other times in my life, looking back, that I SHOULD have asked for help from the people who love me. Not in a taking advantage kind of way but there are a few times I realize how hard I made my life by pretending I could Do It All. I’m zero percent afraid to ask for help these days when I REALLY need it.

 

These next 3 kind of go hand in hand…

 

 

I’ve learned how to “roll with it” better

I’ve always prided myself on being a pretty flexible and adaptable person but OH MY GOD having a baby made me realize how inflexible I can be. Having a baby really makes you learn how to just roll with it because babies throw curveballs left and right and it can be EXHAUSTING when you keep trying to hold on to your ideal picture of something. In the beginning when she would do something that was not expected I’d freak out like OMG WHY WON’T SHE SLEEP THIS RUINS OUR PLANNED OUTING AND BLAH BLAH BLAH…I’d get so hung up on stuff. But I’ve slowly learned that rolling with it is a whole hell of a lot easier. Sometimes Will and I just look at each other like “welp we will see how THIS goes!” and sometimes, whatever it is, works out and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s definitely made me think quicker on my feet!

How I applying it outside of Mom Life: I have talked before how I struggle with change and I’m going to try to be better at “rolling with it” when it comes to change or the unexpected and try to make the best of something as much as I can. Also, flexibility and adaptability are super value in so many aspects in life.

I’ve learned how to deal with the fact that I can’t control everything

The first few months I tried to control EVERYTHINGGGGG. When something didn’t go “right”, like let’s say when Riley was taking these terrible short naps, I’d freak out like I DID EVERYTHING THE BOOK SAID TO DO WHY ISN’T SHE SLEEPING BETTER WHAT CAN I DOOOO WHY WON’T SHE JUST DO WHAT I WANT OR WHAT I THINK SHE SHOULD BE DOING. Oh wait…because she’s her own little person and not a puppet I’m controlling with a string. Also, she’s a baby. I try to control the things I can but I’ve dialed it back a bit because I literally cannot control every aspect of life. I cannot force something. Not everything is going to bend to my will and desire and be how I want it to be…certainly not my kid and I need to get over it.

How I’m applying it outside of Mom Life: I think I’ve realized just how much I’ve focused on things I CAN’T control my whole life. I can’t control the job market, I can’t control if people like me or don’t, I can’t control other people’s actions….etc. But within all those examples there are things that I CAN control that I should be focusing on more. I spent so much time when I got laid off focusing on how crappy the job market was instead of worrying about what I could control — I could focus on making my resume better or focus on learning new skills in the meantime. Instead of worrying about if people like me, I can control how I am as a person and be the kind of person I’d want to be around. I would feel so frustrated by certain people in my life but instead of worrying about what they were doing I could control how I responded. SO MUCH OF A BETTER USE OF MY TIME AND ENERGY to devote time to the things I do have control over.

 

I’ve learned that not everything is a problem to be fixed

Similar to above…I tried to fix EVERYTHING. She wasn’t sleeping? She wasn’t eating as much as she usual did? She was having a weird day? I would google the crap out of it and try to find ways to fix whatever IT was. Riley’s sleep was a big thing. I kept feeling like I needed to troubleshoot and problem solve myself into exhaustion but ya know what I realized? This wasn’t actually a problem that needed to be “fixed”…she’s a baby, sleep is developmental and she really wasn’t a BAD sleeper and I realized she’d do things when she was ready. And ya know what? I used my newfound skills of ROLLING WITH IT and just let it be what it was, rather than trying to fix it, and she naturally started sleeping better on her own without any intervention needed from me. I gave her all the tools that I could to sleep but ultimately I couldn’t fix it or control it. (Now I’m not saying some babies might actually have sleep problems but in my case I was creating problems to fix where there definitely wasn’t a real problem — not just in the sleep department but in so many other ways).

How I’m applying it outside of Mom Life: I’m going to stop creating problems that aren’t really problems!! I have this habit of trying to fix things that don’t ACTUALLY need to be fixed instead of things that probably should be fixed.

 

And maybe most importantly….

 

I’ve learned that everything is a season

I had always heard this phrase before but I didn’t really get it until now. In the beginning it was really hard for me to deal with how many naps per day Riley had to take…it seemed like my whole life was going to be putting Riley down for naps and we’d never be able to go anywhere and blah blah blah. But you know what? It’s only for a certain amount of time…or for a ~season~. She’s not always going to need to sleep so much and I won’t always feel like I’m chained to naps. Even right now at 6 months I feel like it’s infinitely better. In the grand scheme of things, they are only itty bitty for a short time so lately I’ve been telling myself, what whatever challenge she throws at us, that it’s just a season right now. It’s temporary. I think it has helped me to enjoy certain aspects of more. Sometimes it’s suffocating how dependent on me she is…but one day I will look back and wish she needed/wanted me that much.

How I’m Applying It Outside of Mom Life: I feel like it’s easy to look at everything like it’s going to last forever and it really does change your perspective when you think of the fact that most things won’t….being the new person at a job, working a not-so-great job to gain experience, being in college, etc. I feel like I’m going to try to put everything into this perspective. It doesn’t have to be forever most of the time.

 

 

[Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you click on a link and purchase something I’ve talked about or recommended, I’ll receive a very small percentage of the sale. Please see my disclosure policy for more info.

 

P.S. 6 Simple Ways To Practice Self Care As A New Mom // My Newborn Survival Guide: Tips, The Essentials You NEED & More

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.

Comments

  1. I recognize so much of your frustrations. I was just like that with Merijn the first 5 months or so. I’ve been kind of struggling this month with letting go and the sort like back then so this came at the right time. <3

  2. She’s so beautiful! Chubby cheeks and all. Happy that you’re realising that you can’t do it all. Always tell my new mom friends to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak at all.

  3. This is all so true. I still hate asking anyone for help and my kids are teenagers. I’m finally getting better at it, but I cringe the entire time I’m asking. If we aren’t constantly learning through life and learning how better ourselves, we aren’t doing something right!

  4. Good advice and post! πŸ™‚

  5. I have to say, I would never have thought that a person could learn so much about life/their goals/etc. from a baby’s sleep schedule! But it makes so much sense haha. These are all great lessons <3

    • lol you and me both!! I mean half the time I feel like I don’t even enough energy to string sentences together but somehow I have learned some profound lessons in the the depths of zombie mode lol. I think I realized how much I thrived on predictability and things that I could control pre-Riley and lol having a baby is the exact opposite — she is unpredictable and I can’t control everything.

  6. So much self-actualization from having a baby…it’s really profound! I have loved hearing all about your trials and tribulations….she is just beautiful!!!

  7. Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads says:

    The best mom lesson I learned was to stop googling. Marko woke up with a limp one morning, so I googled β€œwhy is my toddler limping” and the first result was childhood leukaemia. NEVER AGAIN. Especially when a few hours later, his nanny mentioned that he might have overdone it on the trampoline the day before. Ohhhhhhhhh, yeah that would explain a limp.

  8. Like they say Child is the Father of Man! You relearn all that you have learned in a rescheduled manner.

  9. Elizabeth O says:

    It sounds to me like you have parenting down to a T! Keep up the good work raising babies is the hardest job of all and you are doing wonderful πŸ™‚

  10. Everything is a season – what a great lesson! I’m currently stressed out with wedding planning, and reading your thoughts and experience with your little girl made me think of that quote “This too shall pass.” Even in the middle of the craziness it’s good to remind ourselves what a special time the “right now” is. πŸ™‚

  11. These are the most important lessons anyone should learn. And, the sooner one embraces them, the easier life becomes πŸ™‚

    http://www.allshethings.com

  12. That’s a lot of realizations. Your lovely daughter is so blessed to have you as her mom. I can’t wait to read more about your experiences as a mom

  13. thank you so much for sharing your lessons πŸ˜€ good luck for being a mom πŸ˜€

  14. I was in a restaurant and I saw one couple with a toddler being helped by their friend couple and i think it is really good to have support and help when you have a kid. It is okay. It is great how you learn new things each day after becoming a mom.

  15. I have definitely learned a few of these same things since going to college and then transitioning into my career. Most especially for me is learning to ask for help. I NEVER would ask for help before I was 18. I still struggle with asking for help now because it is uncomfortable and scary. I was raised in that I should be independent – and I had to care for three younger siblings. There was a time I felt like it was a blow and made me a weak person to ask for help. Sometimes I still feel that way, but I also feel better getting help for whatever it is I need.

  16. Great information! From a mom who’s kids are now grown and off in their own lives, time goes so fast. Did you know there are only 940 Saturdays from the moment they are born until they go off to college? LOL

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