When you find out you’re pregnant, you are filled with so much emotion, like all the emotions at once. Shock, excitement, worry, stress, love, doubt and fear…to name a few.
I know I was. I took a test when my then fiancé, I had just gotten proposed to 3 days earlier, was out golfing and I knew I was few days late. I took the test and waited…two lines popped up. And I literally fell down. Me…the girl who had always talked about having babies…me…the girl who had a running list of boy and girl names in the notes app on her iPhone…me…the girl who had been imagining her babies with her fiancé for the last 10 years, because we knew we wanted babies with each other since high school…me… the girl that had a box in the closet with things for her first future baby. I fell to the ground, hyperventilating…watching my dreams and hopes for my fitness goals, career goals and now dream wedding, just flush down the drain. Being a mama had been my actual goal in life since I was 8 years old. So why was this my reaction. Because from the moment I knew about her, now Radley, I knew wanted to give her a life better than the one I had right then, I immediately ran through a list of things I hadn’t done yet, goals I hadn’t completed, things that weren’t good enough yet…like my then full time bartending job, side personal training job, tiny rent house with terrible insulation, not being married, not having medical insurance, my fiancé not being done with school and also being a bartender. I felt like I was handed a bucket of lemons…a few days after the new year…after I had made so many plans up in my head. I thought, “great, this is just perfect timing”…and it was, I just hadn’t figured it out yet.
Babies have perfect timing…whether you realize it or not is the real kicker.
We acted. We moved the wedding up and got completely new careers set up, literally out of now where, and started businesses, bought our first home and welcomed our new baby into that home 2 weeks after we moved in.
Now, back to being pregnant…Family, friends and complete strangers will give you their unsolicited advice on basically everything about being pregnant, delivery, punishment, rewards, babysitting, sleep training, teething, co-sleeping, discipline, diet, exercise, bedtime, reading, baby food….and the list goes on. Don’t freaking listen.
You go through you whole pregnancy imagining the type of mama YOU will be, while brushing off the weird comments and opinions you receive when you are pregnant and really try to picture you knew role and existence with a tiny human. Then you go through delivery…and this is probably the time you realize that you aren’t in control. At least I did. And I feel like I have been figuring out my way ever since that day. Rolling with the punches and figuring out my new role as a mother and wife and all the other hats we mamas wear every single day. Figuring out what works for us, our family, our marriage and our baby. There are so many opinions out there and ready to be given, but you have to listen to your body, it will tell you what is right. This is the most natural thing I’ve ever done.
For me, I’ve gotten softer in some areas of my personality…maybe its the mama hormones running through me. Not that I’ve become a door mat but I do/can put up with a lot more bullshit these days. Don’t get me wrong since having Radley I seriously always carry a weapon on me (because the world is scary and people are crazy) and could probably kill someone with my bear teeth to protect her but I’ve softened up about a lot of other stuff I swear. Doing the most I can to make sure everyone is happy, healthy, and feeling good all while trying to keep the house looking like we didn’t have a tornado blow through it…blah blah blah, said every mom ever. Does a clean house happen every day? no. Do I let her unroll an entire roll of toilet paper so I can sit on the toilet with out having a small human crawling all over my body? Yes.
<——(it happens, if you say it doesn’t, I know you are lying) When I tell her no does it always mean no? No, she can be pretty convincing, and I can get pretty tired. When she’s crying and won’t stop, does it make me want to cry…you betcha. When she finally stops, do I look at her with all the love in the world because she is the greatest thing I’ve ever done…yeah, seriously I can’t explain the love, it hurts.
That’s one thing “they” don’t talk about, the infamous “they” we all refer to, how many emotions you can feel in a single moment. I can tell you I have felt completely depleted, exhausted and on the edge of tears but also so fulfilled, proud…in the same moment. Motherhood is weird, and it’s even weirder what we choose to talk about, hide, share, lie about or judge other moms about. This is literally the hardest job on the planet, with more judgment from women who are doing the exact same job! It is not always pretty. Its hard work. Sometimes thankless. Sometimes undervalued. Sometimes full of guilt. Whether you stay home or go to work, because you can or you can’t or want to, you are doing a hard job. Social media makes a lot of moms look like they have it all together…they dont y’all. They just pushed al the crap out of the view of the frame to get the perfect picture. They are dealing with diaper rash, fussy teethers, milestones/mental leaps, doctors appointments, stress within their marriage and being shit on, yes literally shit and thrown up on… JUST LIKE YOU…AND ME.
There is no “Perfect Mom”, we are all trying our best and that is what it is all about.
After my 13 months of experience I can say that there have been many days I’ve wanted to scream, and I did. Many days I’ve wanted to cry and I did. Many days I’ve wanted to throw the dinner plate with the food I just spent hours making right on the floor in protest of all my feelings or right at my husband for whatever reason I was annoyed of then ;), he gets the flack when Im overly tired, haha poor husbands. But I can tell you I’ve had more moments than I can count of looking down at my sweet girl while she nurses, at 2 am when she was 2 weeks old, at 6 am when she was 6 months old and at 8pm when I rock to her sleep every single night in that wooden chair, and I think to myself…how f***ing lucky am I. I am the luckiest woman in the world, this sweet girl chose me to be her mama. And chose the love of my life to be her daddy. And for every hard day we have we have 13 good easy ones. SHE is everything to me. There was a time I question what I was going to really do with my life. I felt mediocre. I felt like I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. But this girl changed everything for us. Yeah its hard being married. It’s hard being parents. It’s hard being business owners. It’s hard to chase a dream. It’s hard to take care of a home and cook three meals every. single. day. BUT YOU KNOW WHATS HARDER?…NOT. Not having this life would be way harder.
I could complain about the dishes pilling up every day. Or the four loads of clean laundry around the washer and dryer…heck I don’t even know if its clean or dirty to be honest. I could complain about having to take our four cats and four dogs in and out of the house all day long because I am the one usually home. I could complain about not always getting my workout in or having time to write blog posts like this one. But instead, I try to be grateful. I try to have the perspective of, what if I didn’t get to stay home and cook all these homemade meals for my husband and daughter…there would be no dishes but, it would be fast food or pre-made baby food(its our preference to make her food, so no one take offense to that!) and neither of us would want that. If I didn’t have dogs or cats I wouldn’t have to constantly be letting animals in and out and shuffling around when one comes in and one goes out, but then we wouldn’t have had the years of being dogs parents before being Rads parents, and Raja our mutt might still be in the shelter or worse, dead.
The opposite of what you think is the problem or what is bothering you, might not always be what you want either. You don’t always know what it would mean for those things to be different, what choices would have had to be different. But, we can choose to see the good in the things that we have. Yeah most of those annoying things seem like not a big deal…and honestly they aren’t. But as most mamas could probably attest to, is that at the end of your day, which usually starts at 6am or earlier and ends at 8 when the kids are down, the last thing you want to do is smell four loads of laundry to figure out whether your husbands jeans are clean or dirty.
But really, it’s all good. Gimme all the dirty laundry and i’ll being the jean sniffer for the rest of our days, it means I still have my kids running around and my husband chasing them, GETTING THOSE JEANS DIRTY. The hardest most fulfilling job in the world is that of a mother.
I live for this. In ways I never thought I would. This girl has propelled us, from the moment we knew she was coming, the doors have opened and we haven’t stopped walking through them. Besides everything we have done in the last 13 months since she has been born and the last year and a half of us being married, I have also found my niche. I have found where I am supposed to be. Right here, raising this girl, and showing mamas how to move their body. How to love their body, after all the changes and incredible transformations.
I love this work, it fuels me. I would have never known if I wasn’t a mama. Until you are stripped down bare, vulnerable, humbled, exhausted, physically and mentally pushed to where you didn’t think you were strong enough to go. But you did. And so did every mama beside you. We have so much more in common than what separates us. At the end of judgement, you find compassion, you find connection, you find your people. Go there. It’s nice, here.
We have had so much fun raising this girl. And we are only one year down. From the moment they put her face on mine, even while I was drugged up and both arms strapped down to the table, it was truelove. Her first smile made me cry, her first real laugh literally made me ball! Her first bath at home was hard for me, I couldn’t do much, but I bathed her in the kitchen sink and she basically fell asleep she loved it so much, its like she knew I needed this moment with her to be peaceful, because I didn’t get to do any of it in the hospital. Her waking up next to us every morning until 8 months old was so sweet and my dream come true, until we set up her big girl crib in her own room, the transition was way harder on me. Those “every 2 hour” feedings seemed like they’d never end and I couldn’t even believe how tired I was, but they did end. It seemed like I lived on the couch and watched so much tv because she would only really sleep unless she was on my chest, but that ended too. I couldn’t wait for her to start playing with toys because all she did was lay there or cry if I wasn’t holding her, now she has a hundred toys and I have to steal a hug whenever I can. I couldn’t wait to start feeding her food and until she could sit in her highchair so I could eat a hot meal, because it never failed as soon as my food was ready she would scream to be nursed…and now I am absolutely dreading the day we stop breastfeeding. Now she is running, climbing, emptying out drawers, sayings our names, petting the dogs, digging in the trash haha, flushing the toilet, washing her hands, saying yes and no, plays hide and seek, makes funny faces and noises, signing her words to us, doing the little ring stacker toy that every single baby has, and has had four teeth pop out since the day she turned one. She is a firecracker and I love her for it. These days seem long sometimes, but they are going so fast. I know it won’t be just me and her for long. I will miss these days when my heart only has space for her. The days that there is no comparison, no shared time, no passing her off because of another baby. Just me and Rad. I know I will miss this. She is the baby I’ve been dreaming of, but better, in every single way. Writing this post is making me smile thinking back on our year. Even when I say it’s gone so fast, if I really sit about all the special moments, if I really think hard, all those memories are there.
I have become a sillier, more creative, more flexible, more present, and a more loving version of myself because of her. I have made up songs, dances and have become a really good tickler. This is Motherhood.
Radley… she’s going to change the world, I know we all probably think this our of children, but I feel it in my bones. She is going to shake this place up. Travel to all the most beautiful places, meet the best people and save all the animals. A mama can only dream.
As for me, who knows, the greatest thing I ever do might just be the people I raise. And I’m totally proud of that.
Mamas, enjoy whatever short (but feels long) season you are in, because seasons change, and you’ll miss this one.