8 Life Lessons I Learned From My 8-Month-Old

by - September 03, 2018

I wake up each morning to soft coos, light cries, or abrupt screams, depending on my baby Olive's mood of course. I lay in bed for a moment with my eyes closed and indulge in the darkness of my eyelids and feeling of the soft pillow beneath my head. As parents, our busy and often chaotic life leads to a reflective appreciation for these small moments that have become luxuries. We all have to find the balance between motherhood, work, friends, and family. I'm never quite ready to get out of bed and take on what the day ahead entails until I peek over at Olive's crib and see her gap-toothed grin staring back at me. Her precious face and genuine excitement about life lights my heart on fire and motivates me each day.

life lessons from baby

This candid bliss Olive has towards the simplest joys makes me stop and wonder why adults can't see the world more like their children. Adulting is hard and finding the same joy, positivity, and excitement about life seems harder as you grow up and take on more and more responsibilities. We're often so occupied looking for meaning in life that we forget the very essence of life is meant to be celebrated. It's life after all! Folded between our busy schedules, stresses, and self-doubt hides the same zest our babies have for life. Since becoming a parent I've learned it's often the simple things that mean the most, like a good laugh, a day spent outdoors or that first sip of coffee in the morning. I knew having a baby would drastically change my life, but what I never knew was just how much I would learn about life from my baby. I hope you enjoy and can relate to these 8 life lessons I learned from my 8-month-old.

All Moms know the dreaded missed nap fits. If my baby girl misses her nap or fights to take a nap she is a little terror the rest of the day. Depending on their age, babies need anywhere from 10-17 hours of sleep per day. It wasn't until becoming a Mom that I really appreciated sleep. I use to take sleeping in for granted and I rarely ever napped. For the first 6 months it was seldom I got a good nights sleep and let's be honest, most of us don't "sleep when the baby sleeps." We use this time to wash the sink full of dishes, catch up on laundry, work, or write this article. Really though, naps are important, especially for us parents who are missing approximately 6 months of sleep in our first two years of parenthood. According to the sleep foundation, a short nap of just 20-30 minutes can help improve mood, alertness, and performance. Three things we desperately need as parents. A Siesta, the Spanish tradition of an afternoon nap, or riposo as Italians call it dates back for thousands of years. In China, a nap is considered a constitutional right. So, when my baby sleeps and I actually have the opportunity to sleep as well a good nap is essential. 

Literally and figuratively, shit happens when we least expect it and as mamas, we have to learn to roll with the punches. When do baby blowouts seem to happen? When you just got them dressed and in the car seat to leave the house? Check. When you're out to dinner? Check. During bathtime? Check. While wearing their new dress from grandma? Check. They happen anyplace anytime and usually when we wish they wouldn't. What do we do? We deal with it! Usually, while semi laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. In life, it's easy to get upset and overwhelmed when shit happens at home, work or with our friends and family. My baby has taught me to be ready to handle any shit life throws at me, even if I'm not prepared for it. Even more, to remember to step back, relax, and embrace that most things in life are unexpected and sometimes shitty.

Babies cry over just about anything. That's how they communicate. Hungry? Tired? Grumpy? Fussy? Bored? Whether they dropped a toy or are anticipating their next meal they let us know with a cry. As moms, we have a lot of responsibilities and often neglect our own needs. When we're having a hard day or feeling emotional it's easy to convince ourselves that we're the only one feeling this way. We convince ourselves that we need to get over it and act like the "perfect mom" we think we should be. Being a mom is incredible but it can also be emotional and tiring. So it's ok to have a bad day, to question yourself, to feel down. Go ahead, feel sorry for yourself, overreact, stomp, cry, call your mom and complain, drink a glass of wine or three.

Babies grow quickly! That means they get new outfits every month. As Moms, we're always making sure our babies have what they need and usually let ourselves walk around needing a haircut wearing the same leggings we wore when we were pregnant. If you're like me and find yourself envious of your babies wardrobe do yourself a favor and treat yourself at least once a month! Whether that's buying a new pair of shoes, getting a massage, painting your nails, or taking yourself on a coffee date. Moms deserve a little something special every once in a while.

What do we do when our babies reach a new milestone like smiling, rolling over, sitting up, or eating solids? We praise them with the utmost genuine excitement. We make sure they know how proud we are of them, and we should do the same for ourselves. When we accomplish anything from major life goals to finally getting a work out in, we should be proud of ourselves. We should celebrate our successes and stop putting ourselves down for not accomplishing it all. Hell, I feel like a boss if I check a few things off my to-do list in a week. I've learned even trivial successes are worth a pat on the back because we're moms, we're multitaskers, and we should be proud of ourselves.

It's easy to get caught up with our busy lives and not fully enjoy the present. Life coupled with being a mom is hard work and we're usually always thinking about what we need to do next. Seeing life through my babies eyes is one of the most incredible aspects of motherhood. Watching her take in the world around her with genuine joy and excitement has made me learn to appreciate each day, each activity, and focus more on enjoying the present. 

Everything Olive does is a learning experience. I watch Olive attempt new challenges and figure out the world around her every day. She learns by making mistakes. Mistakes don't upset her, rather they show her the way to achieve her baby goals. As adults, it's easy to get down on ourselves for not accomplishing goals or being where we think we should be in a given period of our life. We may even question the decisions we have made. Babies innately realize that life is meant to be lived by trying things, failing, making mistakes, learning from those mistakes and eventually succeeding. Just like babies, we can learn from our mistakes which often leads us to where we're meant to be.

When Olive plays she is guided by whatever peaks her interest at the moment. I may try to hand her a toy or read her a book but she prefers to do things her own way. She will wiggle out of my arms or reach for a different toy. Not with disobedience, but with a sense of exploration. She prefers to explore her surroundings the way she wants. I love that babies are determined to pursue what their little hearts desire. As adults, our life choices are often influenced by what we think is the safest choice or even what others suggest is best for us. We would all benefit from taking a page out of the baby handbook and going after what excites us and peaks our interest in career and hobby alike.

What have you learned from your baby? Has becoming a mother changed the way you look at the world? Share with me in the comments ❤️


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