Last week we met up at the park with the beautiful Norah and her mom...
It was pretty cute stuff watching those two share a swing. (By the way - swing sharing is the way to go - no worries about baby toppling out of the swing - he or she is completely balanced! :)
Norah has been home about 2 months - seeing her made me think about the time when Micah had just come home. Let me preface by saying that I never really posted about how hard it was because - well, I was afraid to sound like I was complaining - and it's really hard to feel like you'll sound whiny when you know so many people are waiting for their little ones to come home. So - I think I'm finally in a place where you all know that I'm not complaining - I'm just talking, so please don't think I am for a minute not eternally grateful for my son and for the great privilege of being a mom.
So, here it is - it was HARD. I had no idea what we were in for. There really is no way to describe it, but I really look back on those first two months and only see a blur. This blur included the following: extreme happiness, sobbing, exhaustion, elation, confusion, frustration, laughter and more sobbing. And that was just me - add to that little Micah's confusion at being in a completely new place with new people! It was especially confusing that I did not feel like I was walking on air ALL THE TIME! Wasn't that how it was supposed to be? I had waited for and wanted this for so long - shouldn't I be smiling instead of crying?
I should say that most of the time I was smiling. But, there were the times, I can't lie, when I felt so out of sorts. Being a new mom is so sudden - you're suddenly expected to know everything this baby needs and when - but most of the time you don't. It takes a while to figure it out. I used to agonize over the naps - the scheduling, the feeding - and how to somehow fit a shower in there without having my house look like crap.
I was lucky - I have a very close friend who has four children - ages 10, 8, 3, and 1 1/2. I turned to her a lot during those first few months and she would patiently listen, and then say, "Every day will get better, I promise." I clung to those words- It will get better. This doesn't mean that things were bad, or that I wasn't enjoying motherhood, I was just having such a hard time figuring it all out. It was hard to accept that I didn't enter mommyhood with the perfection I thought I would have. I remember saying to her, "I really thought I was going to be great at this, but I feel like I suck at it!" So, my frustration was more with myself than with Micah. I never felt frustrated by him, but more by my inability to figure it out.
Around this time I also found a really funny book that helped a bit called I was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids. That's kind of how I felt at first too! :) Before Micah came home I just knew I was going to be great! But, since that wasn't how I felt after he came home - well, it was good to see in writing that I wasn't alone.
The truth is - my friend was right - it did get better. SOOO much better. We started to fall into a routine that worked. The spit-up decreased (oh the spit-up!), the midnight pooping stopped, naps were finally on a schedule, and I started to understand my child and what he needed. Now, don't get me wrong - it isn't all buckets of cherries all the time - let it be known that I just ordered two books on toddler discipline because our son has started throwing massive fits and we're at a loss. We're still learning, still figuring it out - and I expect that will continue for about... well, forever really. But, I feel way more comfortable in my role of mom - I don't hold myself to super-high expectations that have no place in reality. I know that I'll make mistakes, but I also know that I'll learn from them and we'll move on from there.
So, why am I posting this? I think it helps other moms to not feel alone about this stuff. Some moms take to those first few months and actually do feel like they're walking on air all the time. I know some of these moms - and I think that's wonderful. But, it's not always like that for all of us, and it's good to know you're not alone in that.