Big milestone alert: It’s my daughter’s first birthday. Yup. It’s hard to believe that 365 days ago I welcomed her into this crazy world. It’s even harder to believe that I’ve managed to get through it without killing someone or running for the hills.

We’ve gone from swaddles to sleepsuits, from newborn nappies to toddler nappy pants, from breast pumps to sippy cups. We’ve survived – barely – three months of colic, four rounds of vaccinations, eight episodes of teething and countless bumps to the head.

And we’ve got a year full of amazing memories to show for it.

365 days of broken sleep and baby milestones done and dusted

But today, my darling little girl celebrated her first birthday. She is ONE – EEEK! No longer a helpless little baby but a lean, mean, toddler machine. I am equal parts excited and terrified to watch her personality shine during the next stage of life.

most popular birth date Australian babies
Photo: olesiabilkei/Bigstock

But before I do, I’m going to sit back, pour myself a JUMBO glass of wine, ignore the mess from the cake smash earlier today and chill the eff out.

Why? Because my youngest baby is ONE. And I survived it!!!

So, cheers, to me on this momentous milestone. 

And cheers to all the other fellow mums who are celebrating their baby’s first birthday.

Sure, we survived the sleepless nights, the strict routines and the around-the-clock feeds, but that’s not all we should be toasting. Here are 10 other feats I reckon we should be extra proud of.

1. Not smothering our husbands as they sleep

Especially the extra-snorey husbands who snooze through ALL the night wakings and then wake up in the morning and say, “She slept pretty good last night, hey?”.

No, husband, she did NOT sleep pretty good. But YOU certainly did.

2. Teaching our babies how to sleep (not on us)

Sure, it may take daily bouncing, rocking and hushing, but heck, they do eventually go to sleep. Sometimes for more than 38 minutes at a time too…

3. Finding space in the house for ALL the baby crap 

Prams, high chairs, carriers, cots, change tables, bouncers, rockers, jumpers, playmats, play tents, soft toys, hard toys, bath toys, bed toys, and mountains of itty bitty baby clothes. Not to mention the troughs of first birthday presents…

Somehow we’ve successfully managed to cram an entire Babies ‘R Us into our child’s 3m x 3m nurseries. See, I knew playing hours and hours of Tetris as a kid would come in handy.

4. Mastering the fine art of multitasking

If it wasn’t for our babies we would never discover that, yes, it actually is possible to cook dinner, settle a baby, pay a bill and empty the dishwasher all at the same time. I’m adding this to my resume.

5. Cleaning up after a tiny human 10+ times a day and NOT going clinically insane

Pretty sure Einstein said that doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results IS the definition of insanity, but whatevs.

A baby + a bowl of pureed baby goo = mess². It’s the theory of baby mealtime.

6. Learning the very strange lyrics to 8 gazillion nursery rhymes 

Five Ducks, Five Monkeys, Five Speckled Frogs… Thanks a lot, Little Baby Bum for one full year of repeated nursery rhymes. Now, kindly leave my brain forever. And take Superpig with you.

7. Peeling (and chopping) 75 kg worth of grapes

Seriously, worst job ever. Why must infants like grapes so much!!

8. Expertly digging your finger into your child’s mouth to remove whatever they’ve just put in there

Well oh well, what do we have in here? A tiny LEGO head, a pen lid, a toilet brush cleaner, a piece of dog turd, a thumbtack, a penny! Seriously child, where did you even find a friggin’ penny? Did you travel back to 1899??!

9. Changing a squirming infant and NOT ending up with poo all over yourself

Most of the time, at least.

10. Accepting that babyhood is now officially over

Of all the things we mums should be extra proud of on baby’s first birthday, I reckon this one tops them all. This first year can take its toll on us. Physically, emotionally, mentally. But realising that it’s all over is just as hard.

Mum and baby turning one - baby's first birthday
Photo: Gritsivfoto/Bigstock

Our babies will never be helpless newborns again. They will never sprout their first tooth or take their first bath. They will never wear 0000, never need to be swaddled, never fit in a baby capsule again.

These little rituals that shaped our past year with our babies are now nothing but memories. And it takes a lot of strength to accept this, especially without ugly crying or wanting to time travel back and do it all over again.

One year down. 17 (or so) to go

So, to all the mums who watched their baby smash a cake, attempt to blow out the candles and open a truckload of first birthday presents, don’t forget to celebrate more than just your baby today.

Celebrate you. You successfully guided your babies from newborn to infancy to toddlerhood. And that’s something worth smashing a cake over. And eating it too. After you’ve cleaned up the mess from the floor.

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Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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