Here are some of my truths about motherhood. In recognition that there are many different truths for everyone and every situation, I know these are not true for all, or even many mothers. These are uniquely my own experience of mothering my wonderful, beautiful little daughter, who is uniquely her own baby self.
1. I have not slept more than 3 hours in a row, without waking up even just a little bit, since Z was born. Actually, I was up frequently at the end of the pregnancy, so even longer than that. I know there are a lot of sleep strategies out there, but I am following my babe’s lead in timing and readiness, and the methods I have tried so far weren’t a good fit for us. Like everything, it’s just a matter of time.
2. I expected some stretch marks, but not lines on my forearms from carrying my increasingly heavy tot around. It’s amazing how much physical strength and energy it takes to be with just watch a little being that can and will walk, climb, push, pull, eat and fall all over everything in less than 5 minutes.
3. When my little monster is sick with a cold (like she is now), you can expect that I am covered in boogers. Yes, it’s revolting – and there’s nothing I can do about it. If the thought of snot is too much for you, you may want to keep your distance from the both of us.
4. I had no idea how much I would worry about my spawn. When she’s ill, hurt or in danger, I cannot possibly explain how much I am thinking about her and hoping that everything’s okay. Even a little cough makes my stomache turn when I can’t see her while she naps.
5. I don’t miss going out a whole lot. We’ll take the babe out with us for a meal or a drink, but we haven’t gone out without her more than a few times since she was born over a year ago. I love my baby and I like to spend time with her. And it’s pretty cozy to spend an evening tucked at home with a great excuse – you know… baby stuff.
6. Mom-brain is an entirely different viewpoint from ECE-brain (or preschool-teacher-brain). Of course I believe the ECE side of myself helps to develop a positive mom-brain, but I often have conflicting suggestions for interpreting and responding to my child. There is the ECE-brain that sees life in the ideal world, full of questions, answers and possibilities. And then there is the mom-brain, that knows our day does have to include certain tasks and that we are also responsible for cooking, feeding, cleaning, maintaining, and being on time. I try to keep a balance of listening to these two mind frames when making choices throughout the day.
7. The desire to lock your offspring away from influence of a lot of different people and scenarios as they grow may be great, but apparently that’s child abuse. I try to remember instead that “it takes a village to raise a child” and there are a lot of ways having different caregivers and companions will enrich her in ways I am not.
8. My wardrobe has changed considerably ever since our babe was growing inside me. There was fit – first to accomodate a massively growing belly in pregancy, then all the post-pregnancy body changes – and then there was a new sense of wanting to dress the part of a mother. Whatever that means. Less flirty, more “wholesome” I suppose. Oh, and of course the consideration of clothing one can easily and comfortably nurse a baby in. I choose clothing with a whole new perspective now.
9. I knew having a kid in the house would mean accepting some changes. I did not expect these changes to be teeth-marks gnawed into the table, that our guitars would have to be completely hidden from sight, or that most of our furniture that was “totally safe” was actually full of opportunities to slice, chop, impale, pound and maim when looked at closely or considered from an angle only a tiny, curious youngster can somehow always find and yet (almost) always narrowly avoid tragedy.
10. I wake up everyday and am over the moon with joy to see my little love’s smiling face. Even in the early mornings, I’m excited to wake up and snuggle with her. Excited to get to spend my day with her. I feel so blessed to experience this busy, happy, challenging role of mama with my very own unique and amazing child. I try to remember this when the sh*t hits the fan – figuratively or literally, depending on the day.