Finding “You”.

So becoming a mom has been massively transforming. Like in all areas. There have been massive physical changes on top of a plethora of mental and emotional changes as well. My days are no longer my own and my plans are no longer simple, it’s exhausting and rewarding. It’s amazing and awful. It sounds harsh but there are days where nothing feels right or normal anymore. You feel out of control and incapable. It’s more than tough, sometimes it feels impossible, and in the midst of it all we are expected to find ourselves. We are pressured to become “moon goddesses” or “mom bosses”. We are supposed to fully embrace this new mother person we have become after one of the most physically traumatizing moments of our lives, which is a pretty incredibly metaphor honestly. That moment of birth is the beginning of so many things as a mother. It is the beginning of your new body, your new mental capacity, your new and all-encompassing role of “Mom” to this little person. You aren’t fully yours anymore and that can be incredibly terrifying, at least it has been for me.

Sailor turned 9 months old the other week. A whole 9 months outside of the womb, just as long as he sat cozy in there cooking away. He has become his own person, he is discovering his voice, his legs, his hands, and everything else he can grab/touch/see. He is amazing and wonderful. Through his little eyes I had this realization that in the midst of him blossoming into his own little person, I have slowly been losing myself. I have become the slightly fluffy, perpetually exhausted, incredibly emotional woman, who maybe resembles who I was before in some ways but has completely forgotten who I am at the root of it all. I struggled with the concept of choosing things for myself, feeling some weird sort of guilt when I chose to do something for me instead of Sailor. When I first fed Sailor a bottle of formula it came after 3 days of my milk not coming in and him literally not getting any sustenance post-birth. He wouldn’t latch and nurse and I would just shake it off like it was normal, not wanting to become that emotionally charged mom that worried about every little thing. Then came his first well check-up, where he weighed almost 2 pounds lighter than he did at birth, and oh my word the guilt I felt. It was gut-wrenching and overwhelming. They told me to go back to the hospital to make sure he wasn’t jaundiced, they pricked his poor feet over and over again trying to draw enough blood but were struggling because he was so dehydrated. I could hardly handle it and yes I cried, A LOT. They told me to start supplementing his feedings with 2oz. of formula for at least 2 weeks and just like that my dreams of being that “crunchy” momma with her exclusively breastfed baby were thrown out the window.

If I’m being completely honest, that’s when I started to lose myself in motherhood. It’s when I pushed myself to breastfeed Sailor as often as he wanted, even if it meant waking up every 2 hours all night long for 7 months. It’s what made me hyper aware of every cry, and it’s what gave me “permission” to pick him up all day, everyday whenever he crawled over to me. It’s what consumed me in the day to day of child rearing and I became the frazzled sort of person I am today. Only recently have I realized how backward it all is. No, I’m not saying that ignoring your children or not trying to give them the best you can is bad, at all. I’m saying letting it consume you as a person, allowing for yourself to fall head first into a whirlpool of “baby” is not okay. In order to be good mothers, we need to know who we are outside of motherhood. We need to have loves and passions and dreams, or else how will we teach our children to do all of those things? I want Sailor to grow up with a mother who is loving and caring, but also strong and motivated. I want to show him it is possible to achieve your dreams and to do something that you love for the rest of your life. I want my future children to see that it is possible to marry and love your best friend every single day. But like I said, in order to accomplish all of those things I needed to find myself, and I think I’m starting to.

When I started writing this post I honestly had no idea where it was going, but now I sort of see it. I want you to know that those feelings, that overwhelming sense of confusion when you look at yourself in the mirror, yah, you’re not alone in that. I want you to know that you should never feel bad for wanting time to embrace your passions and dreams, they are necessary and vital! I want you to know that you are STILL you, despite what your body looks like or what your baby does on a daily basis. I have struggled with this everyday but I am finally turning the corner and learning that I am important. I recently started taking online classes to pursue a dream I’ve had for years and years. I almost didn’t do it, honestly, it seemed impossible, but I looked at my life and decided that my baby is important and if I want to be the best version of me I can be I need to do hard things to get there. I want to tell him someday that I went back to school when he was still small and I pushed through the hard moments to achieve my goals. I want him to remember a confident mother who loved him with all she had, ever day.

This is the new me, it is still so many of the things I was before, creative, ambitious, motivated and strong, but now I am also a mother. I will probably have many more children and I will probably gain many more stretch marks, but I will still be ME at the root of it all. You can still be you too, don’t lose it and don’t make excuses for why you can’t work your way back to it. Motherhood is a mixed bag, the guilt and joy and pain you will experience may be overwhelming, but in the end if you hold on tight to “you” and love that person through all of the changes I promise you will be a better momma/wife/friend in the midst of it all. So keep trekking, keep dreaming keep loving those babies and keep pursuing YOU, because you are so worth it.

 

Mother’s Day.

Yesterday was my first Mother’s Day. I woke up with such expectation of gifts lavished, a clean kitchen, maybe a chance to sleep in after being up most of the night with the baby, you know the stuff mom’s dream of! I honestly had built up this expectation of perfection, that there was NO possible way my husband could live up to it all, at least not without me sharing with him my desires for the day. Instead I expected him to just know, leading to me crying in the shower. Yah, I’m embarrassed to say that I sort of lost it on Mother’s Day. As I stood in the shower and cried, I really thought about all the things I wanted and didn’t get, I lingered on all the negatives and ignored any positives, I essentially was a child throwing a fit. I felt awful, why do I let myself get to such a point of emotional distress? Why do I allow for every bad thing to overshadow all of the amazing and good things that I am blessed with?

Just the night before my husband took me out to dinner for Mother’s Day. Bless his heart, he thought it was Saturday and I couldn’t help but fall in love with him all the more. He asked our close friends if they would watch Sailor so we could go on a very rare dinner date sans baby, and I was so blessed. We then came home, put the baby to sleep and watched a movie and sipped Moscow mules with our friends, it was such a perfect night! But sadly enough, in my mom mind of built up expectations, it wasn’t enough to carry over to the next day. I woke up with a fresh desire to be spoiled, I mean I don’t necessarily feel bad about the desire, but I do feel bad about my own lack of communication.

That’s honestly what I wanted to write about today, because I KNOW there are more of us out there. The ones who live in our minds and are constantly finding ourselves disappointed as no one can live up to the mountains of expectation we build around ourselves. We dream and wish and sigh as someone yet again misses the mark. As I stood in the shower yesterday I was so suddenly struck with the awareness that I am so stinking spoiled. Every single day. I am spoiled with a family, a husband that truly truly loves me DESPITE all of my flaws (there are many). I have a baby, a healthy little boy, who brings me so much joy, when I know there are so many women out there who desire a baby so badly, or who have lost their own precious ones. The mere fact that I can celebrate Mother’s Day with a child who is living is HUGE. Man, that one hit me smack in the face. I am BLESSED. Guys, I truly am.

After all of this, and my husband had sweetly took the baby out for a walk and returned with my favorite coffee and a breakfast pastry, I sat down and opened up my heart to him. Because while I was alone in our apartment, the dishes not done and the bedroom a mess, I realized that I married this man because he was my best friend. I vowed to be his companion, to encourage and uplift him and to share in all of the moments that life may bring, that means growing with him and becoming more “married” to him everyday. I can’t keep seething in unrequited expectations, embarrassed to share my true feelings with the man I said I would share my whole life with. What a horrible way to live! I am nowhere near perfect at this yet, but I know that yesterday was a huge stepping stone. If I want something from my husband I need to tell him, I need to bring him into my wants and desires so that they can become OUR wants and desires.

The realization that my son and future children would watch me and their daddy as we interact struck me yesterday. I don’t want to be the mom that lives in regret of her actions but is an example of openness to my children. That they learn how to swallow their pride and be the bigger person on a daily basis, seeking God’s heart and his will for the situation. After that conversation with my husband the day completely turned around. Not only because he now knew what I wanted and blessed me in so many ways, but also because I felt this weight lifted off of me. The weight of holding it all in and pretending like nothing is wrong, even though it is. The weight of always feeling disappointed and hurt when I can easily change the situation. The weight of walking around full of pride when I should be practicing humility.

My first Mother’s day was special in many ways, but especially because I was able to celebrate it with my sweet son and my loving husband, the two people who mean the world to me. Don’t let little things cause you to loose sight of what is most important in your own life, or tarnish moments that are meant to be fondly remembered. You deserve to feel “weightless”; so pursue intimacy, share your heart and grow into a momma that walks in humility and love.

Missing It.

 

 

This week I was hit with this deep sense of missing. Missing the days where life was seemingly carefree, and my biggest anxiety was whether I was going to wake up with a pimple or if my hair was going to cooperate. Nowadays my anxieties are a little more complex. I’m massively aware of money, the future of not only me but of my baby and my husband. I sit and think of budgeting strategies, possible career paths, vaccinations, diaper rash and teething gums. My thoughts are no longer about what movie I can’t wait to head to the theater to see, or who I can hangout with on the weekend. My life is full of bigger things than that, and yet, I miss those days.

For some reason I came up with the idea that it was wrong of me to miss the pre-baby, pre-marriage days. Those days are filled with some of my greatest adventures (literally and metaphorically). I spent the beginning of my twenties traveling the world and living in Australia. I spent my free time alone at Aussie cafes, writing like crazy, listening to music and drinking iced coffees. My weekends were filled with quick trips to my favorite neighborhoods, crammed in someone’s small car, still marveling at driving on the wrong side of the road. Windows down, hot summer days, music blaring and so much laughter I can still feel it in my gut. Those days were some of my best yet and I don’t feel bad saying it.

I have been immeasurably blessed with “good ole days”. I have memories that still bring a smile to my face. Getting married was not me filling a void, and having a baby was not the answer to my problems. Those are things that add to my already overflowing memory bank of joy. Those are the beginning of a whole new set of golden years. A whole new set of summer days and endless laughter. As a mother it is exhausting to feel not only the weight of your own anxieties, but the pressure of what society says is proper and right for a mother to feel. I am a mother, and a wife, and I am telling you it is okay to miss those days. Remember them as the blessing that they are; don’t linger and wish yourself back but thank God that he gave them to you to hold on to.

My heart is not stuck on those days, but it remembers them fondly. On days where things aren’t perfect, the baby’s crying, and there just isn’t enough coffee for your tired eyes, remember that as much as there are always better days behind you, there are far better days ahead. That’s the blessing of motherhood and of life, it keeps plowing forward, stacking memory upon memory for you to savor as you move along with it.