Mirror, Mirror: 2014

I feel that as I get older, time seems to pass ever so quickly. Could it be that today is the last day of 2014? Many of my reflections for this past year are related to my new role as parent, which shouldn’t be surprising I suppose as I spent much of the past year as a stay-at-home mother.

What disappointed me?

One of my core mantras is to treat others as I would like to be treated. In some moments over the past year, I haven’t been true to this mantra with my partner. I may have been exhausted from caring for a cranky clingy baby all day, I may have wondered why he couldn’t just read my mind instead of asking me questions. These aren’t excuses for not being a good partner but it led me to not be the person that I wanted to be in some moments. It’s disappointing when my own behaviour is at the root of the issue.

I also wish I had taken more advantage of my maternity leave and enjoyed more activities that I can’t do when I’m working 40 waking hours of the week. Some days I felt too lazy, other days I just didn’t feel like doing things, and other days I felt like not having access to a car was enough of a barrier to get to places to do things.

What surprised me?

As I learned to care for a wee person, the changes in myself are what surprised me the most. I adapted to going with the flow instead of living strictly by the clock. I seemed to survive fine with much less continuous sleep than I ever thought I could survive on. My ability to react to changing emotions and situations by the minute. In the end, I think I was also surprised by just how much I would treasure spending time with my child. And somewhat related, I was pleasantly surprised and extremely grateful for just how utterly supportive my partner would be through our first year of parenthood. Without his encouraging words and supportive gestures, I likely would have given up trying to breastfeed in those early pain-filled weeks postpartum.

What did I fail at?

As a mom, my failures are not necessarily in things that I have truly failed at but more so in what I may have missed in real time and would do differently if I could turn back time. For me, I wish I had treated our baby’s eczema properly much earlier than I did because I will never stop wondering if his broken skin contributed to his food allergies. I do not have eczema and did not know that that was what my baby had or what to do about it until it was pretty bad. Looking back at photos, I feel terrible and can only imagine what he was feeling at the height of it.

What did I do well at?

I kept expectations in check and took things in stride. I tried to keep a level head in stressful situations so that hopefully my child would not get too stressed (positive energy begets positive energy): from immunizations to allergic reactions to transitioning to daycare. Overall, I think I adapted fairly well from being an employee to a stay-at-home-mother back to an employee. The needs of the “employers” were quite different in the two cases and it required a grand shift in lifestyle and attitude. Obviously, I was well supported by everyone around me and success is always due, in part, to the network of people surrounding you.

There were some minutes, hours, days in 2013 when I felt so frustrated, mostly if my baby was fighting his nap and all I needed to maintain my sanity was for him to take even a short catnap. There were many more moments this past year when I wish I could almost stop time, just to enjoy the moment for longer. I feel blessed that I had a year together at home with my child but I also feel that he will grow a lot as a child in daycare. I look forward to what the next year will bring!

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