They say hindsight is 20/20, and parenting is no exception. Being a brand new mom is amazing, challenging, and absolutely terrifying. After all, when your baby is learning and growing in their first year of life, so are you. Sure, sometimes you wonder how you'll get through it, but you do and suddenly you notice you have a wild toddler running around. When that first year is over and your kid is in the thick of toddlerhood, you realize the first year of motherhood is actually the easiest and, well, that 20/20 vision starts coming into play in a real, an often unapologetic, way.
I know, I know. Some of y’all think the first year of parenting is the hardest thing ever, right? I feel you, I really do. Hell, it can be. Babies can’t communicate with actual words, so as a caregiver you’re constantly having to guess what they need or why they're upset or what their next "move" will be. Sometimes you wish they could just hand you the remote, walk themselves up the damn stairs, or wipe their own butts. After all, not only are you doing everything for them, but you're doing everything while completely sleep deprived and somewhat clueless.
However, if you stop to really think about it, babies aren’t usually that difficult to take care of. They’re needy, yes, but they’re also so sweet and cuddly and adorable. More often than not, you'll miss that first year of motherhood when your kid becomes a toddler and the "real fun" begins. So sure, new mom life is difficult, but that first year is actually the easiest you'll ever experience, and here's why:
I mean, how much trouble can a baby get into if they can’t move around? You don’t really have to chase after babies. Yes, they can crawl in the bed, and maybe they could even fall off, but they don’t really move all that fast. You can set them down and, for the most part, that's where they'll remain. When you have a toddler, you'll realize that your child staying in one place is what damn dreams are made of.
Lately I’m playing a game with my son called, “How high do I need to put dangerous things this time so my kid can’t reach them?” The kitchen table and bathroom counters used to be totally safe. Not anymore. We still have some kitchen cabinets he can’t reach, and a shelf in the closet, but everything else is fair game, and no ma’am, I don’t like it.
Using the bathroom when you’re a parent is a luxury regardless, but when you have an infant, they can’t really follow you in there yet. Ah, bliss.
People love babies. Rather, people love babies more than they love tantrum-throwing toddlers, and they definitely love them more than a 5 year old who has learned how to talk back. So it's pretty normal for people to ask to hold your baby, or even babysit. Whether you're comfortable with it or not is a different story, but at least you have options.
When my son was in the NICU just after birth, he didn’t really know who was who. For all he knew every nurse that came by to carry and feed him was his mama. He was never fearful of strangers when he was little, and he didn’t start becoming more suspicious of folks until he turned 2 years old. Now leaving the house and having someone else watch him is, well, difficult.
Unlike toddlers, babies don’t generally get annoyed if you cut up their bananas or if you need to give them a quick hair cut. Really, unless a baby is feeling particularly unwell, they’re pretty easy going.
Babies sometimes have to deal with unpleasant experiences at doctor’s offices, like vaccinations. Fortunately, young babies are great at becoming fascinated with random things. Honestly, it doesn't take much to distract a baby so the nurse or doctor can do their thing. Older kids, on the other hand, are wise to the game and end up screaming or crying before much of anything has actually happened. Yeah, that's not fun.
Yes, I know babies don't sleep through the night. Like, at all. However, they do tend to sleep more during the day than, say, a 3 year old. So sure, you haven't had a decent night's sleep in forever, but you do have more opportunities during the day to take a nap, use the restroom, take a shower, get some work done, or just relax.
For about the first six months of your baby's life, you don’t really have to worry about feeding them much more than breast milk or formula. It's not to say that feeding a baby is always easy, but meal planning for a toddler is the damn worst. At least, in my opinion.
I saw a meme once about just how painful it can be to try and put an unwilling toddler into their car seat. They either become totally limp, scream bloody murder, or become stiff as a board. Babies, on the other hand, are totally cool with simply being placed in their appropriate chair.
Speaking of falling asleep in cars, ever notice just how easily a 3 month old falls asleep in any random location, as opposed to a 3 year old? I’ve been to parties where babies are perfectly passed out in the middle of an otherwise rather loud room. I’ve seen babies at the mall, at noisy restaurants, even in movie theaters, just snoozing away. I really, really miss that.