Every year on my birthday, I spend some time reflecting on the last year and assessing key takeaways from what it’s brought me. I’m turning 33 today, so it’s that time again! Read my updates from 31 here and 32 here.
When I turned 32 last July, I was still pregnant with Amalia and had no idea what the next year would look like, even though I thought I did. It has been the most joyous and challenging year of my life, and I have certainly learned more than ever.
I learned many many many little things like how to properly change a diaper, how to make delicious baby food purées, and how to prevent gas in babies and bigger things like how to create coping skills for anxiety and how to get Amalia to sleep through the night.
So without further ado, here are the three biggest lessons that I’ve walked away with this year and my dreams for the year to come. Thirty three, I have a feeling you’re going to be great. I can’t wait to see what you bring!
1. You’re Stronger Than You Think
It’s amazing what you can do on days in a row of two-hour stretches of sleep and a crazy amount of hormones swirling through your healing post-partum body. In the first month of Amalia’s life and during her labor, I learned how I was able to push through exhaustion, emotion, and physical pain in a way that I wouldn’t have even thought possible before. I look back on that time proudly now, and even though I’m not quite ready to do it all over again, I know that I can and that feels good.
2. Everything is a phase
People say this a lot when it comes to parenting because it’s true, but it also applies to other areas of life. As my six year wedding anniversary approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about my marriage and how it has evolved over the years. We’ve gone through ups and downs, highs and lows, and like with parenthood, there have been a lot of phases. The honeymoon phase faded quickly, but the other phases, for me at least, have been even better. I can’t wait to write my anniversary post this year! Stay tuned in September.
That said, it really does apply to children in a big way. Whether it’s teething or refusing to eat anything besides blueberries (that one lasted for a whole week!) or having a stage 5 clinger, everything is a phase and I can now see that whenever a new one starts. That took a while to figure out, but it takes a whole lot of stress out of parenting when you accept this fact, trust me!
3. You can’t fill from an empty cup
I’ve always been a hard worker, and when I quit my full time job to blog full time, I felt like a major slacker, so I would spend every waking hour working even though I had quit my job so that 40 hours a week would be realistic. When I had a baby, that became completely unrealistic for a while, but I would spend all of my time while Amalia would nap doing work either on my blog or Anel’s business which has quickly become like another full time job.
But then my anxiety started to spike and I started to burn out. I tried to make sure to take time for myself, even though it induced mom guilt in a big way. It still does sometimes, but I’ve learned that when I’m stressed or overworked or exhausted, I’m not as good of a mom and wife and sister and friends as I am if I take breaks throughout my week.
So even though it sometimes feels selfish, I’ve learned to take care of myself so that I can better take care of everyone else in my life. The number one way that I’ve done that is through therapy which I feel like I talk about way too often, but I do so in hopes that anyone considering it will jump on board. Working through emotional issues can change every single aspect of your life in a beautiful and positive way.
My hopes and dreams for 33
Anel and I have been hyper-focused on raising Amalia and getting his new fitness studio off the ground, so I haven’t put a whole lot of thought into my own goals lately. But as I sit here to write this and think about what I want by next July, the main thing is a cheesy mom answer which is for my baby to continue to grow up happily, healthy, and safely.
I hope to continue to watch her look at the world with her big, curious eyes and soak it all in. And I hope to be as present as possible when I’m with her, relishing each day, each phase, and each and every smile.
That should be a given however, so my next answer is thinking about possibly growing our family. We’ve talked about it at length, and although we want to spend a little more time enjoying Amalia on her own, we do want two kids close(ish) in age so it’s definitely something on the horizon. How soon that will be? I’m not sure yet, but if it happens in the next year, I would be happy!
Work-wise, I hope to continue to create content that is helpful and sometimes inspirational for you guys. I hope to get a little more organized with some blog series and push myself to write about important topics.
Photos by Julia Dags.