One of the many exciting things about having a new baby is all the plans you make for that first year together. It's not uncommon for a new mother to fantasize about the adorable outfits she's going to dress her baby in, the sweet keepsakes she is going to make to preserve every milestone, and how great it'll be when her baby sleeps through the night. The sad truth, however? There are a lot of things you can forget about doing before that first birthday.
One of the things people told me to do within the first year of my baby's life was to travel to Europe. "This is the best time to do it!" they urged. "It's the easiest before they can walk!" Ah yes, international flights with a small person who needs a diaper change every twenty minutes and goes through four different outfits within an hour and never stops crying. Sounds heavenly. Also, time differences must be super fun to experience when coupled with the no sleep we were already getting, as brand new parents. Get me my passport! (Definitely do not get me my passport, you've all lost your collective minds.)
Needless to say, traveling overseas was one of those things we absolutely did not do before our baby turned a year old. We were lucky if we made it as far as Grandma's house before abandoning ship and returning to the safety of our home. We also said, "Thanks but no thanks," to the following suggestions, too, because newborns, amiright?!
Making A First Year Baby Book
I had envisioned making a wonderful book of keepsakes for my first baby, full of precious memories including his birth announcement (hastily made on a website), his ankle ID from the hospital (currently collecting dust among my bracelets on my dresser) and other scrap book worthy items from the first year. But honestly, who has the freaking time for that kind of thing? I was too busy figuring out which brand of diapers wouldn't give him a rash, which noise machine would help him sleep (not a single one) and how to keep myself from going insane. Trust me, there were no spare minutes.
Joining A Postpartum Exercise Group
One of the first things a new mom is expected to do once she has gotten clearance from her doctor — despite the fact that she is getting at most, a four hour stretch of sleep at the freakin' most — is join a postpartum exercise group. In its ideal form, the postpartum exercise group is for women with babies who sleep six hours (or more) and who require absolutely no effort at all to already look amazing in their postpartum yoga pants. These women meet, lattes magically in hand, early in the morning and accompany each other on stroller jogs or boot camp style workouts in which no one sweats and no one's boobs leak and all the babies sleep peacefully.
I was still patting myself on the back for the prenatal yoga group I'd joined during my pregnancy, and now I was supposed to muster up the energy to join some kind of stroller bootcamp? No thanks.
Remembering To Take A Weekly Photo
The first few days of a baby's life are really amazing. You have this incredible opportunity to witness all the changes that happen to their face and bodies, usually because you're staring at them every hour of every day. They almost seem to morph into a new, tiny human being every couple of hours, so it's pretty normal to want to capture it all with photos and video. However, after a few weeks, stuff starts to get real, real fast, and there just isn't time to remember to take pictures every week on the same chair next to the same bear with the cute blocks that tell people how many weeks your baby has been alive.
I took a photo every day for about two weeks of my newborn's life, and posted it to Facebook for family and friends to marvel at. Then, well, it kind of just fell off from there. Sorry, guys.
Collecting All Your Baby's Onesies Into A Keepsake Quilt
Some mothers have a crafty flair that lets them take ordinary moments and objects and turn them into something beautiful. I've eyed (with jealousy and in absolute awe) a few of my friends' nurseries, beautifully decorated with adorable wall murals made from a newborn baby's footprints, or something. Others have lovingly collected all of their baby's newborn onesies and sent them off to be made into a keepsake quilt.
While that really only requires diligence and little by way of one's own creativity, this isn't for me. But by all means, if you want a poop and vomit-stained quilt, go for it!
Dressing Your Baby Up For Halloween
I optimistically bought my son a pumpkin costume for his first Halloween and kept it on his rocking chair for a full week. My partner and I had this idea that we would put him in it just once for a picture, and then call it good. But every single time I attempted to bring it near his person, our son screamed bloody murder. Maybe he didn't like my costume choice.
To this day, it has remained untouched.
Having A Full Night's Sleep
According to everything I'd read online, I anticipated a pretty rocky couple of first weeks in terms of my newborn's sleep, followed by some uncomfortable months, and then, eventually I would have a kid who slept through the night. I must have glossed over the sleep regressions, the constant waking up to fetch a fallen pacifier, the multiple middle of the night nursing sessions, and the early morning invasions of mom and dad's bed. Oh, and also the fact that "morning" to a 1-year-old kid is always some ungodly hour in which no human being should ever be awake.
So yeah, I didn't get a full night's sleep that first year. Come to think of it, five years later, I still haven't had one.
Getting Your Body "Back"
When I say I thought I would have my "body back," I don't mean it in the weight loss and fitness sense. I meant, I thought it actually would belong to me, and it would no longer be a chew toy, food source, scratch mat, and pacifier all wrapped into one.
I didn't actively wean my son from breastfeeding, but I thought it would happen naturally and that it would happen some time around the eight month mark, because that's when it was happening for a lot of my friends and their babies. Nope. Turns out, every baby and every breastfeeding experience, is different. Who would of thought, right?
Enjoying A Baby Yoga Class
I'm convinced that whoever came up with the concept of "baby yoga," doesn't have a baby of their own. Who in their right mind believes you can successfully stretch and relax while also taking care of a screaming newborn.
I once attempted such a yoga class, but I spent the entire time sitting in a corner nursing my baby while other women made some vague reaches at stretching but otherwise just tickled their babies or changed diapers the whole time. I could have just gone to my mom group and hung out for free.