As Mother’s Day rolls around, I can’t help but think back fondly on what a special time of year this is for my family and I. Last year around this time, I was about to have my first baby. Everyone was so calm about it, except for me. I distracted myself with nesting urges and bad TV. We had no idea what was about to hit us. I mean, we had an idea; We were “ready”…well, on paper we were “ready”. We had everything we needed; the right attitude, read all the books (by the way there is really no “book” on parenting), the bags were packed and everything neatly organized in the nursery. But really, we had no idea what was about to hit us. It was something that we needed to experience to fully understand.
It was roughly a year ago, on April 30th at 5:55 (just in time for dinner) that our son was born. After a relatively quick and chaotic labour, everything was suddenly calm as I nursed him in my arms and our immediate family came in with excited faces. We just sat in awe of this little new member of our family. He dove into this world (literally) and amongst all the chaos of childbirth, brought so much peace, as he laid there and slept off the workout we had both just endured. I didn’t sleep a wink that night. I just stared. Nothing could have prepared us for the groundswell of emotion that came with his arrival. I wanted to kiss my midwife and send her on a trip around the world, buy her a car, whatever she wanted (if only I could have afforded it), as she handed me my life’s biggest achievement so far. The moment he was born completely flipped the lid on life as we know it. Our lives had profoundly changed in the most meaningful way. We suddenly were parents. All the “stuff” at home that made us feel “ready” was (sort of) necessary, but suddenly faded in the background as the emotions took over.
At this risk of sounding completely cliche and over the top, our purpose on this earth was suddenly so clear, but incredibly daunting at the same time; we needed to be everything that this baby boy needed. We were to keep him safe, healthy and happy and love him with every inch of our being. Yikes! How in the world were we going to do that? I can’t even keep a plant alive! Sure, we have a dog which we take ridiculously good care of (seriously, people make fun of us), but when we got a puppy, at least he wasn’t completely helpless; he knew how to walk, eat, and in worst case scenarios, could always be persuaded with treat. It gave us a slight leg up (no pun intended), but not as much as we thought. We took it one day at a time and worried about all the little things; Is he hot? is he cold? is he gassy? Is his diaper too tight? Is he sleeping enough? Is he eating enough? Is he breathing? Is the cotton on that shirt soft enough? Oh no, does he hear that episode of Maury Povich in the background with people fighting and is now scarred for life? You name it, we worried about it. Looking back on it, it all seems trivial and silly, but at the time, I think it was a coping mechanism to distract us from the true gravity of it all.
As confused and overwhelmed as we were, things just started to come naturally and it now it feels as though being a mom is what I was born to do. Becoming a mother has rocked me to the core of who I am and changed me for the better. Life is incredibly simple, but so complicated at the same time. Our baby boy is a year old and we made it. We made it! It’s hard to imagine life before him. The old me was eating at the best restaurants in town, hanging out with “the cool kids” (some of the perks of working in advertising), going out whenever and wherever I pleased and had barely used my oven except maybe to make a nacho platter. Now, I bake, cook and sit on my carpet for hours making silly faces and voices, just to hear that infectious laugh. Heck, I even “crafted” the other day, making decorations for his first birthday party. Trust me when I tell you that the craftiest thing I’ve ever done before that is use an old receipt as a way to wrap my chewed gum up to throw it in the trash. I think the fanciest restaurant I’ve been to in the past year is Sunset Grill, and I’m totally ok with that. I know there will be a time to enjoy the small luxuries of life again, but for now, I don’t care about that stuff. Who knows, maybe I will never care about that stuff again.
Our son brings incredible amounts of joy into our lives, he’s brought us closer together, closer with our family and makes us smile everyday. I really haven’t done anything except take care of him for the past year and it’s absolutely been the happiest and most fulfilling year of my life. He’s a true gift and it’s been a joy watching his little personality bloom. As he continuously grows out of his clothes, I find myself mixed with emotion; I love watching him grow and am excited to do different things with him as he gets older, but at the same time, I want him to live in my arms forever.
So just for kicks, I thought I’d reflect on the difference in how I think about things now vs. my first mother’s day, just 2 weeks into this whole “mommy” gig; shellshocked and overwhelmed.
How am I going to do this?
Then: I dunno. I don’t think I can do this.
Now: Not sure, but we are figuring it out.
On feeding your baby on demand 8-12 times a day:
Then: That’s a joke, right? How is there time to do anything else? That’s insane, what are we? Some sort of milk truck?
Now: Honk, honk. Here comes the milk truck.
Why do moms speak in acronyms?
Then: It must be a secret mom code I need to figure out.
Now: Not enough time to type out full words! NBR I have to NAK my DS now that I am a WAHM.
Will I use videos and TV as an activity?
Then: No TV before 2!
Now: Worshipping the creators of baby Einstein puppet anthology or anything else that keeps his attention long enough for me to go to the bathroom!
Will my body ever repair itself?
Then: I feel like I will feel like I’ve been hit by a truck for the rest of my life.
Now: that first 4-6 weeks was tough but my body is a magical thing. Time heals.
Will I ever have a relaxing shower again?
Then: I’m sure I will have time in a couple months.
Now: Nope. Except for rare occasions.
What will vacations be like?
Then: I will spray on some 4SPF and work on my tan while my baby cutely plays in the sand.
Now: they are not called vacations. They are now called trips (my friend Amber coined this perfectly). Nothing is cuter than watching your baby play in the sand but it’s a whole team effort. Where is some shade? Where is sunscreen? 50SPF? Oh, I am looking for 75SPF. Get that sand out of your mouth! (For the zillionth time).
Will my relationship with my husband change?
Then: No, probably not. Maybe. I don’t know.
Now. Yes, for the better. We are stronger and have more respect for each other than ever. Just when you think you can’t love them anymore, you will.
Will I ever eat a warm meal or enjoy a full cup of tea again?
Then: Sure, once things settle down.
Now: Maybe on my birthday?
Will my son ever learn to go to sleep, eat, do anything without me?
Then: I don’t know! I should be doing this, that and then this, but not that. But whatever you do, don’t do this! But sometimes do that.
Now: Yes…but sometimes babies just need their mommas.
Is he breathing?
Then: Let me check again. What about now? Ok, and…now?
Now: Yes, but sometimes I still check.
Mat leave is the best!
Then: It’s going to last forever!!!!
Now: Wow, it’s been a year?
What do I need to buy?
Then: Every single baby product ever invented! I also need to invent a few new things while I’m at it.
Now: Open the Tupperware drawer and go to town little one. Momma needs to scarf down her lunch.
On diaper changes:
Then: It’s our special time. Oh, I think he just smiled. Now that the diaper is on, let’s just sit in this moment forever.
Now: Anyone have a straight jacket?
Will I ever get my body back?
Now: I’ve never felt stronger or in better shape. Whoaaaa MOM STRENGTH! It’s a real thing!
What will I do with all my time on mat leave?
Then: Learn to sew, invent something and go on Bethenny, reconnect with all my old friends.
Now: if I have time, I will have a proper shower and paint my Lindsay Lohan-esque nails.
Will I ever have a proper sleep again?
Then: after the first few months I am sure he will sleep and nap like a champ. Babies love to nap.
If I have a night off I will:
Then: Go out! Whoop it up! Have the time of my life!
Now: Make some KD and catch up on bad reality TV.
On getting baby dressed:
Then: I have the perfect shoes and hat to go with that outfit! Let’s do another outfit change after lunch!
Now: Is it clean?
Wishing all the mother’s out there a very Happy Mother’s Day! New moms, moms of one year olds, moms of toddlers (who probably didn’t have time to read to the end of this), moms of tweens (may the force be with you), moms of teens (may the force be with you even more), grandmothers and all the moms out there.
You deserve all the love that is showered upon you on this special day. Soak it in and enjoy reflecting back on all those little moments and how you’ve evolved as a mommy over time. Your child is so lucky to have you.
Modernmommycollective.com was created by Andrea Mercer and a "social hub for all things mommy-ish". Andrea a hip everyday mom who sheds a positive light on motherhood. Alongside a strong Facebook following, the blog features sweet personal anecdotes, fun and interesting articles, inspiring messages and chatter amongst real moms. The curated content focuses on health and wellness and everyday parenting issues. Andrea distills down all the confusing parenting advice into how a real mom actually survives through it all, with a smile (and probably spit up) on her face. Share in her journey, chuckle along, relate, learn and be inspired at modernmommycollective.com . Also, be sure to join her Facebook page "The Modern Mommy Collective".
photo credit: Kadria Simons Ghafari