Hi friends! It feels like it’s been forever since I posted an update here, but today I’m in the mood to talk about motherhood. These days I barely have time to check off all my to-do items in a given day, let alone time to write. But baby is napping, and I’ve learned that when baby naps it’s time for me to either A) sleep or B) go wild on my to-do list. But today I wanted to use this precious free time to reflect a bit on what my transition to motherhood has been like.
Growing up, I was never a kid person, and the thought of a lugging around a small drooling human did not sound appealing…like, at all. I understood that parenthood is a mixed bag; there are highs and lows; pros and cons. At the time, though, I couldn’t relate to parents or even to my peers who wanted to parents someday–that’s how unsure I was about my feelings toward being a mom. However, my perspective has changed dramatically since Lilah’s arrival, and I hope that my experience is informative and helpful to anyone who might feel as scared of motherhood as I felt! If you have anxiety about becoming a new parent, consider the following:
1) The first two weeks aren’t a glimpse of your future with an infant
Not sure if other moms can relate to this, but the first two weeks felt like a total suckfest to me. I was SO tired, breastfeeding was miserable, I was in pain and I was going stir crazy from being stuck in the house. Lilah’s schedule was so unpredictable that on some days I wouldn’t even bother putting on a shirt because I knew I’d be feeding her like every 10 minutes. She was freaking out because this world was all new to her, I was freaking out because my world was turned upside down and we all seriously needed some sleep.
After the initial excitement of her arrival died down, we were able to get back into our routines. I’d say that life stabilized when she was about a month old. Getting back to work helped me a lot, and getting the hang of breastfeeding was a lifesaver. Having support from family and friends was also indispensable. If your first two weeks as a new parent feel awful, don’t fret…chances are that things will rapidly get better after that!
2) The cliches you hear aren’t always true
I can’t tell you how many conversations I had while pregnant that went like this:
“Oh, so this is your first?”
“Well, get ready for those sleepless nights! And spend as much time with your husband now as you can, because you’ll barely get any time together after the baby is born. Oh, and you’ll want to travel as much as you can before she gets here too…it’s almost impossible to travel with a baby!”
People say a lot of things about motherhood. And everyone who said things like this to me had good intentions, and there is certainly truth in some of these cliches. Yes, I sleep less, yes, my husband and I are busier than before and yes, traveling is not as easy as it once was. But in Lilah’s short life she’s already joined us on a couple of trips and many fun outings. We’ve had to make some adjustments, but I feel like we’ve mostly maintained the same adventurous lifestyle that we had before she came along. Now, I have to put this disclaimer here just to be fair: Lilah is a pretty content baby, and she has no major health issues. Every baby is different. But this is my experience, so take what you’d like from it 🙂 Being a mom is extremely fulfilling in many ways!
3) You won’t ‘lose your personality’ once you become a parent
Some people say that they feel so weighed down and burnt out by the responsibilities of parenthood that they’ve ‘lost themselves’. They don’t enjoy the same things anymore, they feel out of touch with other people, they feel like they don’t have any purpose beyond parenthood, etc. Maybe it’s easier to feel this way with multiple children (I’m sure it’s SUPER tough to deal with more than one!), but if anything I feel like motherhood has amplified my personality. It has validated my strengths, tested my weaknesses and exposed my insecurities in a way that nothing else has before. It’s helped me prioritize the things that are most important to me and has gotten me excited about passing on my passions and interests to little Lilah.
I do think, though, that I’ve benefited a ton from surrounding myself with supportive friends. Motherhood can be isolating, especially when most of your close friends can’t relate (yet! Hehe). But when you have awesome friends who don’t mind hanging with a baby in tow, you won’t feel as alone, even in the rough moments.
4) Parenthood seriously chills you out
Before Lilah came along I feel like I was uptight about a lot of things that just did not matter. If I got an important text message or email I’d feel like I needed to respond THAT VERY SECOND. If an issue cropped up with my business or work it needed to be addressed RIGHT AWAY! If my house was untidy I needed to start cleaning THAT MOMENT. Now, I check my email a couple times a day like a normal human being and I don’t panic if my living room is in disarray. Heck, I’m so chilled out at this point that I don’t even flinch if Lilah gets vom all over my clothes or if one of her adorable outfits is obliterated by a poop nuke. Life just rolls on forward!
5) You can still find time for yourself as a parent
…it just takes some coordinating. Taylor and I try to switch off baby duty so that we get time each day to work on tasks that are important to us. Babies also sleep a ton, and these long naps can be great for getting things done (or for sleeping if you need some extra zzz’s…everything is easier as a parent when you can sleep!)
I’ve found that I’ve become hyper efficient and productive during Lilah’s nap times because when she’s awake, she normally needs something from me. When she’s thoroughly entrenched in dreamland, I work like a mad woman to catch up everything I want to get done. I normally don’t take time to relax until late at night. It leads to some tiring days, but I feel good knowing that I’m still accomplishing my goals while caring for a little one.
Parenthood has been an exciting adventure so far, and I’ve tried to approach it with a positive attitude and an open mind. Some days are hard and demoralizing, there’s no doubt about that. But days are exciting and refreshing. Like everything else in life, mindset is key: parenthood is what you make of it!