Courtesy of Liza Wyles

10 Things You Can Let Go Of Trying To Accomplish Before Your Baby Turns 1

By
Share
Ad failed to load

I had big plans for the first year of my first baby’s life. In her imagined future, she’d be dressed daily in adorable, spotless outfits; I’d organize my closet in my “free time” while she napped; I’d get plenty of rest by sitting and breastfeeding while catching up on TV. Needless to say, none of this happened. My new mom dreams were dashed, sure, but it was actually freeing when I embraced the fact that there are things I can let go of trying to accomplish in that first year. I was setting the bar too high, and for what?

As an employee, I have always been of the mindset that I need to work harder to get further. I need to set reach goals and challenge myself so that I’d be rewarded financially. However, it took having a kid to make me realize that this strategy never allowed me to enjoy the moment. I was never going to take pleasure in my work, on that day, if I was always looking to a point in the future when I’d have a bigger title and paycheck.

Letting go of new mom goals in the first year of my daughter’s life enabled me to see the present more clearly, and get more out of it. If I was working, constantly, to check accomplishments off a list, while simultaneously acclimating to motherhood, what kind of memories would I be making in those fleeting first months of her life?

Ad failed to load

Keeping Up With The Baby Book

GIPHY

I wanted to update my kids’ baby books as they hit milestones, and we collected adorable pictures of them. But that task quickly fell to the bottom of my new mom “to do” list since adjusting to motherhood can be overwhelming when, like me, you’re nursing around the clock and value daily (sort of) showers.

Getting Professional Baby Pictures Done

I have no regrets about not having my newborns sit for professional photos. The shots we used for their baby announcements we took ourselves. They were candid, and real, and I love catching the glimpses of our messy life in the corners of those un-retouched frames, because they trigger memories of what it was like in the early days home with a newborn.

Also, I think it’s weird to put sleeping babies in pots.

Staging Those Month-By-Month Photos

GIPHY

This is a cute concept, but not one I ever executed. It looks like a lot of work, with the staging and the sign and the baby needing to be propped up somehow. Also, from the looks of my friend’s feeds, it appears that after the first seven or so months, the thrill of these monthly photo shoots is gone, or life with baby has made it impossible to continue this practice.

Ad failed to load

Sending Out All The Baby Gift Thank You Notes

I didn’t want to be rude, so I would multi-task while breastfeeding my newborn; writing individual thank you notes to everyone who sent us a something for the baby. I wanted to be finished by the time my maternity leave ended.

So great, I spent my maternity leave writing thank you notes when I could have been, oh, I don’t know, adjusting to my drastically different life now that there was a child in it. With my second kid, I totally lengthened the time frame in which I felt compelled to send notes of gratitude for new baby gifts.

(And if you are reading this and don’t recall receiving a thank you card, let me take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks for thinking of us, six or nine years ago.)

Losing The Baby Weight

GIPHY

I was so excited when the first 20 pounds flew off me in the month after giving birth. But those last 10 pounds? They were like the guests at the party who wouldn’t leave. I tried repeating the mantra that it took me nine months to gain 30 pounds, and I should expect it would take no less than that to lose them. It could take longer, and I had to be OK with that.

Fitting Into Pre-Pregnancy Clothes

I so easily fooled into thinking I would win at motherhood if I could get into my pre-pregnancy jeans before my kid was a year old. Thanks society.

The truth is that even when I lost my pregnancy weight, my body had changed, and clothes just fit differently, more so after I had my second kid. I had to shift the focus from getting back into my old clothes as soon as possible, to being excited about the prospect of buying new clothes to fit my new shape.

Ad failed to load

Re-establishing A Fitness Routine

GIPHY

I took my last spin class on my due date of my first kid. I was a total gym rat. I thought I’d be back to working out regularly within a year of giving birth. Best. Joke. Ever. Seven years postpartum I renewed my gym membership. And now, I never ever beat myself up if I go a few days without exercising. These days, with two school-aged children, instead of two hours of working out, I take the “anything is better than nothing” approach.

Finish Decorating The Baby’s Room

You’re never really finished preparing the baby’s room. With my kids, it kept evolving as they grew and accumulated different toys and books along the way. Plus, my kids slept in our bedroom for the first few months of their lives, so there was no point in getting their room all done in time for their arrival anyway.

Exclusively Breastfeeding

GIPHY

As someone with a Type A personality, I hate feeling like I’m giving up. Giving my baby only breast milk for the first year of her life was a self-imposed goal of mine. Ignorantly, I felt formula feeding was failing my daughter and painting me a failure as her mother.

While I had no problems nursing her, my baby’s demand started to outpace my supply by the time she was 11 months old. I had to supplement her feedings with eight ounces of formula a day for about a month until we started transitioning her to cow’s milk. It didn’t phase her at all. I was the one who had to get over the fact that she was getting something other than breast milk. This was a perfect lesson in letting go. I can’t control everything.

Ad failed to load

Establishing Your Identity As A Mother

GIPHY

No experience has taught me more about myself than motherhood. Having kids is like holding a mirror up to the worst, and best, parts of me. It’s also about recognizing what parts of myself actually need fixing. Before kids, I was obsessed with my weight and the size of my clothes; I was never thin enough. After kids, my body image issues lessened, and what came into focus was my tendency to want to control so much of my surroundings.

As I learned more about myself, through being a parent, I realized I was not totally done growing. I knew what kind of mother I wanted to be — patient, compassionate, supportive — but I cycled through phases where one trait dominated over the rest. I could be compassionate, loving my baby through her colicky spells, but I would run out of patience. I learned that motherhood isn’t an identity I would easily slip into immediately after giving birth. It is taking years (nine and counting) to understand who I am as a mother.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}