By Sarah Netter
Emily Frame was a multi-tasking maven. Whether working as a technical writer, editing a local fashion magazine or running a market featuring handmade items, she was always on the go.
She thrived on a high-octane lifestyle, constantly on the lookout for a new project. Then she became a mom and got a crash course in taking life one moment at a time. It was a complete 180 that she is profoundly grateful for.
Now a mom to three boys—Hayes, 6; Callum, 5; and baby Raleigh—Frame is multi-tasking in a whole new way. Between juggling school projects and trips to the museum, she is a writer for the children’s lifestyle blog Small Fry.
At Small Fry, Frame muses on things like her go-to food fuel for herself and the kids, bedroom makeovers, spring break projects and travel tips. She’s still on the lookout for a new project, but she’s a mom first.
Here’s what this Utah mom learned from her first baby:
Who were you when you got pregnant?
I was 24 years old. I had just graduated college. I was a workhorse. I was in school full time. I had a full-time job. On the side, I was doing a ton of styling. I ran a handmade market. I was all over the place. I have this real desire to have a creative outlet, and so I had a lot of these outlets going when I was 24.
Did having a baby make you feel like an adult?
My husband and I, we got married really young because we were high school sweethearts, and so we waited about five years before we had any kids. We were really used to just playing hard, working hard, doing what we wanted when we wanted to do it. And so that was a huge shock for me as a mom, to go from doing that, kind of changing gears and really focusing on a little baby. It’s a completely different speed and pace.
I guess the biggest shock moment—where I felt like the weight of taking care of another person—was after I had Hayes. He had jaundice.
His levels actually got so high that he had to be in a bed, and he almost had to be re-admitted to the hospital.
I’ll never forget the pediatrician. We brought [Hayes] in to get him tested, and the pediatrician had this really stern look on his face.
That was a huge moment for me. I felt the weight of being a mother and really wanting to protect him and do the best job that I possibly could.
What surprised you the most about having a baby?
I went from a really high-paced life to these very slow, sweet moments with my son. And I didn’t expect it to be so quiet. My biggest adjustment was really learning to value those little things instead of having to be at this high pace all the time.
What did you learn about yourself?
I think every mom learns this: You just aren’t as patient as you thought you’d be. Being a mom is such a mirror to your weaknesses. Like a microscope, it magnifies them. I learned really quickly under that microscope what I needed to do to become the mom I had envisioned for myself.
Describe your lowest point.
For sure that bilirubin test. When we came out of the hospital, Hayes was in a middle range. And then because we weren’t very diligent with that bed, [his bilirubin levels] rose—he kind of skyrocketed. That was my lowest point.
We just felt the weight of it and the guilt of it and the shame of not being better or not knowing more. He’s totally fine [now], but just having that brush with … we might have lost him. That was terrifying.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
It really goes by so fast. It’s such a cliché but it does. It’s gone in the blink of an eye. You’re wanting them to crawl and you’re wanting them to walk and you’re wanting them to get a tooth. I anticipated those milestones way too much.
Now I have a first grader! I guess I would really tell myself to forget about those things and just enjoy them for where they are.
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Sarah Netter is a Yahoo Storyteller. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and ABC News.