10 Things I Learned in April: The Parenting Edition

1 May

I can’t quite wrap my head around the reality that it’s been almost a month since our sweet Anders Knox joined the family.

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The past four weeks have been a blur of visitors, spit up, diapers, yoga pants, late night feedings, and sleep deprivation. It’s been the most challenging four weeks of my life, but it’s also been the most beautiful.

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Since April was entrenched in babyland, my monthly “10 things” isn’t going to be a very diverse list. I may not have showered today, but I’m seizing a quiet moment (Anders finally went down for a nap) to share 10 things I learned last month.

10 Things I Learned in April

1. Babies poop. A lot.
They warn you. The books tell you. But nothing can prepare you for the awe-inspiring amount of poop a tiny human being can produce. It’s baffling how much of my day is spent dealing with, assessing, smelling for, washing off, evaluating, logging, and transporting poop. Dairy Man and I are both black belt changers at this point.

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2. I can eat any meal in under 60 seconds.
Anders’ crankiest time of the day is typically between 5 and 10 p.m. That means DM and I stagger our dinners: one person consoles the baby while the other scarfs down their food. During the day I also have to eat breakfast and lunch with a baby in my arms or frantically while he’s napping. At this point I think I could win some sort of speed-eating competition.

3. I can do a lot of things with one hand.
Anders isn’t the best napper and DM is busy at work every day, so I spend a lot of time alone in the house with a baby in my arms. Thankfully I’ve gotten quite proficient at doing things with one hand. The list includes eating a bowl of cereal (though I did spill milk all over the table), loading the dishwasher, doing laundry, typing emails, and mopping baby vomit from the floor. If only onehandedness was a marketable job skill.

4. The human body can survive on minuscule amounts of sleep.
Anders needs to eat every 2-3 hours. Since I’m breastfeeding, this means that I never get more than three hours of sleep at a time. The fact that I’m still standing, speaking, and functioning is nothing short of a miracle.

5. Seeing my husband as a father is the most beautiful thing in the world. 
My heart wasn’t prepared for the gut-bursting joy I would feel in seeing DM as a father. He’s patient, gentle, and enamored with our little blue-eyed bundle of joy. My soul melts into my shoes when I see them together. I can’t wait to watch them grow closer and learn from each other.

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6. Sometimes just taking a shower is an inconceivable accomplishment.
I feel like I’m really kicking life’s butt if I manage to take a shower every day. I never thought something so small would puff me up with such a sense of pride. If I’m really feeling crazy, I might even wear makeup.

7. Flexibility is the new norm.
I’ve grown in flexibility ever since marrying a dairy farmer. My plans and schedules often fall victim to a broken tractor or escaped bovine. But I can already tell that parenthood is going to require an unprecedented amount of flexibility. My schedule, my sleep, my favorite shirts, my furniture, my chores, my sanity, and my relationships are already outside of my control. This leaves me with two choices: become completely unhinged or let it all go. Since I don’t want to take a trip to crazytown, I need to learn to let go. I need to be ok with being late. I need to ask for help. I need to accept failure. I need to put everything I do into the hands of my Creator.

8. I have the best family and friends in the world.
There’s nothing like having a baby to make you feel loved. I’m ridiculously grateful for the people who have held Anders while I napped, changed diapers, cleaned our house, given advice, brought dinners, walked Jersey, sent encouraging messages, delivered chocolate milkshakes, and tolerated a steady stream of adorable baby photos on Facebook. DM and I couldn’t have made it through April without this support. We are so blessed by our tribe. I’m also so grateful for the love I’ve received from YOU, our online community. Your sweet messages and comments are so appreciated!

9. Parenting is the most frustrating, fulfilling, exhausting, amazing thing I’ve ever done.
Dairy Man and I wake up each morning as different parents to a different child. We learn more about this strange creature every day and he learns about us. We have good days and bad days. We’ve had triumphant parenting moments and moments that make us want to curl into a ball and weep uncontrollably. Like most new parents, we’ve done a lot of things wrong. But we’re learning. We’re trying to be patient with ourselves and each other. We rejoice in our small victories and live to parent another day. This life is beautiful and we are so in love with this child.

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10. Babies don’t really appreciate new machinery.
Despite DM’s best efforts, our youngest farmhand isn’t quite ready to report for duty. But we have complete confidence that he will one day appreciate the excitement of a brand new loader.

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26 Responses to “10 Things I Learned in April: The Parenting Edition”

  1. shesdairymade 05/01/2014 at 9:36 am #

    Oh, how the things you’ve learned take me back (and here I am…going to be doing it all over again in November). 🙂 Congratulations again on your little bundle of joy. He’s adorable! Live in the moment the best you can now. It goes by so fast. And, I thought I would never, ever sleep again. Miracle of miracles, I do. haha!

  2. Amber 05/01/2014 at 10:07 am #

    To me, one years olds are much, much easier than one month olds. Hang in there, you are doing great.

  3. Katie 05/01/2014 at 10:13 am #

    Love this! Just had our first baby last July! A new baby is certainly a major adjustment for your life, let alone having a new baby with my husband working 60-? hours on his family’s dairy farm(in Michigan too!), so I can totally relate to you… especially to the crazy lack of sleep/ “what day is it” feeling…. Just thought I’d let you know it gets MUCH easier and a whole lot of fun as they get older! Congrats and enjoy your adorable bundle of joy! =)

    • the Modern Farm Wife 05/19/2014 at 10:04 am #

      Congrats on your babe last summer! I’m sure it was a crazy time to have a newborn around. It’s nice to know that others understand what it’s like to be a new mom AND a farmer’s wife. 🙂

  4. Darlene Beadle 05/01/2014 at 10:53 am #

    You are awesome!

  5. Razel Jones 05/01/2014 at 12:12 pm #

    Awesome. Happy for you all!

  6. Heidi 05/01/2014 at 12:13 pm #

    My daughter just turned one in April. Thinking back to last year, and I’m pretty sure I learned the exact same things last April… and I’m still learning now!

  7. Jane 05/01/2014 at 1:45 pm #

    Here I am on the grandma side…this is the EASY part! I love reading your blog, it brings back memories that I now smile at and cherish all over again. I need a new grandbaby but the ADULTS aren’t ready yet, lol!

    • the Modern Farm Wife 05/19/2014 at 10:06 am #

      Those silly adults. My mother was MORE than ready for a grandbaby too. They’ll get there! 😉

  8. holly 05/01/2014 at 4:55 pm #

    What a wonderful update, Jessica! I really enjoyed all of the experienced you shared. One note about “poop.” When you have a baby that can’t poop, you’ll really appreciate the one that did….so freely!! 🙂

    • the Modern Farm Wife 05/19/2014 at 10:07 am #

      Very true, Holly! Anders gets a lot of praise every time he has a good, healthy poop. Oh the things we get excited about as parents…

  9. Fiona Lowe 05/02/2014 at 1:04 am #

    Been there, done that and got the T-shirt and two wonderful, almost grown boys! I have many strong memories of those early days and I remember saying to my husband, “You know, I always thought I would be cutting up food for the kid but not that you would have to cut up my food so I can eat it one-handed.” 😉 As for dirty nappies/diapers…you’re dairy farmers, you know all about manure! 😉 ENJOY It all. It goes fast. really. it does.

    • the Modern Farm Wife 05/19/2014 at 10:07 am #

      It’s already flying by, Fiona! It’s crazy how much he’s grown in the last six weeks. I’m trying to savor every moment. 🙂

  10. Ashley 05/02/2014 at 4:35 am #

    Great summary! I started reading your blog many months ago when I too found out I was pregnant. My husband and I just welcomed our son Brock on April 11th and your post completely hit the nail on the head. You’re doing a great job and just remember, it will get easier!! Congratulations on you’re little dude, he is adorable 🙂

    • the Modern Farm Wife 05/19/2014 at 10:09 am #

      Thanks, Ashley! And congrats on your little boy! My due date was actually April 11, but this kid decided to come a little early. 🙂 Best wishes as you too figure out this motherhood thing!

  11. samanthajo14 05/02/2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Such a great post Jessica. You inspire me so much with how patient and calm you seem through this all. I really am inspired by number 7. Keep the cute baby pictures coming 🙂

    • the Modern Farm Wife 05/19/2014 at 10:10 am #

      I’m glad I come across as patient and calm, Samantha, but I definitely have my moments where I’m not! I think marrying a dairy farmer inevitably helps me be more flexible. 🙂 You can’t control a baby any more than you can control a farmer during planting season. Thanks for your comment!

  12. Abby Bryngelson 05/23/2014 at 7:48 pm #

    I am SO happy I came across this blog, I’m a lot like you. I grew up in the suburbs and what do you know, I’m marrying a farmer and expecting a baby. I don’t even know how to cope with it all! I’m so used to a 9-5 job and having quality family time. This farm life is so difficult to adjust too and I’m so glad I found you!!! Not many people understand!

    • the Modern Farm Wife 06/17/2014 at 4:38 pm #

      I find this community of other farm wives to be SO helpful. Because, you’re right, not many people understand! It’s taken my parents years to start to grasp what farm life really means. God bless with your upcoming marriage and babe!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] because he was a baby. I loved him because he was my baby. This love was instinctual, carnal. In those first few weeks of sleep deprivation, diaper explosions, and constant fear of doing things wrong, this love […]

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