I’ve wanted to write a post about my personal experiences of raising a baby, but I was afraid.
Afraid that someone would tell me how great I have it that my baby sleeps through the night…most nights.
Afraid that I’d get a comment about how grateful I should be that my son naps and that I should quit complaining that I feel trapped in my home because he only naps in his crib.
Afraid that someone will tell me that I’m damaging my child because we have a schedule.
Afraid that others will tell me that I shouldn’t complain that I can’t go to a friend’s adult-only birthday party, or have a date night with my husband because my baby won’t take a bottle. At least I can breastfeed!
Afraid that the Mommy Wars would take over my peaceful blog, my place of solace, my place of fun, my place that I write the words that are on my mind. The fear of being told I was a bad mom and getting dragged into the War stopped me.
Then I realized…
The baby stage is hard….Really hard. Us moms of babies are always wishing that something were better. Wishing we could breastfeed, wishing our baby slept better, wishing they ate better, wishing they cried less. We wish that we had more freedom, more personal space, more time to take a shower.
We are looking to vent, looking for comfort, looking for someone, anyone to tell us that the baby stage just sucks sometimes. Instead of providing comfort, we put down those who do get those things that we wish for.
Everyone tells us to enjoy these days. Enjoy their babyhood, it goes by so fast.
Truthfully, it is full of wonderfulness. Babies are so soft, sweet, and cute. They are always learning and discovering. Nothing is better than the first time your baby sits, crawls, walks, babble and then talks. It’s beautiful.
But, I’m here to tell you that the first year kinda sucks too.
We are all trying to figure out these little beings who can’t talk and are not great at communicating their needs all the time.
Who knows why a baby wakes up in the night screaming or is fussy all afternoon? Maybe their hungry, maybe it’s teething pain, maybe they are sick, maybe they’re too cold, too hot. The list goes on and on.
Once you think you get it and things are going great, they change all over again. These little humans keep us on our toes. We’re tired, weary, and covered in spit up. It’s brutal.
I don’t know if you read Glennon Melton’s blog, Momastery, but she writes about how being a mom is brutiful. It’s beautiful and brutal all at the same time. That is exactly how the baby stage is.
I get frustrated sometimes. Then I turn around and see his big gummy grin and I am so happy that I get to be his Mama. I get to see this little child grow, learn, and find his way. It’s amazing, and such a privilege.
But, I’m tired.
I can’t change my baby or this stage that I’m in, but I can change the way I treat other Moms of babies. I don’t participate in the Mommy Wars, I stay silent. I’m tired of being silent. What we all need during this brutiful time is support. We need love, comfort, and more than anything, we need to know that we’re not alone.
I feel the same way. I love the snuggling, his sloppy kisses and the gummy smiles. But the first year is HARD. Breastfeeding can be so difficult, I have a certain chair and pillow I use even in my own home. I have to leave my toddler with the tv while I go into my 6 month old’s room to nurse him because it’s the only place I am comfortable. I know other moms who breastfeed whenever and wherever. Their babies have perfect schedules and they think I’m nuts because I let my babies set their own schedule. We all do things our own way and all of our kids are different. We handle things differently too and I often feel guilty thinking about how much easier things will get. I treasure the time with my baby but I look forward to getting through the baby stage too.
Right there with you Michelle! I feel horrible wishing that he’d grow up and get out of this stage. I feel like I should be treasuring it and that I should love it. But most of the time, I’m looking forward to the future!
Dawn @ PricklyMom
Thank you for getting the word out, Amanda! I remember struggling with the toddler stage with my older son, and a friend telling me, “oh, I love the toddler stage! I hated the baby stage.” Until then, I had no idea moms were “allowed” to like/dislike different stages. It was so empowering to find out.
That’s why I love reading mom blogs…no matter what you’re going through, you can find someone else going through the same thing so you don’t feel so “wrong” and alone.
(BTW–I liked the baby stage. And it’s totally okay if YOU don’t!)
I think you nailed it Dawn. I love the toddler and preschool ages, and always have. When I was writing this, I kept thinking that some people love the baby stage and maybe I’m being to negative. But then I remembered that there has to be other Mom’s out there like me who don’t like it and it’s important that I write about it.
Heather G. @ Golden Reflections Blog
Totally agree with you 100%!!! Sometimes I wonder WHY in the world I wanted to do this… then she comes over to me and gives me a kiss, or wants to snuggle, or we just sit and play on the floor and laugh and laugh. And then I remember why…
The only word for it is brutiful! So demanding, yet so wonderful at the same time!
So true,Amanda! It is very hard, and someone said the second one is easier, but for me its harder:always have to divide attention etc. And both our kids dont sleep well,Im a zombie most of the time,and then everyone expects of you to be your normal self! But,yes,when you get a smile or a kiss,it makes it worthwhile,hey!
My second is a much easier baby than my first, but I’m struggling more with the baby stage this time around. I got used to being out with my older one most of the day, now I feel very confined to the house…with a 3 year old. Its totally worth it though!
Thanks for sharing, I too struggled with the baby stage but kept it to myself for the most part because the looks or comments I got from other moms when I admitted it made me feel like I had three heads or they acted as if I had just said I didn’t like my baby (which wasn’t at all what I was saying!). I love the toddler/preschool stages, but the baby stage put me through the ringer for sure!
Oh yes, the three headed look. I get that a lot too!
Yesterday I babysat my 10 month old nephew. My own child just turned 4. Let me tell you, while my nephew is sweet, cute, and well behaved, it was a lot of work! One child is just perfect for me. I give props to all you mama’s with multiple children and going through the baby phase.
Bravo to you! I agree with your post and although I usually am not one for writing comments on blogs I follow, you really spoke something profound here. I am actually slowly unsubscribing to blogs by moms who project this perfect image because, quite frankly, it is EXHAUSTING and DEMORALIZING, and a bunch of other words my brain is too fried to find. I have six children and after the third, I gave up on the moms groups, and play dates, etc. because it just seemed like so much work to be superficial to try to be positive, and do my hair, and try to match my clothes (let alone put on a bra) to try to keep up with some false image.
Do I love my wonderful (and very human!) kids? Absolutely! Are they also high maintenance, difficult, brilliant and delicious all at the same time? Totally. But we women have got to start letting go of all that competition with each other. Let’s put down the masks and keep it real sometimes. Life in this country is getting more challenging, raising kids is terrifying and rewarding (most of the time) and we should be building communities, not putting up gates. Thanks for telling the truth about the hard times, and the priceless beauty of what makes us all do what we do as mothers each day…and that’s our babies. Good luck!
Bless you Mama for your wonderful thoughts.
The first year goes by in such a blur that you really can’t make sense of anything! Babies are beautiful, but yes, so demanding at times that you have no choice as a parent except to forget that you have any needs yourself! #SPP
Well said. I was one who adored and miss the baby stage, especially with baby number 2 who was angelic and pretty much perfect. But before u hate me, the toddler years darn near did me in. Age 2 to 3.5 was TOUGH and extremely brutiful!! 🙂 Age 4 was my favorite with both my boys!! Appreciate the honesty of ur post!!
I think you make a good point. From what I can tell, people have a favorite age, and other ages that the don’t like so much. I love the toddler and preschool ages…my favorite!
I honestly love the baby stage. Absolutely love it. My son just turned 1 and the last year was the most rewarding and challenging year of my life and I loved every second of it and I am still loving it!
That’s awesome! I’m so glad that you’re enjoying motherhood. I love it too, and I liked the baby stage more with my first son than with my second, even though my second is an easier baby. I guess I got used to the freedom of having an older child and now I feel a bit isolated.
me too Amanda… I couldn’t have said it better. I miss that freedom. We were always on the go. Sigh… looking forward to the future. I love my baby #2…. have no doubt about that. But if I could blink and have her be 2, I might just do it.
Deb @ Urban Moo Cow
Truth. I loved the baby stage because I had a good baby. Now I have a very, very busy toddler. Everyone is different. It would be so amazing if we could just stop judging.
I think that for the most part we spend our lives looking forward or backward. Where we are is difficult and tedious. I was never in love with babies until my little girl stopped being a baby. Now it’s easy to be nostalgic! I don’t think it works to try and “savor the moment” when the moment is frustrating, it just makes me bitter personally… I just try to focus on the good and how to have and remember more of it. It’s ok to not be in love with every moment.
I soooooo agree with you. My kids are 3y (girl) and 21m (boy) now…I am enjoying them so much more now! Not that there weren’t great parts to when they were infants. I remember complaining to my Mother-n-law about the monotony when my daughter was first born. She looked at me like I had just told her I worshiped the devil. I was like”what?” Ha! Those people that tell you to enjoy every minute if it haven’t had babies in so long that they’ve forgotten what its like 24/7. When your in it its tough! Thanks for the honesty!
Sometimes I think people hear “I don’t like my baby” when we complain at all about this stage, so they give us these really weird looks. It’s totally possible to adore and love your baby, but not really like the current stage they are in.
I think we all struggle at some point in each stage, but I agree I do not like the baby stage. My second baby is already easier than his sister was but I’m struggling much more this time trying to get my preschooler everywhere she needs to be and deal with this no sleep newborn stage. I do find myself repeating in my head it will get better just make it to 3 mons, or 6 mons. Thanks for being brave enough to speak out. 🙂
Thank you so much for your thoughts. I was just thinking today about how much easier my second is than my first, and how laid back I am this time. But, the baby stage seems harder to me this time because of the lack of freedom and having to take care of two kids. They grow fast, Mama, and it’s just a stage. Things will change…you will make it to 6 months!
“Brutiful”…I love it! I think this is a good description of the first year. Really, I think it sums up being a parent all the time. My son just turned two, but when he turned one, I thought, “Wow, that first year went by fast.” But then I thought about it, and it didn’t seem to go by fast when it was happening. The days were long and often very hard. Breastfeeding was hard, and my son took forever to nurse, so we only made it to 5 months with that. My son was sleeping 5 hours at a time as soon as we brought him home (I wasn’t, though…I was hovered over him worried about him being hungry but not waking up to eat, being too hot, being too cold, etc…). He was sleeping through the night before 3 months of age, and he was a very happy baby. But, it was still hard. I can’t imagine the first year with a fussy baby that doesn’t sleep.
Now that he is a toddler, I miss the baby stage sometimes. He is still a very good kid, but toddlers are toddlers, and it is very frustrating sometimes. I wanted more than anything to have a child, and I wanted to stay with that child. I got what I wanted, but sometimes I am miserable. Being a stay-at-home-mom is hard, and now I’m wanting to go back to work. I guess I just can’t be pleased. I’ve realized that no one can know what it is like to be a parent until they are a parent. And you don’t really know what kind of parent you will be until you are one. I was a nanny before having my own child, but it is a whole different ballgame.
Glad I found your blog (via Pinterest…I’m addicted).
YES! The first year does kinda suck. And its so hard for so many different reasons. All 3 of mine were so different as babies and difficult in their own unique way. Thanks for this post.
We’re of the opinion that the first 2 years suck. Seriously. I don’t care much for the baby stage, either. My sister-in-law loves it. Her babies were sweet, easy going, slept well, ate well – you know. Mine cried all the time, had reflux, didn’t sleep, had to be in their own routine or the rest of us paid for it…we say they were born ornery 🙂 It is hard! But my thought is that you make it through, best you can, the hard days. Coffee is always hot in the morning. Enjoy those good nights, if and when they happen. Remember is does pass, it won’t last forever – to which I say both awwww! and thank goodness! in the same breath. And yes! All mommies need love. Brutiful is a great word
It sure is brutiful. I remember back aches because my baby had been crying so much that day.. she was a lovely baby but somehow it was also really hard. She is three yeats old now and i love this stage. She is so independent, funny and sweet! Now I’m 8,5 months pregnant, I’m already looking forward to the future..
My son is7 months old and he’s a great baby (contrast to first baby!) but it was still hard going back to getting up repeatedly at night, going back to day time naps and then dealing with two. I was told to always remember the phrase ‘this too shall pass’. I looked forward to him sitting, crawling, etc but that also means he will be out of being snuggled up in my arms where I can kiss him as much as I want. So I enjoy the good and ride the rough. I think the reason, for me at least, why I look forward to him getting to about 18 months is because that’s where I really saw my first child’s personality take off and when her facial features became set. She became her. So I guess I look forward to my son becoming him. Could I have a third after being reminded how hard a new baby can be? Funny how time can replace the hard parts with the sweet memories and make us all broody again. xx
I have had two kids that slept quite well but struggled with their neediness and they’re always getting up to stuff running off my daughter is 10 now and my son is 8 and my new partner of 7 yrs has no kids I do want a child but the baby stage and toddler stage worries me I don’t want to fall in love with the idea and not be able to cope I am 29yrs old and getting married in 4 weeks I want to make a dissection before 34 this is one thing that we haven’t quite cleared up.
Oh don’t get me wrong I love my kids I have schedules from morning cleaning then I study and kids homework and their sports numerous animals I care for and trained like birds dogs and cats I have a very caring nature and don’t understand why I’m questioning having another child maybe I am over thinking do I don’t I.
I love the honesty of this article. I think the part that hits home most for me it the trying to communicate with the little being that can’t tell you their needs. I recently found your page when researching successful blogs to learn from when working with my own blog, and I am so glad I did. I have liked your page on facebook and have really enjoyed the articles I have read so far. thanks for your honesty.
I’ve got three and find that they get easier and life gets much easier as they get older. I loved the newborn stage but the lack of sleep and intensity of the baby and toddler years is a challenge.
I’m so over babies. I have a nearly 3 year old and a 14 month old and I’m ready to ship them off somewhere. It never ends. I derive very little enjoyment from “motherhood” thus far. There is no “heart melting grin” at the end. Just more screaming, crying and tantrums and loss of self.
Most days I don’t shower, cook for myself, or eat food that hasn’t at some point been on the floor. I’m ready to go into debt or sell our house just so someone else can watch them. Do I love them? Why do women always feel the need to assure everyone they’re happy overall or are able to focus on that loving feeling. Days are long my friends. After nearly three years of screaming and tantrums, I’m most assuredly not feeling the overall love.
Why don’t more women say how they feel? The truth. I have never liked babies. Not my own. Not kittens or puppies. It’s just not my bag. I’m really hoping my character points are stacked up in other areas and I kill it in adolescence. Fingers crossed!
I’m actually a sweet and gentle person dear inter webs. Can’t wait until I can be myself instead of a war general.
AMEN. I do love my year old girl very much, yes. But so far the crap I’ve dealt with hasn’t really been worth it for a smile or cuddle here and there. I’ve realized that the expectation that there are moments that will make everything “worth it” is not realistic. Parenting is a job full of ups and downs and there’s no cosmic force that’s going to ensure the ups outweigh the downs, unfortunately. But that’s a general theme in life I suppose!