Today, Wyatt Shea turned 9 months old, and I figured it’s time to take a minute and give him his blog due. It has been a wild 3/4 of a year. Looking back, it feels like much longer than 9 months. But not in a bad way. In the I-feel-like-I’ve-known-him-all-my-life way. I’ve learned so much about myself, my priorities, and am in an ever evolving process of how to organize my life around his. So here are the top 10 things I’ve learned, with some sweet Wyatt images mixed in.
1. There is no such thing as watching a child while working from home. Whether they are an infant or crawling, you are either too devastatingly tired to do anything right when they nap, or they’re barely napping and you give the house a quick clean while they snooze. You’re either working or you’re not.
2. You have to say no a lot. No to drinks, lunch, professional get togethers, potential clients, and many other things that once would have been an easy yes. Accept it, love what you’ve gained, and make sure you leave time for yourself every week.
3. Reach out when you need help. About anything. I can assure you that at least 5 people you know have gone through the same thing, whether they’ve told you or not. Moms want to help moms, so don’t be afraid to connect! Wayland has a great community of parents called the Wayland Children and Parent’s Association, check to see if your town has something similar.
4. For photographers: do not take jobs within 8 weeks of your due date. Aside from the obvious fact that your baby might come early, there are innumerable aches, pains, and general discomforts that you can and will be dealing with in months 8 and 9 (or even before). Don’t fool yourself or your clients into (inadvertently) committing to something that you will, at best, struggle through needlessly.
5. Don’t beat yourself up when the weight doesn’t come flying off. Some women are blessed in this way, but most of us aren’t, so be prepared to work for it, and don’t be disappointed in yourself. I’m going through a restart right now, and it feels amazing! Working with a trainer is forcing me to make time to exercise, eat cleanly, and ultimately start each day with a much brighter attitude.
6. You will experience joy like no other the first time your baby smiles at you. For me it was February 8th, 2016. In the hard moments during the first few weeks at home, remember that it’s coming soon.
7. Childcare is a hot topic. Don’t be swayed by what your friends say or your parents think, you have to find the best solution for YOU. Whether that means you quit your job and stay home, send baby off to day care, or find in-home childcare, make sure you are 100% comfortable with your decision. It’s your baby and your life, your choice.
8. Breastfeeding is HARD. It was the most arduous part of being a new mom, and I believe now that my stress was needless. If you’re committed to it, then find a lactation consult who understands your perspective on breast feeding. If you’re not committed to it, don’t be afraid to walk away when it’s no longer right for you. Don’t let the internet/social media/or anything else you google at 2Am tell you otherwise.
9. Be patient with your spouse. You’re on totally new ground together raising a human. Particularly one that can’t yet tell you what they need or feel.
10. Make time for two. Every other Wednesday night Jarett and I have date night – like tonight! It’s a new habit to get into, having to make plans and child care arrangements at least a week ahead of time, but it makes those nights that much more special.
Now who’s ready to give this kid a modeling contract?
Karen is a Boston-based photographer specializing in documenting and preserving family history. You can see more of her work online at www.kkpforlife.com, on Instagram or on Facebook. If you’d like to contact her directly, you can find her at firstname.lastname@example.org.