Following the heaviness of my last post, I thought I would make this one a little lighthearted, but no less real. If you read my posts regularly, you know that I pretty much preach the joys of motherhood and the miracles of children. This I do believe. Children bring so much light and happiness to a mother's life it is almost indescribable.
Yet... there are many trials and difficulties that come along with motherhood. Being a parent is simply hard work, and exhausting. Let me tell you a thing or two about the not so glamorous side of motherhood - the pulled hair for one... heck the food in the hair, the bitten shoulder (yes... they bite), the dirt and food everywhere all of the time, the waking up at night - I could go on. All mothers know it. Children are demanding, but we deal with never being able to wear our hair down (it's no wonder so many women cut it all off when they have kids) and having spit up or drool or food on our blouse - because at the end of the day, the feeling of having another person completely dependent and vulnerable to your care ... the joy of that love, that's the best feeling in the world.
Going to the beach, pool, lake or wherever your favorite summer destination may be, becomes instantly greater with the cute little baby or playful child. You get to act like a kid again, and experience the world from innocent eyes. There is also the added bonus of tiring them out. Naptime is the easiest time to get anything done (not that I get anything done anyways). At the same time, leaving the house to go anywhere becomes quite an ordeal when you have a baby in tow. Packing and organizing the diaper bag with all the necessary toys, an extra outfit or warmer layer, and of course the diapers and wipes, is a constant struggle. Then there are the added things like sunscreen and bathing suits and towels and first-aid kits and hats and snacks and strollers and baby carriers etc etc etc.
Here's the really funny thing about a tired mom - we don't know the meaning of relaxation. We lost our ability to relax that first night in the hospital after our baby was born. There is someone else's needs to always think about. You are never truly off duty. Sure I enjoy the moments I have to sit down and not have sticky little hands tugging on my shirt, but I find it really difficult to totally and truly relax like I did before I had Jamesie. Last week I went to get a manicure and pedicure, while my mother watched Jamesie, and it was such a luxury. In the mix of all the packing and unpacking, all the sleepless nights and early mornings, all the meals spent eating with a baby in my lap, I know that I am the most important person in my son's life. I try and live up to that role everyday.
A huge part of motherhood is self discovery. I share my days with this wonderful little person who smears me with his lunch or his mucus; I'm dirty and messy and I have a million things on my mind all at once, but I like this me. I love this me. I thought my abroad experience in college changed me, and it did in many ways, but this tiny human is shaping me and challenging me and making me grow in ways I never even knew I needed.
This past weekend Jamesie, James and I went to our friends' engagement party in New York. It was great to see friends from college and catch up and reminisce, but I couldn't help from noticing how different I felt, how much I have changed. Because of my son and all of the difficult parts of motherhood, I have become more confident and sure of the kind of person I want to be. Every morning I wake up and look into the eyes of my son and I know what is important in my life.
Motherhood has attached itself to my very being. Having a child, and becoming a mother, is the most comprehensive experience I've ever had. I expected motherhood to change me, and I'm glad that it has. Contrary to what others may think, I am not losing myself in this thing called motherhood. I am becoming myself and it is so good.