Sleeping in didn’t happen for me this morning… I got up to use the bathroom at around 6:30 (no surprise when you have someone tap dancing on your bladder) and I left Daddy and HootOwl and the Pug-dog asleep in bed. By the time I got back, they had all shifted and somehow (in our huge king-sized bed) there was no space for a mama. How is this possible? I always joke that as soon as Garrett falls asleep, he is like kudzu – he can somehow spread out to cover the entire space of any size of bed… apparently his daughter is a kudzu sleeper, too. LOL
I decided not to bother them and to trade my sleeping in for a few moments by myself to watch some trashy TV (Real Housewives, anyone?) and eat a little snack uninterrupted and alone. Being alone is one of motherhood’s great luxuries, you know. Mothers don’t even get to use the bathroom alone 98% of the time.
I have done a lot of reflecting on motherhood since becoming a mother, and I have done a lot of reflecting on motherhood publicly via this little old blog since I started it. So now, I sit here on my second Mother’s Day as a mother myself, the people who made me a mother sleeping down the hall way, feeling the newest member of my family bouncing around in my belly, and reflect a little more.
I went to a baby shower yesterday for my cousin, Erin, who is due to have a little boy on June 8th. He will be named Callen Daniel – and of all of the great-grandkids in our family, Mr. C will be the only boy, with five bossy girl cousins. He is gonna grow up tough. LOL Erin and her husband Dan have had a very long road to becoming parents, and after plenty of heartache and worry - and thanks to some help from modern medicine and a lot of prayers - Erin will also enjoying Mother’s day as a mother herself. This family is truly blessed to welcome this little guy.
It was a lovely baby shower and something that was especially neat about it is that all of the girls who were bridesmaids at Erin and Dan’s wedding were there, all six of us. And of the six, three of us are expecting new babies in the fall. Add Erin to that number and we had four pregnant ladies there, eating sandwiches and cake (oh my god, that cake was to die for) and talking about impending childbirth and motherhood and what was to come.
They are all on their first baby, and I have been in the trenches for 16 months now and I am by no means an expert at being a mom, but after talking to them, I got to thinking about what advice I would give a new mom. Like I said, I am no expert (not even close) but I know a couple of things for sure.
#1. Never say never. All of the things that you think you will never do with your kids (letting them watch TV, letting them sleep in your bed, feeding them XY and Z, whatever) are things you might discover are back on the table when you are faced with a situation first hand. Especially when babies are new, and you are just learning the ropes, you are in full on survival mode. And that is okay – do what works in the moment to get you all through the day. Tears will be shed and plans will be changed, and you will all be just fine.
#2. Tomorrow is a new day. You will undoubtedly have days where you feel like you have failed your children and/or your husband. You didn’t get this and that done, you don’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to give them all what they want or need, you became frustrated with one of them or another, you are wondering who that man you vaguely remember marrying is, you fed everyone a burnt dinner or a Happy Meal, you didn’t shower until 4pm, etc. It sucks. But, it is okay. Tomorrow is a new day – you get to wake up fresh and start over again. You have a new opportunity (every single day!) to be Supermom. And hell, if you don’t get it done tomorrow, this advice can be recycled.
#3. Ask for help and don’t worry if it isn’t always “amazing” and “beautiful”. Just call. I will come right over. J There is no shame in needing help or even just an ear to talk to and a person to say, “Yeah, you’re right, that sucks.” There are countless things that aren’t pretty or fun about being a mom. Sometimes you will cry right along with your baby (take it from the hormonal pregnant woman who has been walking through Teething Hell for the last two weeks – tears have been shed!) and that is okay. The hard parts are worth it. When you look at that little face, you will smile and you will forget the tears. Being a mom is hard, that that is okay to say out loud, because we all know that it doesn’t make you a bad mom to say so – it makes you human. It IS hard, but it is worth every minute when that little kid looks up at you and you remember that you are the only Mama they will ever have.
#4. Trust yourself. You can read all of the books in the world, you can read all of the internet advice (like this) that your brain can hold, and you will still not be ready for that tiny little person to turn your life upside down. You have to trust that you are that tiny little person’s mom, and you and only you know what is best for them. Do what feels right, and do it the best that you know how to. Babies are all different, families are all different. Take it one day at a time, do what comes naturally to you. You can do this – and you don’t have to rely on anyone else’s opinion. You are the mom, and you said so, that’s why! LOL
#5. It really does go by as fast as they say it does. For real. Take a lot of pictures. And soak it in. Stop and look and cuddle them and kiss them, because seriously, they will not be exactly like this tomorrow. Before you know it, everything is different, so learn to spend some time right in this moment with your little one, because it really does fly by. Also remember that when it is hard, and you have been up all night with a screaming baby for too many nights to count or you are cleaning up puke for the 15th time in 18 hours that (thank God) even the bad parts pass by quickly and tomorrow you will be on to new adventures. Also included in this is that while you may be looking at a week old baby and saying, “I don’t want you to get any bigger!” or at a new crawler or walker or talker or Pre-Calculus whiz and thinking that you don’t want this to pass because this stage is your favorite stage of their lives – try to remember that every day has something amazing in it. It only gets to be more fun as they grow (quickly) into little humans beings.
That is all I really “know” about being a mom.
Oh, and that “alone time” is never long lived. I hear the sound of little feet coming down the hall way. 45 minutes. Wow, a new record. I had better go kiss my girl and her dad and thank them for letting me be the mom.
Happy Mother’s Day again to everyone who has a part of their heart walking around on the outside of their bodies. It is an amazing ride, and today is our day. J