The Big One Year

Today is the day, Ainsley’s first birthday! We made it 365 days, 365 days of waking up multiple times, 365 days of breastfeeding, 365 days of diapers, baths, and messes. While it has been a crazy year, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Well, I started to write this on her birthday, and then life happened a whopping three sentences into my post. So here we are almost a month later and finally finishing it. Ainsley’s birthday the big ONE, not to be confused with the other hopefully 100 birthdays she has. One, typically just the beginning for most but for me, it was more of a milestone a big I did it! I made it and kept my kid alive this long. For some reason, I felt some sort of relief that we survived the first year. Maybe it is because she isn’t so fragile, and perhaps it was because my marriage survived that first year. Shit, I survived a year of a pandemic with a baby, a year of some of the scariest, most strange things in our lifetime. We don’t have everything figure out by any means, but hey, what parent does? I mean, even at almost 30, my dad is still lecturing me like I’m 12.

I felt like I accomplished a lot and absolutely nothing all in one year. I mean, I kept her alive off my body for a year. I fed her and produced more than enough to keep providing for her. I had no idea if I would do it, and I always said if needed, I would switch her to formula. Still, we never did, and not only was it a great bonding moment, but the boob is free….. well, to an extent, it did cost a lot of sleep, and well, let’s be honest, boobs never look the same after. I got through my fears of being judged by other moms while they were parenting however they felt necessary, I was too. Being a first-time mom was different for me than other people I know.

I didn’t follow every rule and didn’t go with every milestone they said to follow. I did what I felt was best for our daughter; I did whatever I thought would help her learn the most in her little life. Did I ever put her in danger? No, but things have gotten to the point where we are stressing ourselves out so bad to make sure our kids are doing the same thing as little Timmy down the road at the same pace, if not better. For what reason? To say that they could walk before one another? I can say I am proud of this first year, it took a lot for myself and my husband, but it was worth it in the end. While things have not always been perfect, it has pushed us to realize important things to us. It drove me as a person. In the last year, I have applied to countless jobs and just hoping for the right fit. I’ve had a few interviews, some that have gone well and far and others that have been pointless, but I have to keep trying to find something. I’m not jobless, but I’m not in a spot I want to be forever, and I want my daughter to see how many beautiful things her mom can accomplish.

The hardest thing I think I have dealt with in this first year of her life is mom guilt, and boy, is it big! We put Ainsley in daycare full time so that I could go back to work, and she loves it! She is thriving, and it makes me so happy, but god is it hard. As moms, things are complex; being a stay-at-home mom is hard, being a working mom is hard. I have been both. I want a fulfilling career, I want to be a role model for my daughter, and I could be that being a stay-at-home mom, but I want to have a career. I want to move west to fulfill my husband’s dream eventually but contribute a good amount to do so. I want to make enough to cover more than my share, so maybe he can be a guide for fishing or something he loves. I have learned in the last couple of weeks I am harder on myself than anyone else. I had a friend tell me my version of not doing anything with my life and being a failure is far different from many other people. If I don’t hold myself to a standard, then who will? I know I might be a little harsh, and I do well for myself, but I have to keep moving up and forward or become stuck. I want my daughter to grow up in a beautiful area filled with the best views, and I want my husband somewhere I feel he can grow and be happier.

I know we’ll get where we need to one day, and everything happens for a reason. Things don’t line up when we want them to for a reason. They line up when we need them too.

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