If I Could Do It All Over Again…

So I’ve already mentioned that our family is 100% complete. Done. Finished. And now I’m raising some wonderfully crazy twin FIVE year olds. {Which, by the way, I have no idea how that happened. The complete nerve of them to grow up.} But as we march into new territory with activity-filled evenings, learning to read, and new-found independence {whoop!}, it has me reminiscing so much about those early years. While I don’t believe in regrets necessarily, as that is how we learn and grow, I do have a few things I wish I could have told my new-mom self. And maybe a few of these will be helpful for those of you swimming in these uncharted {for you} territories.

If I could do it all over again, I would…

1} Slow Down.

Just be still. Enjoy the moments just a little bit more. Now, I’m not saying you have to enjoy EVERY moment, because let’s face it, scooping poo out of a crib thanks to epic blowouts does not rank high in my memory bank. But there were plenty of times that I just feel like I rushed all the stages. Rolling over? Great! Let’s move onto crawling. Got that? Time to walk! Bye, bye bottles. Here comes sippy cups. And the list goes on and on and on. I wish I hadn’t been so focused on so much mastering the milestones, and instead just more in love with the actual stage. I remember rocking my little ones and praying they would just go to sleep so I could get back to bed. Bless. I wish so much I could do that one more time. Honestly, one of my fondest memories from their infanthood {now looking back} was staring at both of their little faces at 2AM, in our guest bedroom, propping up two bottles, and just seeing the peace on their faces. Man. I still get tears.

2} Relax.

I know. Easier said than done. Your world has just been rocked by your new creation{s}. In our case, I had one twin at home and one in the NICU for almost 2 months. And when my Quinn finally came home, she brought along an oxygen tank and other various medical paraphernalia. It was overwhelming to say the least. But even when we got everything under control, my A-type personality couldn’t just chill. I charted EVERYTHING they did for almost a year. Every bit of food that went into their mouths, every poop, every pee. I know. I’m surprised my husband tolerated me during that time because I could barely stand myself. When I finally let that go, along with a myriad of other little control things, I was much more pleasant to be around – and I think became an even better mom.

3} Accept Help.

Again, this is where my A-type personality comes into play again. I am not big on accepting help. But I think it’s true for moms of any personality – we just can become “mommy martyrs” without even realizing it. After all, we know best, right? But hear me when I say this — it takes a darn village to do this mom stuff. Don’t be an island floating out in the rocking waves. It will exhaust you and break you down. If someone wants to bring you dinner, as much as it may pain you, ACCEPT IT AND SAY THANK YOU. Oftentimes it’s as much of a blessing to the person offering as it is to you. Trust me on this. And when we don’t welcome help, we can unintentionally push away well-meaning people. Because I wanted to control almost every aspect of the babies’ lives, my mom and mother-in-law were almost scared to jump in, because they knew I might freak over something completely minuscule. And then I wondered later where my help was? Sadly, I discovered that I may have driven it away. Now that I readily admit when I need help, and I have relaxed {see #2} a bit, they happily pitch in and delight in their grandbabies. I hate that I may have deprived them of the experiences early on. And a bit sad that I maybe missed out on opportunities to catch a few more zzz’s.

4} Take Care of YOU.

Ladies. Let’s just be honest. Your household just doesn’t function as well without you. As hard as it may be, you need to figure out how to take time out for you. The first few months, that may just be a walk around the block or a 9pm escape to the Target. Time to breathe. Later on when you don’t have a baby attached to your breast or your hip, get back into exercising {or start!}. I was a big runner before I got pregnant – at the gym 4-5 times per week and running 3-6 miles at a time. After babies, not so much. And the more the years pass by, the harder it is to get back into it. Sadly, I’m still not back there and I wish I was. {Note to self :: hit the gym in 2016.} I still remember how great I would feel after a great workout. So whatever that looks like for you, the gym, DVD’s at home, mommy and me classes like Baby Boot Camp – DO IT! And don’t feel guilty. Those endorphins pay off big time at home. Or maybe you need time to read? Meditate? Do a devotional? Take time for you – physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Your family will so benefit. And for the love, make sure you take time to go to the bathroom. {Maybe TMI, but I had a horrible bout with my kidneys about 6 months into motherhood and let’s just say surgery with infants at home is zero fun.}

5} Remember Your Partner.

I get it. You are overwhelmed with the task of keeping another human being alive. That’s enough stress to make the bravest cower. But please, please don’t forget about the person who helped you on this journey. Clearly, there will have to be some give and take, because honestly, I was lucky if I got a shower – forget anything else {sex, cute clothes, shaving, ha!}. But once the fog clears, set aside intentional time for just you and your mate. Reconnect over a TV show. Plan a date night. Don’t have the means for a sitter? Do a date night in after the baby is in bed. Even if it’s just a simple meal that y’all cook together. I must say that my husband was MUCH better at reconnecting than I was. He was incredibly intentional about reaching out during the day, just texting or calling to see how we were faring. I was not great at this. I wish I would have told him more how much I appreciated everything he was doing. I wish I would have set aside a little more time for just him and me. We survived it, but I think I could have done a better job. He needed to feel more love, and it probably would have only taken me 10 minutes a day to show a little more of that.

All of that to say, we live and learn! I’ve managed to keep some pretty awesome kiddos alive for 5+ years. Wowzas. That is to be celebrated, too! But for those new mommas who are in the trenches right now, do me a favor please? Sit in that recliner and take a sweet sniff of your freshly bathed baby’s head. Hold their little hand in yours and marvel at the perfectly wonderful features. Pinch those chubby cheeks and thighs, okay? Life is good for us in the “kid zone” — but man, I sure do miss those baby moments. Enjoy it. Except the ones that involve copious amounts of poop, spit up, all-nighters, and the like. You can let those go.

Copyright Kendra Martin Photography

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Meagan is a Dallas native who has lived in the Katy area for over a decade. She kicked a soccer ball all the way to Louisiana to attend college at her family’s alma mater of LSU, where she promptly fell in love with a Texas Aggie in Baton Rouge for an internship. After swimming back to Texas following Hurricane Katrina, Matt and Meagan fell in love with the Houston area and now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Following several years of infertility, their miracle twins Ryan and Quinn were born in June of 2010. She believes there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, a large Sonic Diet Coke, sushi take-out, Girls Nights Out, and a mindless book to curl up with. Besides playing chauffeur and catering to the whims of her children, Meagan also is the Co-Owner of Houston Moms Blog. You can keep up with Meagan at The Clanahan Fam and on Instagram @meaganclanahan!

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