Motherhood. I get it now.
If you know my mom, you know she’s a pretty emotional person. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a very emotional, sensitive, cries-once-a-day person too. I come by it honestly. If you know my mom, you also know that she would take a bullet before she had to pick who her favorite child is. She would give her last drop of blood to one of her kids. And when the day comes that she is taken Home, she wants to be remembered simply by being the best mother possible. Listen, I always knew this stuff about her; it was never a secret. Even now living in Cleveland, I can feel her love from miles away… but now, now I get it on a whole new level. Within the last month, there have been days I don’t shower, unintentionally skip lunch, the list goes on; all while running on 4 hours of sleep. When you’re not a mother, you wonder, “how the hell someone can tolerate that way of living?!” But now that I’m living it, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Connor needs me. (And truly, what choice do I really have?)
I get it now.
I get why my mom cried every single time I got up on the balance beam and competed. Or when I graduated from preschool and headed off to kindergarten. I get why she’s stopped her life to drive hours to her adult children; because even at ages 31, 29, 26, or 21 years old… we need her.
Connor is a month old, and now loves sleeping in his crib instead of his bassinet, right next to me. He’s no longer in my belly where I can take him everywhere I go, but instead I’m pushing him away to explore tummy time or sitting with Dad instead. Motherhood is weird. It’s a constant tug and pull. From the moment our babies come out of our belly, we start pushing them away to grow. But as soon as they grow, we cry. We beg them to fall asleep at 1am, but then we cry because they aren’t in our arms anymore.
Nothing could have prepared me for the tears. The happy tears. The sad tears. The frustrated tears with your husband at 4:45am. Motherhood is unconditional on every single level. I get that now, Mom. I get it.
A few other things I’ve learned in my first month of motherhood:
- Waking up in the middle of the night isn’t that bad when it’s YOUR kid.
- Babies poop a lot. Usually right after you put a clean diaper on them.
- Driving is scary. Get a mirror where you can see your baby’s reflection at all times.
- You’ll be tested in your marriage. I love Jake with my whole heart, but when it’s 1am and he’s “holding the baby wrong”, I say things that I don’t mean. I’m sorry, Jake.
- You skip meals because your baby is finally asleep in your arms, and you wouldn’t dare think about waking him. Your boobs hurt because breastfeeding, well breastfeeding isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. (It gets better though!) You will never sleep the same ever again…Your husband though, he will sleep just fine.
- This exclusive “mom club” thing is the most supportive group I’ve ever felt in my life! Friends that I haven’t spoken with in years, or even acquaintances from social media, old classmates, etc., they’ve all reached out to me just to say I’M NOT ALONE. The days are long, the job can be thankless, but knowing others are feeling the same as me makes it so much easier. I’m so grateful for the support and love I’ve felt from these woman, encouraging me that I’m doing just fine. What a privilege is it to be a mother. I don’t take that for granted.
Everyone warns you about most of those things, but truly nothing really prepares you for it. I keep telling myself, it’s just a short season of life. One day Connor will be out playing with his friends, he’ll have to go to school for 7 hours a day, and he won’t need me to rock him to sleep every night. So for now, life can wait, because my baby needs me right now. Because one day, he won’t.