Why My Child’s 1st Year Changed Me

Baby in Shopping Cart
image via flickr user DaveLawler

 Before I had children I was full of parenting strategies and ideas about the kind of mother I would be. Things I would do, and things I would absolutely NOT do. When I saw mothers out, struggling with their children, I have to admit that I was taking notes. I would think things like “That mother needs to get control of her child” And “My child will never behave like that in public.” I would sometimes even replay the scenario in my head and think “If that had been my kid I would have… insert any number of recommended parenting strategies.” Those poor mothers were having a hard enough time, without having all of my naive judgments on them.

To the mother in the grocery store carrying a small child while your cart is full of all of the snacks/toys you brought to try to occupy them. I feel you! I once judged you, and I’m sorry.

Then, nature dealt me the most fitting karma – motherhood. Suddenly here I was, with all of my “knowledge” of perfect parenting and I was eating huge amounts of humble pie! Not only was I now the mother struggling with my baby in public, I couldn't go anywhere without my baby crying. She hated the car and would immediately start screaming when I put her in her car seat. The car ride was so traumatic that my the time we got to the store, the bank, the gym -wherever we were going – she was so worked up that the only thing that would calm her down, was if I nursed her! So I was that mom in the backseat nursing, nursing in the furniture aisle of the store, in the booth at the restaurant, and yes – even in a public restroom (it hurts to go back to that mental space). All of these grandiose ideas I had of being the perfect mother, with the perfect angelic baby, who everyone who look at and say “Oh, what a cute well-behaved child, what a wonderful parent you must be” were shattered by a 7 pound 12 ounce bundle of colic! But, oh how I loved that little bundle of colic.

Before I had my daughter, I was determined that I would be like all the celebrity moms. Back into my skinny jeans 6 weeks postpartum with a nice pair of heels, and my hair and make-up done, carrying my daughter in her infant carrier like a handbag. So when the sweatpants, sneakers, ponytail, and naked face lasted well past 6 months, I was a little lot ashamed. Why didn't anyone tell me carrying a 7 pound baby in an infant seat feels like 50 pounds after a c-section? To you women who can make those things look graceful, and even easy to carry, I salute you. Me? I look a bit more like I am attempting to haul a load of bricks, after being shot in the foot. Not pretty!

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In short, I am sorry. To the mother in the grocery store carrying a small child while your cart is full of all of the snacks/toys you brought to try to occupy them. I feel you! I once judged you, and I’m sorry. To all you mothers pacing the hallways of the church with a crying child, I have now been there. Even though I once thought I would always be able to keep my child quiet in the pew- I now know better. I am sorry. To the mom breastfeeding at the soccer game, the gym, the library, in the furniture aisle – you are awesome! Way to put your child’s needs first. I once thought you were a poor planner. I was wrong. I am sorry.

No mother is perfect, not one. Most mothers are trying incredibly hard to do their absolute best, myself included. Most days I feel I am falling short. Here’s one thing I know. The next time I see a mother struggling at the grocery store – she’ll get assistance from me, not judgments. 

{ MORE: Realizing You ARE a Good Mom}

Has your perspective changed since having children? How so?

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Why My Child’s 1st Year Changed Me

Jeanna Strassburg is a wife, and mother of three, who enjoys kitchen dance parties and summer time! Jeanna received her bachelor’s degree in Education from Brigham Young University-Idaho in April of 2007. She enjoys spending her time cooking, cleaning and tending to the proper duties of a stay at home mother… NOPE! Truthfully, she enjoys eating the food, but not making it or cleaning up after it. She likes to have a clean home, but loathes laundry and dishes. Loves her children, but coul ... More

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2 comments

  1. Leslie says:

    My did not happen till she was 14 months. We were involved in a car crash and this happen last year. We are suppose to be died. I was going through depression at the time. I was driving Down the road to work. Saw the ice slow down and hit it just right and black out. I hear the story that I hit the ice, hit a car and roll my car twice. Car was gone, but we made it. She was fine no hurts anywhere. I took like I hit the wall. I could not walk for a week. My depression went way after the accident cause it woke me up. Since then I play with her more, she loves to cuddle even more, me and my husband do not think about divorce anymore, and I know who save me in that accident. My grandma and grandpa that died when I was sixteen. My daughter was there gift from them. I was suppose to get something from them and it was her. She may have autism, but she is mild. Sleep in everyday, pretty east child, loves to help mom out, and we love her.

  2. Raina says:

    Agree! I see other new moms who still think that they can plan how things are gonna go. My LO being my second, I do think has made me more patient, and I have tried harder for things like breastfeeding to work out with him. He’s four months now, but I still see him sometimes as the fragile little guy he was born as. I understand other mother’s pains and wish we all could just understand each other, and I think we will when life shows you how things really are.

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