One Year Post-Baby Update
Happy Baby April!
Wow - it's hard to realize this, but in just a few days it'll be one year since I brought my daughter, April Susan, into this world.
April was born March 27, 2010 in a whirlwind delivery. Her entrance into this world was so fast that she almost was born in the car... Some of you may remember her birth story from last year, but for those of you who missed it (trust me, it's pretty comical... thanks to my awesome hubby), you can check it out here: April's arrival.
In this past year so much has happened. Not only have I become a mother (that's so strange to say that... me, a mom? Woah, watch out), but I started my own business doing fitness bootcamps full time, I work mostly from home doing writing and online nutrition counseling so I can be with April more, I work at an alternative health clinic part time, I run a corporate bootcamp and wellness program, and now, next week, I'll be working weekly at a large insurance company in Mass. doing diet counseling for the employees. So, as you can see, I've been incredibly busy! But, it's a good busy! And, I mostly work for myself, which I looovve.
On the motherhood front, I wanted to comment on what I've learned and done that I never thought I would have accomplished:
1) First, up until this week I exclusively breast fed April. Yes, she ate food, but the only liquids she drank (other than water sometimes) was breastmilk from me. Breastfeeding is incredibly energy demanding and there were days that I just couldn't eat enough, and it's a time consuming process, especially if you have other things to do, other than just be at home with baby (which is what I was faced with).
I had thought I would nurse April until past a year, but two weeks ago, April bit me so hard with her 6 new teeth, that there was nothing but blood coming out of me.... after that, I just had to cut back. It was so painful and she was more interested in biting than nursing, that I made the decision to stop. So, right now, she drinks goat milk during the day, and nurses a bit at night. I'm ok with this decision now, but it did bother me at first because I had no issues breastfeeding other than the nuisance of it sometimes.
2) After having baby, one of my friends said to me: "Motherhood is easy before you actually become a mother", which I swear is true. Now, don't get me wrong, April is a totally easy-going kid, and so sweet, but I really thought I knew it all before she arrived.
But, every kid is different, and every kid changes so easily from one second to another. So, you might read every book on the topic of parenting, but remember: your kid is your kid and no book is ever going to completely tell you how to raise him or her, and once you think you've got them figured out, they'll change on you :) Keeps you on your toes, right?
For example, one of my baby shower gifts was a pack-n-play (basically a portable crib) and some people always have their kids in these to keep them out of trouble. Well, I've barely even used the thing as I let April crawl around everywhere in the house and be a free bird. Different strokes for different folks.
Or sleep habits/training - some parents are adamant about their child's bedtime, where my husband and I usually let April dictate her own bedtime for the most part. Not that I let her stay up until 11am, but she usually tells me when she's tired. If I try to put her to bed before that time, she is not a happy camper. But when I wait until she's mostly ready, she goes right to sleep with no problems.
Also, with sleep - sometimes she sleeps through the night and sometimes not, and even though some books say she should be by this age, it depends on teething (she's got lots coming in), hunger, sickness, etc. She'll wake up if she wants to, not matter what I read.
3) With exercise, my workouts used to be my top priority, but since having baby, I get my workouts in when I can, which isn't every day, or always exactely when I want them to be. This still frustrates me somewhat, but so far I'm feeling really great and have dropped a lot of body fat.
Here's a video from my workout today that I did while April was at daycare:
4) With respect to daycare, before having April, I was convinced that I would not put her in daycare until she was at least over a year old. I was using this time as a bench mark since my girlfriends in Canada are all paid to stay home with their children for the first year. Plus, I wanted to be the one to raise my child, not someone else.
Well, unfortunately, no one is paying me to stay at home with my kid, so I have to work (thankfully not all the time though). And, as such, I have had to put April in daycare two days per week. I have in her in a beautiful home day care though, so it's more like home. And, I must say I love it. The daycare mom is so loving, so caring and gives April just as much attention and care as she deserves. April also gets to do pre-school at daycare with the older kids, so gets a lot of social and educational time.
On the other hand, with me, oftentimes I try to do work while April is at home, but it's not really fair to her. So, in daycare she gets to have fun, interact with other kids and learn new things, which I feel makes her more well-rounded. So, I was wrong about daycare and really look forward to her two-day a week visits (it also gives me a chance to keep up with the housecleaning when I'm not out working) :)
5) Finally - it amazes me how much I've been able to accomplish while being a new mom. I often hear mother's tell me how they have no time to: a) workout, b) eat well, c) doing anything for themselves... etc. But, I just don't see this being such an issue unless perhaps you have a very difficult child (which I know exists). You can still be a good mom and take care of yourself.
True, there are days where I forgoe a shower to get more work done, or don't do much other than play with April, but I still have found the time to spend time with my husband, keep up with my own needs, and be a good mom. And, I do all of this with NO help at all - my family lives in Canada, so these tasks are all of my own accord.
Overall, it's been quite a whirlwind year and I look forward to the next 365 days with my little Ape-y.
Here's to motherhood - It's the best job ever!