Our daughter Ava turned one in September. This Christmas season feels so different in many ways. I find it crazy that so much has changed in just one year. Last year I was sleep deprived, still learning how to nurse and figuring out how to be a mom of a three-month-old. I had such high hopes for Ava’s first Christmas but here’s the reality: I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day crying in my kitchen with a very sick baby. She was so congested from her cold that I spent every few hours steaming the shower in the bathroom to help her breathe easier. At one point I thought we may have to spend Christmas in the ER. It was very scary for us as new parents, but she pulled through and I learned a very important lesson: I needed to manage my expectations and find joy in the midst of WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT ME or else I would never be happy, and never be the kind of mom I aspire to be.
Last year I didn’t make it to the parties I was looking forward to, or the family outings we had planned. I was at home with a very sick baby who needed every ounce of energy I could muster. The one party we did make it to was my husband’s “fancy” work party. We showed up in ugly Christmas sweaters because, hello, I just had a baby, and nothing fit, plus I was nursing and had to pump/feed every couple hours. Try doing that in a fancy dress. When we dropped Ava off at Grandma’s house, I FORGOT to bring her bottle, so we had to turn around and go back home to get it. Needless to say, my husband wasn’t ecstatic, and we got in a huge argument and I was fighting tears the entire drive to the party, so I wouldn’t look like a clown on top of already feeling huge and disgusting in front of his coworkers……...SIGH……I look back and laugh now because it’s just so funny and so typical of how real life is at times.
Can any moms out there relate? (insert winking emoji here…...I know every single one of you can. And by the way, if no one has told you today, YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB AND ALL YOUR HARD WORK ISN’T FOR NOTHING!!!!) Let’s just take a moment to recognize how hard it is to be a mom. For me, it’s been anything but easy. I feel like a hot mess every single day.
This year I am still sleep deprived but am enjoying the Christmas season much more. What’s changed? I’ve lowered my expectations to practically none (HA-HA) and it’s been much more rewarding. We made homemade salt dough ornaments and decorated our tree with them. I mostly tried to prevent Ava from eating the dough, but we did it together, and the proof is hanging on our imperfect Christmas tree. We decorated a gingerbread house. It looks terrible, but we had fun and laughed together. We went to our local zoo and looked at the lights they set up every year during this season. I’ve never seen her eyes so wide and full of wonder. We visited our favorite coffee shop as a family and my husband and I talked about our dreams together. (In case we sound too perfect, let me paint you a picture of when we go out with our one-year-old: we take turns feeding her snacks and shoving books at her to keep her quiet. If that doesn't work there's always Binky ready to pop in her mouth. I'm the mom who gets super stressed and starts to sweat if she cries or throws a tantrum in public. And usually, we have a few hushed arguments while we are there because we’re human with a healthy marriage.)
LIFE IS CRAZY SO ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS!!!!!
Merry Christmas from our family to yours.
Gabbi, Patrick, & Ava