In the early moments when Motherhood was placed upon me, I felt a mixture of sheer joy and fear. I have only been a mother for 21 months, but I can remember those early moments as if they were yesterday. The first day was the best, I savored every moment of that first meeting with my new baby boy. I felt unsure in my abilities as a mother but was surrounded by nurses and family members that helped me through those first few days. The first few weeks I had my mother in law to help me and plenty of visitors. Each one giving me little tidbits of advice. When the first month was done and gone, we moved 6 hours south and I was alone with my new family for the first time. My husband worked throughout the day while I stayed home with our baby. That was the biggest dose of reality for me when my husband left for work that first morning and I was alone with our baby boy. I had never thought of myself as a stay-at-home- mom type because I felt I was too selfish and career driven to spend my days catering to an infant. Little did I know that deep inside of me was a domestic diva. It took getting used to because in my almost 10 year marriage to my husband, I have only recently took up cooking. I had to figure out how to manage laundry, dishes, bottles, diapers, baths, my own shower, cleaning, grocery shopping, errand running, pediatrician visits alone while also finding time to lose my baby weight and have “me” time.
I can honestly say I lost myself for the first 3 months of my baby’s life because I was trying desperately to be the perfect mother, housewife, friend, and wife. I lost that battle, but what I gained was some enlightenment as to what it meant to be a stay-at-home mom. It didn’t mean getting it all done in one day. It meant learning to appreciate what I was able to accomplish in that given day. An infant is unpredictable, so my normal routine would have to be shifted and altered to meet the needs of my baby. I had to let go on some control and go with the flow of that particular day. I had to understand that I was not being graded on my new job as a mother. I had to figure my new self out all over again, something I thought I had accomplished by my age. I had to find my new self and love that new woman.
As the months carried on and my son was about 6 months, life took on a nice rhythm. I starting taking him everywhere with me to get him used to be around other people and to get myself used to being with him in public. I started slowly with trips to my local target and grocery store. After that, I ventured out to the mall and even to LAX which is about an hour away from where I live. I got myself and my son used to being in the car, the stroller and the shopping carts.
Those early days taught me a lot. It taught me about the will of a person to keep “it” together. I learned what postpartum depression felt like. I learned to ask for help. I learned that it’s ok for your baby to cry for a few minutes while you prepare their meal or change their diaper. I learned that I was capable of doing it all but also capable of leaving some things for tomorrow. I learned to live off of 3 hours of sleep and to take naps whenever I was able to take them. I learned this and so much more. Looking back, I am glad I went through all that I did with my baby because I have a strong sense of self at this point in my life and the thought of having another baby doesn’t intimidate me as much as with my first.
To all you new moms out there, or the moms who have been doing it for a while now: Keep your heads up. You are doing a great job. Breathe in and out, in and out. You are your baby’s world. Your child’s world. You are the most important person in their lives whether or not they tell you that you are. You are the only person in the world who knew them before they met the world and were born. So listen to your intuition, ask for help if needed and never sell yourself short because being a mom is an amazing adventure and our jobs are never done!