I’m excited to be over at Red Tricycle today sharing about the things I won’t do in the new year (or at least, the things I’m going to try really hard to fight). Here’s a sneak peek of my post:
The first year of parenting is a doozy—a whirlwind of responding to shrill cries, changing dirty diapers, researching baby sleep, swaddling and unswaddling and reswaddling. At times, I swear I could feel myself unraveling, my nerves fraying and snagging with each passing day. I remember so many sweet moments too—the snuggles, the endless kisses, the joy at each new milestone, the first time I felt like I could breathe and knew that I would survive this motherhood thing.
The trial by fire in the first year of parenting is a rite of passage in many ways. There’s no number of parenting books we could read, blogs we could follow, or advice we could hoard that would replace the learning that happens on the job. It’s unavoidable.
I did the best I could in that tender time, and even so, much of the first year of my daughter’s life was marked by conflicting feelings: fear and freedom. As I enter into the second year of her life, my second year of motherhood, I want to lean in to this tension and do what I can to recognize and release the fear, while dialing up the freedom.
To this end, these are six things I’m resolving to toss out with last year’s junk and six things I’ll be doing instead as I seek freedom, joy, and a little more sanity.
1. I won’t second-guess every decision.
I spent so much of last year doing frantic, panicky research about sleeping, eating, playing, reaching milestones. There is no shortage of voices on the Internet, and I found myself overwhelmed and paralyzed when it came time to actually weigh the options and make a decision. It seemed like every decision was permanent, a matter of life and death, directly impacting my baby’s well-being for the rest of her life. Naturally, I second-guessed everything—mostly out of love for her, but also out of fear that I would make the “wrong” choice and mess her up forever.
What I’ll do instead: Pick a strategy/option/method/sippy-cup that seems like it could work, give it a try for a few days, see how it goes, and then move on to #2.
2. I won’t feel guilty for changing my mind.
I got this idea stuck in my head that once I decided what kind of mother I’d be—breastfeeding or formula feeding, baby-lead weaning or puree-making or pouch-purchasing, cosleeping or sleep training, working or staying at home—I had to stick to it for the rest of time. But as it turns out, these choices don’t define who I am as a mother, and changing my mind doesn’t mean I’ve failed. It means I tried something that didn’t feel right to me or didn’t work for my child.
What I’ll do instead: Exercise the freedom to reassess what’s working and what’s not, and then try something else to see if it works better for us—free of self-shame.
If you’d like to read 4 more things I won’t be doing in the new year (and what I’ll do instead), head on over to Red Tricycle to see the rest!