Peaceful Baby turns a mature 7 months old today.
I love my daughter so wholly it’s shocking. Her bright eyes and easy smile fill my heart to capacity, making me laugh and enabling me to see the world from a new perspective.
But there’s another side to all of that: being a parent is hard.
Motherhood is so much more complicated, challenging, rewarding, exhausting, and loving than I ever imagined.
When I was pregnant there was no shortage of comments from people about how life would never be the same. You know the ones: enjoy ____ now because after you have the baby, forget about it. I knew my life was about to change in unimagineable ways, and I felt up to the task. The day to day challenges were expected: sleep interruptions, feeding, changing diapers, struggling to keep up with laundry, housework, trying to maintain a social life, or even a reasonably put together appearance. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the realization that becoming a mother didn’t complete me as a person.
Take a moment. Breathe. I had to.
Through all those months and years of struggling to conceive, I held firm to the belief that once I held this little being in my arms I would be awash in a sea of contentment and love. Don’t get me wrong, I felt those things and more. But once life with baby settled into a routine and I was able to see clearly again, I realized that it’s more complicated than that.
Who is satisfied by just one facet of their lives? Are you solely contented by your career/family/spouse/art? I think if we look honestly at ourselves, we can see that we are multifaceted and have needs that can only be filled with a rich variety of interests. I was shocked to discover that having a baby didn’t complete me. I still struggled with the same issues and concerns about my life as I had before becoming a mom. This was upsetting, challenging, and painful, but after some thought, I realized it’s also okay.
I am a mother. I love my daughter. But I am also a dynamic person who needs to find room in my life to explore and create, without the guilt that seems to be an inherent part of motherhood for many women. Taking the time out of my day to knit, read, meet up with a friend, or even take a long shower doesn’t mean taking time away from my baby. This time I create for myself within the day allows me to refill that little creative battery within me, and when fully charged I am a much more patient, engaged parent.
So, 7 months into this motherhood gig these are my thoughts. Life will always be a work in progress, and I know that as quickly as PB changes and grows, so will my identity as a mama and as a woman.