Happy Mother’s Day!! This is my 4th mother’s day as a new mom and, I have to say, it just keeps on getting better each year. Every year I feel like I am growing. Growing as a wife, a mother, a friend. Every year I am learning new things, experiencing new things and figuring it all out. I’m learning how to juggle family and work life. I’m learning how to handle two kids. I’m learning how to find balance in my life and keep myself from caving in. This past year has been a little rough with a new baby– not easy! She requires a lot more attention than my first. I recently started using my Moby wrap while I cleaned the house. Not too bad. She starts to squirm out of it after 20 minutes so I have to work fast.
But I love being a mother. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love watching my kids grow and learn new things. A is starting to balance on her own. She’ll be walking before we know it. O just finished her first year in preschool. You should watch her recite the pledge of allegiance. TOO CUTE!
So I raise a glass (yes! a wine glass!!) to all those mothers out there. The ones staying up at all hours of the night to comfort a sick child. To the ones who will stop at nothing to provide for their families. To the ones who work multiple jobs to make ends meet. The ones who will do anything to make sure their kids are happy, healthy and safe. To all those men and women who have assumed the role of mother to care for a child that is not their own. And to the ones who love unconditionally so that their kids know love. I salute you.
Here I am, on the eve of my little girl’s 4th birthday and a rush of emotions has taken over me. She’s fast asleep and I’m scrambling to get her backpack in order for preschool tomorrow. Of course, I forget to wash her bedding so I’m up waiting on the washer so I can put them to dry. I also have to find some way to haul 15 birthday cupcakes to her class tomorrow.
I’m so excited for her– her special day! She doesn’t know what awaits. Singing at school, a special video call from grandma and grandpa and, after school, pedis!! She is going to freak. She has always been infatuated with my makeup and, as she calls them, my color nails. She’s never had her fingernails or toenails painted. I was so against it! Somehow I felt that if I exposed her to makeup and nail polish, she would want to grow up too fast. I just didn’t want that for her. I wanted her to care less about beauty products and care more about having fun and being a kid. Running around, learning new things, going outside and getting sweaty.
I’ve thought long and hard –when is the right time? And you know, I don’t have that answer. But I also know that the more you refuse, the more they push back. It can’t be no, no, no all the time. So instead I decided to use this time to treat her (just the toes, no fingernails). And with all the attention her little sister requires, this will be a nice time with just us two.
Oh the joys of parenting. Sleep deprivation, selflessness, cluttered home, the death of quiet time, endless need for caffeine (see 1st example) — it can be overwhelming. So at what time did I decide to have another? Funny how mother nature tricks you into thinking that its “not that bad” and then the second one comes along and you remember, “Why did I have another? What was I thinking?”
That’s right, it was because you wanted to grow your family. Although I keep telling myself that two is the right number for my family, I can’t help but to think about a third. I know it wouldn’t be easy for our family situation. Thankfully I have my mother-in-law living with us so she is an at home daycare provider for us. But if she was to move out, I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to afford daycare for two, much less three! It’s bittersweet when I think about my current situation. I love my girls, but am I done? It sounds so permanent when I think that THIS is it. It makes it feel like it’s the end of one part of my life. Like when you graduate high school or college, or when you move out on your own. Well for the past 4 years, I’ve been growing my family and to think that we are done with that it makes me kind of sad. I’ve had such a hard time getting rid of my maternity clothes– you know, just in case.
So when do you decided that you are done? I’m not sure, but I know that I can’t dwell on this thought for too long because I have two amazing little girls that need me to show them how to be strong, independent little ladies. I have two amazing little girls who need to be taught how to ride bikes, play sports, dance, cook and be kind, compassionate human beings.
My little one is almost 8 months and, to my surprise, I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Definitely not the case with my first babe. Kid #1 weighed in at almost 10 pounds and momma at nearly 200 on due day! I remember going to my last doctor’s appointment before delivery and cringing at the scale that read 1-9-6. Of course weight gain is expected during pregnancy, but 60 pounds? I struggled losing the baby weight for nearly 2 years. I kind of just accepted this new mom bod. I eventually slimmed down, but still carried around “the pooch” and just figured it was something I had to live with.
My second is a different story. The weight seemed to melt off. Not because I was eating super great, maybe OK, but not great. I still indulged in my fair share of ice cream and chocolate. I chalked it up to my breastfeeding – burn 500 calories a day, right? So what could be to blame (or praise) for this weight loss? That’s when it hit me! I’m damn near starving myself! Having two kids along with work, keeping a tidy home, laundry, making time for friends, making time to work out, cooking dinner, making time for the hubby, taking kid #1 to school, taking care of kid #2’s every need, it can be exhausting! When do I make time to eat?
I fell into the mom-zone. Taking care of everything and everybody else regardless of my well being. But that’s our job, right? Making sure everyone else is happy. But what about our happiness? Yes, my family means the world to me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to be alone sometimes. Sometimes we just want to be able to do what we like. Go shopping without having a toddler to look after. Go to the gym without having to be called down to change your babies diaper. Book a spa day and not feel guilty for leaving your family at home.
So this year will be different. This year I will make an effort to practice self-love. I’m a firm believer that if momma is happy then your family will be happy. If momma is happy, she is present in the moments that most affect her family. She is attentive to her family’s needs. She is available to be there for her kids and her significant other. Being happy is about fulfilling your needs along with your family’s, not suppressing them. So do something that makes you happy today.
It’s been just over a year, and I must admit that it’s been the most life-changing experience. I read all the books, heard all the stories, but had no clue how my life would be transformed. I thought I was prepared. I read “What to Expect While Expecting” twice before Olivia was born but had no idea what to expect. I can’t even tell you what my life was before she was born. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. I feel like although your life is altered, you just adjust to those changes. Life goes on. Olivia has been such a blessing. She has taught me about patience and that parenting is different. No book or person can tell you exactly how it will be. Books are great for reference, but there is no way to predict your child’s personality. And even when you think you have it figured out, your child goes through a “phase.”
So to all those soon-to-be mothers, I only have one piece of advice. Have faith in yourselves and your abilities. Motherhood is a journey. You learn as you go. It’s great to hear advice from others, but only you know what is best for you and your child. And it’s OK if you don’t get it right the first time. You both will learn from each other. I really feel that women have their instincts but we are sometimes hesitant to act on them. Trust your gut!