"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. The mother is something absolutely new" - Rajneesh
Becoming a mother is exhilarating, scary, amazing, and hair pulling crazy. I've played house since I first understood free play and I played it for years. I couldn't wait to have a family of my own, a baby to hold, soccer games to attend, nails to paint, boo boos to be kissed, and cuddles to be had. There's lots of surprises that comes with having a child, body fluid where? How do I...? Is this enough? Did that really just happen? Nothing will surprise you as much as the changes in yourself and lifestyle and the surprises you find about yourself. Here are a few of the many surprises for me.
- I’m much more laid back than I had expected to be
When I pictured myself as a mother, I figured I’d be neurotic and worry about every little detail. My mother was like that- over protective and worried. It drove me bat $#@! Crazy. It still does because she’s still like that. I didn’t want to be like that, but I thought like mother like daughter right? Wrong! Yes, of course I worry about Ellie, the first few months I was a total worry wart. Now, of course I want to protect her from bad life experiences and I’m detail oriented about her, but not to the extremes. I want to teach her to be resilient, strong, that it’s OK to have emotions and show them. When she falls or gets a black eye (she’s had more than one) I don’t rush over to her right away, I let her decide how bad it is. I put on a strong face when it scares me so I don’t scare her. I'm not completely laid back, but I'm not as crazy strict about every detail either. I've found a nice medium that works for us.
-The value of personal time
The loss of personal/alone time nearly vanishes when you become a mother. It’s one thing I tell expectant mothers to relish in with their last impending months. Sometimes, the only time I’m alone is when using the restroom at work (and no one is in the next stall) and my late night shower. That’s it! Even then I’m still doing “business”. Sometimes, when I have days off, I’ll still take Ellie to daycare for a few hours to keep her in her routine and to get some time for myself. I’ll give myself a pedicure, do house chores that are hard to accomplish with a toddler around, run errands, etc. I love the time I have with her and I really do live in the moment and shower her with attention and affection, but sometimes... it's nice to watch an entire episode of Downton Abbey by myself. In bed. With a bag of hot Cheetos.
-Setting an Example
Even though Ellie is small and doesn’t understand everything we do as her parents, I’m always aware of the example I’m setting for her. To dress appropriately in respect to myself and my husband, to attend church, not to cuss, to be honest/kind/generous/loving, the list goes on and on. I told Matt one day that I wanted to start working out and he was excited for me, and I had to explain that I didn’t actually want to work out. Huh? I wanted to work out to set the example for Ellie to take care of herself and to treat her body well (I’m still working on this as I have worked out 0 times since giving birth). This battle is only going to get harder as she's more aware of my actions and how much of an influence I become to her.
Becoming a parent surprises you, whether or not you think or expect it to. It's not easy and and there's no right or wrong way to do it. Every child is different so what works for one may not work for the other. I pour over parenting books and articles, I talk to tons of parents I admire and I'm always trying to remember and incorporate things I've learned into our everyday life. I love being a mom and the curve balls and surprises it throws at me.
What are some surprises becoming a parent have you had?