Today is my first Mother’s Day as a mom. It was four and a half short months ago where I gained a new job title, one that will last a life time: mom. While I was pregnant, I knew motherhood would be hard. I knew there would be challenges. And if I am honest, I wasn’t sure how good I would be at being a loving mom through those challenges. “Mom” is the hardest job I’ve had. [harder than scooping manure on the farm as a child! 😉 ]
I am sure a lot of my other first-time-mom friends can relate to this: there is A LOT of pressure to do everything “right” as a mom. I have felt an immense amount of expectations of what my baby should be doing and if he isn’t doing it, it’s my fault. He should be taking great naps, sleeping through the night and be on a consistent schedule. I’ve heard it all: let him cry, get him as soon as he starts crying, don’t get up at night with him anymore, give him formula to make him sleep longer, breastfeed for a year (at least), follow Baby-Wise, feed and sleep on a schedule, but it’s better if you feed on demand, start rice cereal at 4 months, no 6 months, read this book, have you tried “that”, well my baby… And the list could continue.
I don’t say all this to sound cynical or ungrateful for help/advice I’ve been given but to help prove that motherhood is hard. I often feel at a loss of what to do. My second job is a teacher. I went to college for four years, completed an entire year of student teaching, paid $75,000, took over 40 credit hours to learn how to teach Pre-k through 2nd grade. And what “prep” did I take to become a mom (the hardest, most important job there is)? I read a few books that each told me something different, sat through a 3 hour birthing class at Holland Hospital, and paid the hospital bills a month after delivery.
Even though I often feel like I am falling short as a mom: [August isn’t sleeping through the night, he won’t take good naps, he needs to be rocked to sleep, “crying it out” only results in an hours worth of crying and a worked up baby, I probably won’t breastfed for a year, I’ve given him formula every now and then, he’s eaten rice cereal before the doctor said it was okay…]
There is one thing I know I AM doing right. I am loving him more than I ever thought possible. Throwing out the “schedule” and “by the books” to snuggle and take a nap together on the couch. Allowing “family cuddle” time in our bed at 4:45 a.m. when August won’t go back to sleep, and providing him with a safe, secure home. And the the most important thing I know that we are doing right? Praying and working towards raising him to know and love the Lord and in return loving others.
Motherhood is hard. Never before has my heart melted when a baby looks up at me smiles and gives a big “ooogah!”. Never before did I think I would be “okay” with my new lack of freedom. Never before did I think being pooped, peed and spit up on wouldn’t phase me. Never before would I have found satisfaction in aspirating boogers from my baby’s nose. Never before did I think I would find the most rewarding, joyful job I could ever ask for.
My heart is full. My cup overflow. My love for August will only grow deeper. Here’s to the little boy who has taught me a whole new type of love!