I am hopping on Kelly's idea for a post tonight, because it interests me and I thought it might interest you too. Since I became a Mommy, I feel like I live in a whole new universe. There are many things that are just like I thought they would be, but there are so many other things that are totally different. Some things have come easy and some things have not. But, for better or for worse, they are what motherhood is all about. So, now that I have almost 5 months of mommyhood under my belt, here is a list of what has been challenging to me and what has been a breeze...
Things That Have Been Easier Than I Thought:
-Childbirth. Yes, I said it. It was much easier than I ever thought it would be. I totally remember thinking, I can't wait to do this again while I was in labor. The whole thing just amazed me and was nothing like I thought it was going to be. Granted, I chose an epidural, for which I will always be thankful!
-My physical recovery. Again, I think I prepared myself for a much harder time, so I have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly I recovered and how minimal any pain was.
-Being a Mommy. I honestly know God created me to be a Mom! I have had motherly instincts just oozing out of me since junior high :) It is very fulfilling for me to take care of Ava. She brings me such joy, my heart is often overflowing with gratitude.
-Taking her places and getting out of the house. This is when my experience as a nanny has come in handy. I have never been fearful of taking her out or overwhelmed at all the work! I know it's good for both of us, so we have been active from the very beginning. I love exploring the world through her eyes. There are so many things I can't wait to do with her!
-Staying at home. I LOVE to be at home and I LOVE spending so much time with Ava. It has been a wonderful gift to have the freedom to spend our days together at home and to be able to set our own schedule. I will still work here and there with my wedding business and I'll do a little nannying, but nothing like I've done in the past and for that I'm extremely grateful. After so many years of taking care of other people's kids, I am so happy to be taking care of my own :)
-Getting her in a routine. I almost don't want to say this, for fear or jinxing it :) but she has responded so well to my schedule for her. She naps well, sleeps well, eats well...honestly, she's been a really great baby. We had our difficult days in those early weeks, but ever since she was 6-7 weeks old, she has been so much easier. I do constantly draw on my experience with other babies and try to remember what worked for each of them. I am a lover of routine and so is she. Plus, it's been good for me to know that all babies cry sometimes and if you stick with something long enough, they'll eventually get it :)
-Loving her! My heart almost can't take it. No matter how crabby she is or how badly she needs a nap, I just look at her and I'm amazed all over again about how good God is! She is such a blessing to me, such a reminder of His faithfulness. I just can't believe she's mine sometimes. I am LOVING this season of life.
-Letting go of things that just don't matter. Somedays I feel like I'm being pulled in a thousand directions, with no end in sight. But, Travis and Ava are my priority, my ministry for this season. It's been freeing to say "no" to so many things I would have taken on before. I know these days are fleeting, these days of her being "little" will one day be behind us, so I am cherishing my time with her. And it has come much easier than I thought to do so. She is the perfect excuse for not doing something. After all, I don't want to miss photo-ops like this one!
Things That Have Been Harder Than I Thought:
-Breastfeeding. Ava didn't really have any problems, but I did. Not physically, but mentally and emotionally. I enjoyed it at first, but not nearly like I thought I was going to. It was very hard for me to feel so tied down and to never feel like I got a break. I thought it would be such a bonding thing for us, but really it became more of a burden. I hung in there as long as I wanted to and then Travis and I agreed it was time to let it go. And then, like only every mother knows, the guilt crept in. But I'm grateful for such a supportive husband who encouraged me let it go and not feel badly about it. It's much easier for me now, but I honestly never thought I would already have her on formula. It goes to show you that even the best "plans" are really just ideas about how we think something will go. Reality is often a much harsher wake-up call!
-Not feeling like myself. Although my recovery was better than I expected, I still don't really feel like I am who I used to be. I suppose that's ok, because I'm not the same, but I'm surprised at how often I long to go back to "her." I don't have time for myself anymore, so I think that's part of it, but I also don't look like myself either, and that's the hardest part. I have work to do on this body and no motivation/energy to do it. It's been kind of a depressing summer to deal with the "new me." Every picture I see of myself makes me want to cry or scream. Not easy.
-Dealing with my house, which never, ever seems to be clean. In my dreams, it would be clean and organized at all times, but I've hard to learn the hard way, that will only be true IN MY DREAMS! I cannot stay on top of things the way I used to. In some ways, this has been really good for me. I needed to let some of my obsessive stuff go. But, it's also frustrating to not have the time to just do what I need to do. I thought it would be easier for me to keep things picked up, have the laundry done, and keep the fridge full, but it's just not. Usually I have to pick one thing that I want to get done that day and then just live with that.
-Making time for Travis. No worries, we aren't drifting apart or anything, but I see how easily that could happen. When he comes home everyday, we spend all our time with Ava. When he calls, we talk about Ava. When he's at work, Ava and I meet him for lunch. All of these things are a blessing, but I do miss our time alone together. I miss lazy afternoons, late night dinners, hours at coffee shops. It takes more effort than ever to put our relationship first and to make our marriage a priority. Plus, after mothering Ava all day, sometimes I forget that I'm not his mother too! Making that mental switch is hard. Harder than I thought. 5 and a half years together, before Ava, has given us a good foundation, but it's also created some habits and preferences that I miss. Date nights are something we need to keep doing.
-Feeling lonely some days. We have so many people in our life, so many friends at Church, so many family members that love us...it seems ridiculous. But I miss having someone in the same exact stage I'm in and relating to them on a deeper level. Lots of our friends have older kids and several at that. We don't know very many people who are on their first baby and I miss the support that brings. I'm hoping as the fall starts up and we get back in the swing of things at Church that we can meet some other couples in our shoes. I need that and "we" need that. I think because we are in the student ministry world with so many younger, single or newly married volunteers, it just feels very isolating at times.
So there you go, for better or for worse, I am incredibly grateful to be this little girl's Mommy. I'll take the easy days and the hard ones too, if it means I get to watch her grow up right before my eyes. She is worth the struggle and certainly worth the joy!
No one ever said being a Mom was easy, right???