My baby boy, Aiden turned one last weekend! Yes, you read that right! O-N-E!
I keep saying this, but I just can’t believe that he’s really one. Aiden is officially a toddler now! Time flies when you’re having fun huh? Last weekend we hosted a birthday party for Aiden. My family and I prepared a lot of food and snacks. My little sister flew all the way from London to prepare a personalized birthday cake for Aiden. I truly appreciate that she was able to create such a beautiful cake in just a short period of time for her little nephew. Thanks a billion, baby sis! You’re the best :)
Aiden’s first birthday meant a lot to us, actually to all of us. It also means Wai and I survived our first year of parenting. As amazing as parenthood is, it wasn’t always easy (and it still isn’t)..I mean, it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows..but together we make a great team. So today I want to share with you another mommy to mommy moment, my journey through my 1st year of motherhood.
1. body and mind
Sometimes my mind says A, but my body does B. Yes, it may sound silly, but it does happen. I used to love writing things down on my to-do list which includes exercising. However, after I got Aiden, it was pretty hard to “do” that particular thing when my body actually wants to do the oppposite. Just like going to the gym. Before I got Aiden, I hit the gym 3-4 times a week. Although I was pretty tired after a long day at work, I still exercised as my mind was much stronger than my body. Now I’m not saying my mind isn’t strong enough, but listening to your body is also very important. If your body starts to ache (not muscle pain), like really hard, it means something is not right..and you’ve probably gone too far. It took me a very long time to get the balance back and you know what? I may be a little bit too hard on myself..I won’t die if I skip a workout, no?
2. mood swings
Oh boy, where should I start? Wai wouldn’t consider me a highly sensitive wife or mom, but I can tell you I’m more emotional than I was before. I can easily cry, whether it’s a movie or if I can’t find my keys/phone or if my friends say something sweet to me. I’m like a real cry baby. And yes, sometimes I can also go from super happy to sad/angry in a moment. At the very beginning, I was wondering whether these are signs of depression. I talked to my friends. Although they don’t have kids, they could completely understand what I’ve been through. Being a new mom is hard, everything is new—your baby, your body, your way of thinking and even your relationship with your partner etc. But how can you control those emotions? What really helped me is communicating with others or writing down my emotions. Yes, by talking with your partner or friends or putting down your feelings into words, you will learn to control your emotions in a better way.
Our marriage has been changed after having Aiden. Don’t get me wrong, Wai and I are still super happy, but it was difficult at the beginning. Before we got Aiden, we were like a real couple. We did things like normal couples would do, going to the movies, shopping, having dinner, taking vacays from time to time. However, after we got Aiden, everything changed. We’ve been focusing on the well-being of Aiden. He was literally the center of our world. Wai and I spent very little time together and this has affected our relationship. We argued about anything..What Wai did wasn’t right (at least for me) and what I did, was not acceptable either. I hated Wai and he hated me haha..really, I wasn’t even kidding. However, it doesn’t mean our situation got worse. We were tired of those “I blame you and you blame me” situations, so we bought some self-help books such as How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids and The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Those titles may sound dramatic, but we both think it helped us as well. Now we share our feelings and thoughts with each other and we have our husband and wife moment from time to time. It makes our relationship stronger. It’s so important not to lose each other by only focusing on one specific thing.
If you think you don’t need me-time once you have kids, you are wrong. Like really really wrong. Me-time is so important. It’s a moment for yourself to recharge, a moment to clear your mind and to be you again. And I also think it will make you a better parent. Believe me, if you only focus on your kids, you will not only lose yourself..but you will also lose why you wanted to have kids in the first place. Someone once told me I will never have time to do things I love unless I send my child everyday to the day care. Well, that person is so damn wrong. If you ask me, you can do anything even though you have 1 or 2 or even more children. It’s just a matter of time management. Children are not a replacement— they are an addition to the family, remember that. So mommies, if you want to have a little me-time, just do it! Don’t feel guilty, it doesn’t make you a bad or an irresponsible mom. In fact, it’s healthy, really.
5. body changes
To be honest, I’m still having a pretty hard time accepting my body. My body doesn’t look like it was before. I’ve gained 13 kg during my entire pregnancy. I lost 10 kg right after I gave birth to Aiden, the remaining 3 are the worst, it’s like a yo-yo effect. My hips are wider (which in some ways is nice), BUT my stomach is far from the flat pre-baby belly I once had. I know some say you’ll automatically lose weight when nursing a baby. Well, that didn’t apply to me. However, nothing is impossible. I’m now eating a healthy diet which helps me to get motivated and I exercise as well. Time will tell, right?
6. don’t compare yourself to other mommies
We all know comparing yourself to others is a no-no, it’s something that makes you feel unhappy. I know it’s hard not to compare when you become a new mom. As everything is new, you may be a bit insecure. You would rather listen to mommy X or Y as she is more experienced. However, everyone is different, everyone is unique and so are you. What works very well for child X, doesn’t mean it will automatically work on child Y either. Receiving advice may be good, but don’t let it control you. Just believe in yourself and stop comparing! I know, it might be hard, but sometimes it’s better to listen to your own intuition. So do the things which feels right for you and your child.
7. cherish time with loved ones
Being a parent is challenging but amazing, right? But do remember you’re not only a ‘mom’. What does that suppose to mean? Besides you are a mom to your child, you have many other ‘roles’. This means you’re also someone’s spouse, someone’s daughter (in-law), colleague, friend, relative, business partner, next-door neighbour etc. Remember my trip to Lille with my friend or the sister’ trip to London? Yup, that’s what I’m saying. Just cherish every moment and every person in life. Now that you’re mom, doesn’t mean you can’t be someone’s friend at the same time.
8. accept help from friends and family
Don’t take things for granted. If a friend or relative offers you help, please do accept it, especially when you just gave birth to your child. It’s not that you can’t handle it on your own, but doesn’t it feel better if you have a helping hand out there? I’m so glad my sister wants to babysit once or twice a week so I can spend time with Wai. It’s not that my sister’s got plenty of time, in fact, she’s a busy bee. But she completely understands why we want to spend time with each other.
Many people say ”sleep when your baby sleeps”. I always find it a bit cliché. We all know every (new) parent is sleep deprived, but can you actually fall asleep when your baby sleeps too? Hmm. I don’t think so. At least not for me. There isn’t a button in my mind that can easily switch on to sleeping mode when Aiden falls asleep. When Aiden was a newborn, he slept a lot like most newborns. By age of 4-5 months, Aiden started to take less sleeps and his nap schedule was no longer consistent. So instead of taking a power nap, I was busy taking care of the basic needs such as cleaning the house, eating, oh and changing my clothes of course. Sleeping is important, but basic needs are essential too. Believe me, when your baby is awake, he or she won’t wait patiently until you’re finished with your tasks.
Parenthood can change your priorities and even your commitments. Before I got Aiden, I wanted to change my career. I’ve been wanting a job in the fashion industry for the longest time. And I knew it was difficult as I don’t have the specific background. However, I didn’t give up and I attended some short fashion master classes in the past. I didn’t give up on blogging either, as this is a way for me to express myself in a creative way. However, things have been changed since the arrival of Aiden. My main focus will be my family. Of course, career is also important, but I have also learned to be grateful for what I have, including my current job as well.
11. you’ll never be alone
This means, wherever you go, there’s always someone who’s been following you. And yes, if you are going to the toilet, please know there’s someone waiting on you too..plus, you only have a very limited time. When it comes to food and your baby is a foodie, you need to share it as well, unless you secretly eat your food in the kitchen..
12. a colourful mess
I’ve never seen so many colours in our house. Wai and I are quite minimalistic and we both love neutral, basic colours such as white, navy, black and grey. Our house has turned into a colourful mess since the arrival of Aiden. I have to say, it was hard to accept those bright colours in the first place, but now we’re like: okay, doesn’t matter, Aiden has already taken over the entire place..And besides, colours and shapes are good for a child’s development.
Are you a mom? If yes, what have you learned through motherhood?
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Until next time,