I have no pride when it comes to admitting that motherhood is hard. Newborns are hard, toddlers are hard, keeping up appearances is hard, and keeping your marriage in tip top shape is hard.
With Cameron I struggled with guilt over giving up our easy, do-whatever-we-want life. Fast forward 20 months, and I think back to how ridiculous that was. With Eli I struggled with “stealing” the undivided attention away from Cameron. And then feeling like I am “mom”, nothing else. Fast forward a few weeks and I have settled into my position but made some changes as well so not to lose myself. (This is hard to write when your husband is in a different country for a week!)
These negative feelings that I associated with motherhood are valid, but I was missing the point entirely. I have been given these beautiful people to share God’s grace with, to raise to be people-lovers and share the gospel, and most importantly to change me, if not the world! I have been given them to give me a glimpse at the unconditional love that God has for me. How he feels about me is how I feel about my kids on some level.
Sure, I might not feel like my old self because my old self was SELFISH, I’m not selfish anymore, literally nothing is about me. It’s about our kids and making sure we nurture them and lead them correctly. But in that same breath I have to be okay, I have to be healthy and I have to take care of me. My kids need that. My husband needs that. I need that.
With that being said, here are some things I wish I knew about motherhood before I became a mom…
- Expect your life to change. Everything will change and then eventually you forget what it was like before. It is gets so much better. (Oh, p.s. I hate change!)
- There will be bad days. There will be days when you have to push through. You block out the tantrums and tiredness to make it to bedtime. But you will forget the bad days and cherish the good days, it’s a survival technique.
- Your marriage/relationship will be tested. My husband comes before my kids. What is a home without that foundation? It’s hard to fight for eachother when we have two other people that need us… “more…” what they really need is parents that hold eachother up and that tackle parenthood as a team. Make it happen.
- You will be so tired. It takes me less than five minutes to fall asleep at night which is unheard of. Most nights my entire body is exhausted from juggling the family. Take breaks, ask for help, and the kids won’t die if you turn the TV on.
- Your pre-kid parenting opinions mean nothing. You have no idea what you will/won’t allow, and your opinions about how other people parents will be thrown in your face. (This is directed mostly at myself, haha). No ice cream? I’ll take the sugar rush over the meltdown, thank you.
- You will lose your mind, but find your soul. It disguses itself as the feeling of inadequacy. I’m just a mom, I just take care of them, I just clean the house. What? That’s huge. That is you taking care of your family, that is the newest part of you. Embrace the “mom” but do things for the “non-mom” in you, for yourself. Pedicures, shopping alone, blogging, those are for me. Those things I do to keep my head clear and in the game.
Being a mom is hard, but it is the greatest thing I have ever done. Our marriage is tested and we are stretched thin most days but the season of little kids and lost identity is going to be short lived.
With all these new things comes pure enjoyment in hanging out with our kids. Going to dinner as a family, the zoo, play places, those are 900x more fun with kids. We have been on a few date nights (it’s becoming more regular) but we really do find a lot of enjoyment being with our kids! When Cameron is happy it can almost bring tears to my eyes. It’s fuel for Motherhood.
I can’t remember Cameron sleeping in our room, I can’t remember waking up in the middle of the night, that season for her has passed. We are in the thick of her learning to control/express her emotions. For Eli, he is just learning why the heck everything is so bright and cold here. It all changes and passes faster than you can say “I wish they were older!” Don’t forget that.