The short answer: Yes. Definitely.
The long answer: In general, I have found each and every day to be a little bit easier than the last. For these reasons!
While I really enjoyed breastfeeding, I found it to be a logistical headache. In the early days nursing took SO long, and I was very shy about doing it on front of other people, which meant I had to hide away. Finding places to nurse in public or rushing home made going out of the house a challenge and pumping a bottle for a babysitter was a huge ordeal. Basically, unless I was home alone life was complicated. Not to mention the breast pads, nursing bras and bottles parts to juggle.
Now feeding Mazen can still be tricky (like when he shoves his favorite food off his tray and demands something else that I don’t have in the fridge), but overall I can feed him anything, anywhere. And so can anyone else. I do have to prepare double the meals nowadays, but it’s fun…most of the time.
This one is obvious, but for the first six months I was SO tired. I’m still recovering! So after we sleep trained Mazen this part got worlds easier. He started taking real naps and they lengthened out with time. What was once a 40 minute nap a few times a day (that took 20 minutes of hands-on work to start) is now usually 2 hours of solid nap time. Going out is easier because we have much larger windows of time. While Mazen sometimes still fights naps, he is much more predictable than he was a year ago.
A huge change from the infant days is communication – both sign language and real words! Every day Mazen says something new, and he can generally tell us what he wants. Words and signs like “hurt” and “help” and “more” have all made our lives much easier.
4. Independent Play
As we round the corner of 18 months Mazen’s independent play is getting better and better. He can entertain himself with his favorite toys for a good chunk of time. And I can also play with him, which is fun (most of the time!) I am able to get more accomplished at home than I ever have while he’s awake. A huge part of this was him learning to walk – suddenly he could go to the toys he wanted and choose his own adventure. People used to warn me about walking – “Just you wait until he starts walking!” but I thought it made life so much easier. Also because I had a huge baby who was very heavy to carry so being able to let him run around is easier on my arms and back : )
Yes, those first smiles and laughs were SOOO exciting, but his personality has blossomed so much now that we can joke, tickle, play games, read stories and really interact.
I do long for the days when he would sit in my arms for hours and there was no mess to clean up or tantrums to calm, but he’s just as cute now in different ways. And he still loves to jump back in my lap for snuggles a few times a day.
I’m excited to have a newborn again someday, but I’m also scared. I remember how hard it was, and I know it’s going to be even harder with a toddler too. I’m glad I have Baby KERF to look back on and remember the milestones and steps when things got easier. Last time I told myself the first six weeks were all about survival. Next time I’ll remember that the first YEAR is one big blur until things start getting easier with eating and walking and talking.
Did you guys feel there was a turning point when being a mom got easier? Or perhaps you found the newborn stage the easiest?