Hey Mama, if you’re here reading this now, it probably means that your little one has recently found their groove. Congrats! That groove is everything.
Maybe they are just starting to roll over or perhaps beginning to crawl (or doing any of the strange scoots, hops, and bops that they do in between). No matter what new tricks they are learning, meeting any new milestone is always exciting!
However, if you’re anything like me, then the excitement that comes with baby’s newfound freedom also comes with a side of anxiety, to go.
Don’t get me wrong; I was more than thrilled when my baby rolled over for the first time. After all, it was me that laid on the floor with him during tummy time, cheering on any little movement. But I was now confronted with the new reality that he could roll off of whatever surface he was on. And excited doesn’t even begin to express how I felt the first time I saw him crawl without his belly touching the floor. But then I had to worry about what was on the floor! And watching him pull up to stand tall has brought so much pride, but it’s also brought me to new heights of worry and concern.
So, as I watch my son teeter on two feet, I realize that I, myself, am teetering between celebration and concern. Let’s be honest, it is mostly a concern at the moment.
Being caught between two conflicting feelings is no way to live, and fearing the new and unknown is not an example I want to set for my son. So, aside from baby-proofing my house to the extreme, what do I do about it? The simple answer is that I do what I can.
And I know I can’t be the only mama out there feeling pride while erring on the side of caution. So, I’m sharing four baby steps I’m taking to calm my nerves as my little one continues to take big steps of his own.
1) Create safe places and think like a baby
So, you’ve baby-proofed your home, you invested in a highly rated pack-n-play, and cushioned the floors with foam. You feel good and look around the world’s safest room with a smile, but as you turn around you see the baby has his hands on an unidentified object heading straight to his mouth. Oh no!
It’s ok. I’ve been there, feeling defeated, thinking, “I’ve checked all the boxes. What more can I do?” The answer was I had to think like a baby! And how did I do that? I went around our home’s baby-proofed places on all fours and looked at the environment from my baby’s perspective.
For example, I know that if he is in his pack-n-play, then he can’t crawl out. But what can he pull in? Turns out there were some no-no items in reach, but thanks to my new perspective I found out before my baby did!
2) Create a cleaning routine based on your baby’s milestones
Before having a child, I had a cleaning routine for my home that worked for me. I can’t say that things were spotless before the baby, but that was okay. It was okay because there was no baby. Now there is one and he is reaching for everything in sight and mouthing anything in reach. Now things are different and they keep changing every day. That means that my cleaning routine changes every day.
I know it doesn’t seem much like a routine if it’s constantly changing, but it’s more about creating the habit than doing the actual tasks.
So, for example, if you notice baby is starting to roll over, try honing your organizational skills in re-arranging your diapering station. Keep the space functional, but stay fluid and attentive to your baby’s changing needs.
3) Don’t forget to celebrate each milestone!
I know how hard you and your little one worked on tummy time. I know how long you’ve sat there with open arms, calling them to crawl your way. And I know how much your back hurts because you’ve been bending over to hold their little hands while they stumble over little feet.
But I also know how exhilarating it can be for them to get their bearings, and you, mama, get to be right there holding their hands along the way. And that is absolutely something to celebrate!
4) Know that accidents happen
So you baby-proofed, you created safe spaces, you got on all fours and looked around from the baby’s POV. Then you cleaned, organized, rearranged, and cleaned again, but somehow baby still took a tumble.
This is what my husband and I call ‘Murphy’s Law of Babies’, because, despite our best efforts, it seems if it can go wrong it will.
I know it hurts (I know it probably hurts you more than it does them), but what you’ve got to know is that accidents happen and sometimes our little ones get hurt. It’s not your fault. It’s just really, really, really, hard to keep another human alive, and well, and 100% free from bumps and bruises 24/7.
So, know that you’ve done all you can do. And know that you’re a good mom because you care. And in celebration of your little one, let go of the mom guilt, ease your mind of the worry, embrace the change, and get grooving with your little one! Because, as they say, they won’t stay little for long.