This Mother’s Day is especially meaningful to me – its the first Mother’s Day in which I am actually a momma. Before I summarize what the first 6 months of motherhood has been like for me, I want to give a shout out to my mother. Mostly I want to thank her for being my biggest fan and largest supporter. I would not be who I am today without her. As I take this new journey into motherhood she has been along my side the entire way.
My mom has eagerly awaited to be a grandmother ever since my husband and I married. To her disappointment we waited to expand our family for a while, 7 years after our marriage to be exact. For the first several years after our marriage we lived in New York City and focused on our careers and tried to travel frequently, both of which we did not feel we could do once we brought a child into the world. For several years the topic of children came up, but neither of us were every ready at the same time. I have to admit I was scared and selfish. I was afraid of what I would have to give up once a child was born.
Is there ever a perfect time? The answer is No. I had always dreamed of having several kiddos, but when it came down to starting this journey I was never ready. After moving to the slightly slower paced city of Atlanta and realizing my biological clock was not getting any younger I finally gave the green light – I was ready to start trying for a family.
A few months and a miscarriage later I was pregnant. To be honest I had always dreaded pregnancy due to the uncertainty of how I would feel, but I was pleasantly surprised. When I look back at my pregnancy, I think of it has one the absolute best times of my life. The excitement and preparation for the new family member growing inside you leaves a constant warm and fuzzy feeling. My approach to nesting during my pregnancy was to travel. Throughout the summer months of pregnancy I was going somewhere almost every weekend – from New York to the beach.
The past six months have been a journey – learning how to raise a newborn, balance my time, and still enjoy some of my favorite pastimes. For those that know me well they would never describe me as sappy, well I am about to be sappy. The journey has been absolutely AMAZING.
My exposure to newborns was minimal before the birth of Max and thus didn’t have a specific set of expectations for him. After a few months into the parent thing I quickly realized how exciting it was to watch my child grow and hit developmental milestones. On some evenings and afternoons we sit around and just watch him swat at toys or roll around on his playmat. This viewing may go on for hours, but it never gets boring. It’s certainly a different way of life compared to our “pre-child” ways, but I would never give it up for anything. A few exciting milestone’s we have reached thus far are: trying solids (at 4 months), sleeping through the night (between 5 and 6 months), rolling over (between 2-3 months), and sitting up (6 months). We eagerly await some upcoming milestones like crawling (and I think we are getting close) and walking (this mama is not ready for that one).
Can I saw that I have figured out the time management thing? Absolutely not! The first few months after Max’s arrival I was in survival mode, focusing on taking care of him. At times it felt like the whole day was centered around feeding and changing diapers – thats it. Once we were able to get him on a schedule I better understood where my time was going and tried to plan accordingly. Because I work a “day job” my time to do errands and chores is quite limited. Many of my grocery store trips are squeezed between other activities and I feel like a contestant on the game show Supermarket Sweep.
I am still trying to figure out how to supply my family with healthy (and delicious) meals with a busy schedule. We are fortunate that our school provides homemade take home dinners from the school chef (they are absolutely delicious). But I have also learned the importance of meal prep and cooking meals in advance such as Zucchini Noodle Chicken Parmesan Casserole or Chicken Spaghetti Squash Bake. We also enjoy simple throw together meals such as salads with grilled chicken.
My priorities have changed. In my current world the two best times of the day are either bright and early in the morning when I get to wake up my baby boy and the moment I can leave work to go pick him up. Many mornings I am greeted with a charming grin once he sees my face. Now I understand that everything needs to be done for him before I get to myself. That can be a lot of work, especially things that can only be done by me like nursing or pumping for him. There have been so many days and nights when my first instinct is to skip out on pumping, but I remind myself of the health benefits and pump on.
One of the largest challenges for me as a parent was learning not to get frustrated when my child wouldn’t sleep through the night. I let Facebook and other parents’ stories overwhelm me when they would mention how their child was sleeping through the night as early as ten to twelve weeks. I didn’t understand why my child was still waking up one to two times per night when we were following all the books suggestions of putting him on a schedule. We even got close to making it through the whole night a few times and then would have setbacks and go back to several wakings per night. Once I was able to accept these feedings and expect them the whole idea was less stressful and they weren’t so dreaded after all (ok well most nights).
Motherhood is more than I ever expected. I am thankful to be given the opportunity to be a mom. I am thankful to my mother for teaching me how to love and nourish a child. I can’t wait to see what else parenthood has to offer.