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Happy first year

Happy First year

Happy First year is not only the celebration of your first child’s first year of life, but you actually made it through the first year as well. First time mom, surviving the first year abroad is not only my personal experiences but the voices of so many other mothers that have daring taken on the task of having kids far away from home. So yes, we all are superwomen, whether you are close to family or not. The exception here is that we have to do without that teeny bit of help when it is needed the most. Exhale mom. You’re gonna be fine.

First time mom, surviving the first year abroad is not only my personal experiences but the voices of so many other mothers that have daring taken on the task of having kids far away from home. So yes, we all are superwomen, whether you are close to family or not. The exception here is that we have to do without that teeny bit of help when it is needed the most. Exhale mom. You’re gonna be fine.

I’m peeking through the window just to check if he is seeing that I’m leaving him behind…today was the very first time that he went to the creche. He is almost one year old and I can’t seem to leave thinking I should stay in the car for that hour and wait it out. I decide to drive home just to finish up some housework, knowing in the back of my mind if he needs me I’ll drive right over to the rescue. I mean it’s only for an hour to see if he adapts well, what is the worst that can happen. I still remember his face when I left. Isn’t that silly… For months I thought I needed a break, even if it is just for two hours a week and here I am worrying whether I did the right thing.

We all want to be in control when it comes to our kids and feeling guilty is part of the job when it comes to being a mother. When he is too thirsty or too hungry, when his bum has been wet for a while or whether he hit his head really hard…guilt creeps up. You leave him too long with your husband or the nanny, guilt is right there. Then again you’re doing the best you can, alone. Still, guilt is a constant friend.

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His one year birthday was quite a blur and I can’t believe that this year of his life went by so fast. I literally passed out after his party and felt like I was having an emotional breakdown only to realize that it was exhaustion and the emotion of it all, that he is not a “baby” anymore that was catching up with me. It was the slowest fastest year of my life. He has grown up so fast and me alongside him. You’re abounded to change whether you like it or not. Having grace with yourself is the key, even though I still have to work on that one. Realizing your faults and changeling you’re strengths to your advantage. I am a perfectionist, competitive person, faulty to comparison and easily offended. Those are my faults and I guess it will always be a struggle even though I am a mother now. But my strengths are acts of service to others, forgiveness, compassion, and honesty. My strengths outweigh my defaults.

So with my limited amount of expertise, I will give you some pointers on what helped me to survive this first year of motherhood. It’s not a perfect way of living and you have to make it work for yourself, but these decisions helped us survive this year. I’ll give you some pointers this time next year, who knows what has changed by then.

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Have regular visits from family, skype calls or returns going back home. This is so important because it makes you feel as though time is going by so fast and you get to share this new addition with you’re loved ones. There is a saying in Afrikaans that ring so true, out of sight out of the heart. Even though people don’t mean to, they forget about you and what you are going through. Sharing what’s going on will really lower the burden of being a new mother. They will be able to give you much-needed advice or just help you get through whatever you are going through.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whoever is available to come over, look after the baby for a bit s you can just have a break will be a lifesaver. As bad as it sounds, you’ll need a break eventually, even if it is just to have a shower. We all have those days. Even superwoman gets fed up sometimes.

Do something for you. Yes, it’s easier said than done because maybe you’re attached to you’s the baby like I was for a couple of months. Here you have to evaluate whether it is a good investment to buy a breast pump so daddy can take over one or two feedings so you can just take a nap. Find some source of a let out, because it can be quite baby overload for a while. This is why I make time to do my blog. It’s a let out, and expression of who I am.

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Have regular coffee dates or playdates. This is such a good idea to have stimulation for you and you’re mini-me. You get to catch up, socialize and have a few sips of liquid sunshine. This will also make your day go by quicker and you’ll feel more “happy” and able to share some info with the hubs when he arrives.

Get a cleaner at least once a week. we all don’t have that luxury and I only started to have a cleaner when my son was about four months old. This is a lifesaver, especially in the beginning, because the last thing that you want to do is clean after waking up 3-4 times at night. Now closer to toddler stage it gets even worse because ones the cleaner leaves it seems like she was never there at all.

Get away for a bit. Let me be honest here, taking a vacation is no picnic in the park when you have kids, especially when they are small. Going to the beach will be a challenge, going skiing will be a challenge, but you know what it will be worth it in the long run. You’ll appreciate you’re house and you’re routine more. Just be prepared when you travel, because this will simplify your trip and you’ll be more relaxed because you’ve thought of possible everything. Here is the previous post that can help with this.

http://lifeinthesouth.co/visiting-magical-brugge/

http://lifeinthesouth.co/starting-life-france/

http://lifeinthesouth.co/travel/

 

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Find things to occupy your time with a baby. You have the opportunity to shape and form this tiny squishy love bug. So get activities via Pinterest, Instagram, and the internet to keep them occupied during the day. Even if you do just one or two activities per week. It will make such a difference. My husband bought a program in South Africa called Practica, and it teaches you every month the basic things that you can do during the day. With minimal effort for those days to help them advance just a teeny bit more. I really vouch for this program, since I have seen a big difference that it has made

Other programs that I would suggest are:

Littlelifelonglearners 

Learning.Through.Play 

Early learning 101

A Crafty LIVing 

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Learn to love the place your in. So finally it all rolls into this. You have to be happy here, now where you are, because you will regret missing it. I sure do, I can’t exactly remember how small he was until I looked at old baby photos and my heart broke because I forgot. I was so out of it emotionally, wishing for better days that I missed it all. I’m not hard on myself because that’s life and being “alone” kind of makes it even harder, so that’s where grace on myself comes in, but sometimes I do catch myself in that loop all over again.

Take some time to play. Yes, you have a load of washing, dirty plates and crumbs on the floor. For me, this one is pretty tough, because I can not relax until my house is clean, but I’m missing all the fun over here when daddy and son are playing while I’m cleaning and doing the dishes. More life enjoyment means not missing the rare moments to play when they present themselves. Just looks at kids, they use every opportunity whatsoever to enjoy their lives, why can’t I.

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Don’t be so sensitive. Yes, people will have their opinions and ways for you to do things, but you just have to do what works for you at the end of the day. I am quite sensitive and this had hindered me to do what I think is best, but you’re more than capable, because hey it’s your baby. Taking things to seriously can keep you away from learning a few things from people or actually making new friends.

Don’t compare. Your life might not be instant perfect. Who’s really is by the way? Any good day can’t be perfect even though we all pretend via social media that we have gotten it down. This is such an easy trap because, with the time that we do have, we look at others lives that seem immature in comparison to ours. Mostly it all is a facade, so don’t be fooled. Find inspiration not self-doubt by the accounts you follow.

Acceptance. I never say die even at my own expense. I was anemic for months and thought it’s just the way it has to be. I worked so hard to lose the baby weight, get out and about just to prove to whomever that I was handling this and I was my old self again. Finally, I gave in to just being who I am now, because why fight the inevitable, I will never be the “old” me again. this is just a new version, a new discovery of who I am now and you know what it’s pretty exciting. I never thought I was scared of being a mother, but months later I realized I was because change is a scary thing.

So from me to you, I hope these few pointers can do a bit of good because not a lot of women talk about the difficulties a lot of the time. These are things that I have struggled with and I do hope that you know that you are not alone out there. I wish I knew more right from the start because it’s such a BIG thing not to talk about. Now one year later, I can actually tell you because I think I have gotten my voice back after losing it for a while.

All the best!

M*

In Lifestyle

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