You can chalk up this blog hiatus to a number of things: a baby that wants to play more than she sleeps now, writer’s block, just plain laziness. When naps decrease to only twice a day, you use that time as wisely as you possibly can. And usually, laundry, dinner, a nap, or just plain let’sfindmysanityrealquick time take precedence over my blog. However, lately, the things I’ve been learning about motherhood are just too good not to share.
Every time I think I’ve learned to not have expectations in this life with a child, I find a whole new set of things I never thought I would have to rethink. I sense these might be common misconceptions about being a mom, so I decided to compile a list.
1. One thing I midunderstood was that once a child learns to “sleep through the night,” that doesn’t necessarily mean she will do that all the time forever. For some reason, I was always under the impression that once we got our kids to sleep through the night, that was it! No more sleepless nights…no more nighttime feedings…no more getting up at night, at all, for any reason. Now, this sounds completely ridiculous and unreasonable. Heidi began sleeping through the night within the first two weeks of life. I didn’t tell many of my parent friends because I did not want to be jumped in the parking lot. But she is almost eight months old now, and for the past two months or so, she has been getting up around 3 or 4am to eat. Granted she goes RIGHT back to sleep for another 4-5 hours after that. But still. It’s just rude. And when you’ve adjusted to sleeping through the night, these wake-up times are jarring.
2. I also thought I’d have my body back way before now. Like…way, way, WAY before now. But no. I mean, we all wanna be THAT hot mom, don’t we??? I still have a good 15 pounds to go. (Yeah, I said that out loud). I’ve nursed her exclusively, worked out, and even tried to keep a decent diet, but this body just ain’t letting go. And that’s fine. I trust especially once I stop nursing, it will be easier. And it really doesn’t bother me that much, especially when I look in that chubby face of hers. I’d do it all again to see that face every day. But it seems to be my slice of humble pie these days (ironically enough), as I’ve never had to work too hard to keep weight off. I was a runner in school, and I loved it. So it never felt like work to me. But now I’m having to work out, stick to an eating plan, etc…and it is SO HARD. I just started doing the Insanity program. And it makes me feel just that. Insane.
3. Another big misconception I had was how much I would have to sacrifice. I knew it would be a lot. All of us first-timers say that, don’t we? “Oh I know I won’t be sleeping…Oh I know our schedule will be a little different…Oh I know things won’t be the same…BUT MY BABY WILL BE SO CUTE.” But we really don’t know, do we? Seriously. Sometimes I wonder how God possibly expects moms to be good moms and still be nice to everyone else. Like…that is expecting way too much. The sacrifice is just constant. And I’m not tooting my own horn. I’m actually mostly complaining about it. Haha.
4. I have a sense of my “mother’s instinct.” I’m getting better and better at listening to it . But I was not aware that babies have what I call “baby instinct.” For example, when I am ready to lay down and nap, she inevitably wakes up and screams. When I need just one good night’s sleep, she decides that’s the night she wants to play from 2 to 5am. When I feel like I can’t possibly “deal” with her anymore, she will refuse to eat, cry during playtime, refuse to nap, sneeze peas into my face while I’m feeding her, fusses during the entire trip through the grocery store, and all but flips me the bird all day long. It’s maddening, and I am pretty sure she has a pact with God in trying to make me the most patient person in the world. It’s taking awhile. In fact, I submit it’s not even working, but I guess God knows what He is doing. And probably laughing while He’s doing it.
5. The biggest thing, however, I was completely unprepared for was how much I would love her. Yeah, you hear about a mother’s love for her child. Like, hey I could lift a car if I had to, I love her THAT much. But it’s something that constantly sits heavy in my chest. A good kind of heavy. I love the little personality that is starting to shine through. Actually, her personality is pretty big. She is fearless. She plays hard. She is VERY opinionated, and gets worked up over the smallest things sometimes. She loves the outdoors. She is gleeful, outgoing, playful, and she loves with all her heart. When she kisses me, she grasps my face as tight as she can (usually pulling chunks of hair), pulls me roughly right up to her face, and slobbers all over my cheek….then my nose…then my forehead…then my other cheek. It’s amazing to feel adored by such a small child.
So among all the things I didn’t expect, her love is the nicest surprise of all. Makes the rest of it so worth it.
A happy heart makes the face cheerful…. -Proverbs 15:13