It’s been one month and three days since my life was forever changed: the day I met my daughter. Currently, she is in her swing, swinging away, while Jurassic 5 plays (hip-hop calms her, which delights me). Her hands are covering her face but raised slightly in the air, which also delights me.
I’ve learned this past month that while I absolutely love motherhood, I am not cut out to be a stay at home wife. I feel a bit like I’ve been drowning in household to-do items but today is perhaps the first day I feel like myself again, meaning, I have enough head space to feel inspired and creative. Most days I’ve been too tired to think past diapers and the laundry pile that’s growing and when I’m ever going to sleep again (shout-out to my girl for sleeping a 7-hour stretch both last night and the night before!). I think I’m actually a pretty good mom and I know I’ve been only a half decent wife lately. My husband has handled everything beautifully and always sees the glass half full. I’ve been cranky and demanding and emotional, so, I’m working on that. I love my husband so much. Someone said to me the other day that while my house won’t remember if I was grumpy because my house wasn’t clean, my husband (and child) will remember whether I was grumpy or not. The moral: clean your damn house later. Be present. It’s a new chapter and as much as I’m learning how to be a mother, I’m learning how to be a wife again as well.
I’m not a stay at home wife though; I’m on maternity leave. My emotions go from never wanting to work another day in my life because all I want to do is hang out with my daughter to no, I must work, I love to work, my mother working taught me so much about being a woman in this world and working. One thing I know, too, is I have to create, and I’m lucky to have a job that is all about creativity.
Nothing really prepares you for parenthood. No, pets definitely do not prepare you for parenthood (I have two dogs and one child, so I can say this confidently). Nothing can prepare you for the amount of love you feel for your child. I actually thought I’d have postpartum depression because I’m wired in such an emotional and sensitive way that I thought it was a one-way road for me. Thankfully, I haven’t had any postpartum depression. I’m eternally grateful for this little human who is the coolest thing to ever exist in my life (and on the planet). She’s already taught me so much.
For example, everything I’ve hated about myself, or things I’ve judged about myself, or even been prideful about myself (in an unhealthy way), are things I love about my daughter. Her newborn ears are fuzzy right now and I hope she never cares about body hair. Her belly button is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Her face is asymmetrical. She is just so perfect, in every way. And for every time I tell her she is beautiful, I tell her that she is smart, important, confident and that the things she does and will say matter and need to be shown and heard. I’m also constantly checking myself: she’s looking at me, what is looking at your phone going to teach her? or, you’re putting on makeup, what message is this sending her? Things like that. I want to be more active and present in the world. I want to not be afraid and stop telling myself self-deprecating things. I want her to always be herself, to never feel the need to please people, to distinguish between who flawed humans say Jesus is and who Jesus really is (which even I’m still learning and deconstructing). I want her to be the superhuman she is, to always believe in herself and to follow the little light inside of her.
I guess that’s what I’ve also learned about motherhood. It’s selfless and a lot of it is about my child. Perhaps some resent this, but I see it as a gift. A gift to her. A gift I will always want to give. A gift I am born to give her. A gift I am wired to give her. Like breathing. It’s something I have to do. I will always fight for her, protect her, vouch for her, stand up for her, do everything I possibly can for this little human who one day will probably even be super annoyed at me. She’s the biggest/greatest gift God has ever given me. She’s my treasure. Once again, I can’t stop talking about her when this post was supposed to be about motherhood. See? I’m obsessed with her.
Yes, motherhood is hard, too, but does any truly good thing come without hardship?
Motherhood has also taught me that I’m still me. I still have my bad habits I’m trying to kick and my mind still runs in circles. But I also still have the things I need to do each day in order to maintain a sense of myself. I have to take a shower every day. This is important to me and makes me feel human and whole. I have to find intentional time to get into my head (or rather, out of my head) and be creative (whether it be through writing, reading, taking photos, going for a walk…). I am still me and just as my daughter has value, so do I, and therefore I need to continue taking care of myself.
And if caring for myself means I’ll also have Row sitting on my hip, truthfully there’s nothing else I want. Caring for myself will teach her to care for herself, too.