Sometimes when I think about what's coming, I start to get overwhelmed and have no idea how I'm going to handle the future, like:
- Having another one or two (which is hopefully still a ways down the road) on top of everything else going on.
- Actually needing to discipline, beyond the simple foundational things you can do with a 9-month-old.
- Balancing the desire to give her everything she wants with the knowledge that it's better she doesn't get it all, and picking and choosing which "wants" we let her have.
- How life will change and she gets older and starts walking, talking, expressing her opinions more clearly and often, going to school, choosing friends, learning how to deal with peers, experiencing pain...
- Knowing when to push her towards the edge of the nest and when to pull her back and protect her.
- Preparing her to be the woman God wants her to be.
Of course I could go on, but I don't want to get too overwhelmed here...
As a list-maker, I thought a list of things I've learned first-hand would help calm me down:
- Maternal instincts definitely exist and kick-in when necessary.
- A lot of this motherhood thing is doing your best and counting on God for the rest.
- God gives us the kids we get for a reason. Yes, sometimes it's a challenge when my little night owl fights bedtime and naps (and I'm sure that's a battle we'll be fighting for years), but in talking to friends about their babies, I'd take that over their kids' personality quirks, and I'm sure it's vice versa too.
- There's no one right way to do things. Experts tell you conflicting things all the time, from how warmly to dress your baby to whether or not they sleep in your bed with you. Figure out what works for you and go with it.
- Moms come in all different shapes, sizes and personalities. Comparing yourself to other moms will only make you feel bad about yourself and self-conscious. Yes, you can always be a better mother, but play to your strengths and get help in areas you aren't as good at.
- Life is in constant flux, but the changes come little by little so that by the time you reach the next milestone you're a little more prepared.
- 9 months ago I barely knew anything about babies. Now I know how to feed her, play with her, encourage her, soothe her, tell the difference between her cries...
- I'm not alone in this. In addition to each other, Matt and I have a lot of friends and family we know we can count on for advice, help, etc. Plus, you know, the whole God's hand being in everything thing :)
Yes, the last 9 months have been the hardest of my life. But I absolutely love where we are right now and am excited for what the future holds!