Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What it feels like to be a mom

Can't. Even. Handle six-month-old Callum.

One of my favorite people in the whole world is expecting her first child this November. I get so excited for her thinking about what lies ahead. We've had many conversations about becoming a mother, but I've found it so hard to really explain what being a mom feels like. You can try to describe the insane and overwhelming feelings you experience after having a baby, but there really is no way to get the point across. You have to feel it. 

After thinking about it quite a bit, I've decided there are a few words that really just exemplify motherhood for me. Some I expected, and some caught me totally off guard. There are literally thousands more, but here are a few that stand out.

Now, this is an obvious one. But, love is not even a strong enough word to describe the feeling. I Googled "a word stronger than love" and the best answer I found was to "just put it in all caps." Obvi.

Since, I'm still not sure using LOVE will do the job, I'll leave you with this: You will love your child deeper and harder than anything else you've ever loved before. Thinking about it will bring you to tears every. single. time. It is unreal.

When your baby is born, that baby becomes your life. The feeling of being needed can be a great thing, but it can also be an extremely difficult thing. Your baby needs care all day, everyday. So, if you (and your partner) are taking care of your baby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, when do have time to take care of yourself?

I think one of the hardest things is finding that balance between being a mom and being whatever else you may want to be: a friend, a wife, a runner, a professional, and all the other things you want for yourself.  Which brings me to my next feeling:

This is one that caught me totally off guard. I had no idea all the things I'd feel guilty about after becoming a mother. I know how important it is to take time for myself. To meet up with friends. To take date nights. To just run errands without little hands grabbing at me. But, every time I leave Callum behind, I feel guilty about it.

I've also many a time done the wrong thing (in hindsight) as a mom, and have felt ridiculously guilty about it afterwards. I've watched Callum fall and get hurt. I've raised my voice when I shouldn't have. I've let him cry it out when he wasn't feeling well and needed to be snuggled. And, when I've realized I may have done the wrong thing, I feel like crap about it. This is where friends come in. You will need them to remind you that it really is not that bad and your child is not scarred for life or destined to be an axe murder. Probably, anyways.

This is another one I didn't quite understand. I had no idea how flippin' tired I would be as mom. There's the newborn stage where no one sleeps ever. There's the baby stage where no one sleeps ever. There's the toddler stage where no one sleeps ever. Don't worry. You'll get used to it. If you are ever unsure about how to help a new mom, just offer to watch her newborn for a few hours while she takes a nap. You will be a hero.

You mess with my baby and I will dive bomb your head like a mama bird. That's basically it. Hurt my kid and you will pay.

There are also times when your baby is hurting and there's nothing you can do about it. When Callum was about six-months-old, he needed blood drawn. The phlebotomist taking his blood had a difficult time finding one of Callum's veins and had to poke him several times. It was miserable. Callum was screaming. He was scared. He was hurting. I would've done absolutely anything in that instance to take his pain away and make him feel better. Anything.

You will question every single decision you make as a mom, doesn't matter how small or large. It is beyond important to do your best to trust in your natural abilities as a parent. You know your child better than anyone else in the world. There is no one more equipped to make decisions about their life than you.

Although the hardest job in the world, it is also one of the most rewarding. There is nothing quite like hearing your baby say "mama" for the first time, or watching their eyes light up when you enter a room. Despite all the difficult moments, and there will be many, there is nothing better in the world.

When you need to be reminded of that, give me a call. I'll be here for a pep talk.

If you could describe what it feels like to be a mom (or dad) in one word, what word would that be?

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