As the year comes to a close, Reflection seems to be my biggest assignment. (Believe me. I have become an insomniac over it.) It’s like my mind is calculating and reevaluating each moment passed, moments I vaguely recall, almost fleeting. Moments that have been blurred in the back of my mind. And then there are the dark moments, the real dark ones which I absolutely choose to forget, though I doubt I will ever attain that. They’ll always be lurking around. The back of my mind is just a hiding place for them to haunt me perpetually. However, there are those other moments, the incredible moments!-which have seeped into my core as I breathe them still today, and with that, I realize the most significant element of all, the most obvious, was transformation of self. I have changed. That is clear as a bell. I am no longer the free bird flapping her wings, living aimlessly in this alluring and spirited City. I am no longer the one without agenda on weekends, discovering one of the loves of my life, New York. (How I miss the City!) I breathed and exhaled without a single care in the world as I had nothing to lose then. But! Now I have everything to lose. I am a Mother now. My son is my gift. My home is my son.
I have undeniably lost a sense of freedom. And I miss it. However, I have gained so much more. Ishaan. His smile, laughter, sweet voice, the way he says “Mama,” how he calls for me the moment I am about to step out of a room and gestures his hands (opens and closes his hands quickly) for me to come. His rosy cheeks when he wakes up or steps out into the cold. His scent and warmth. I’d miss out on an irresistible, charming, loveable son! I wouldn’t trade this gift for the world.
(I’m still trying to figure out if a layer of myself has been stripped away, or has a layer just been added and I’m the one that needs to learn to find the balance between those two. Something to work on in 2015.)
We all heard it before. Having a baby changes things. So I always relied on that sentiment before I became pregnant. And I always knew how much change when people said it. I saw it first hand with my Mother. So I have changed. My husband has changed. Our marriage has changed. Life has ultimately changed. My aspirations no longer come first. Ishaan does. Motherhood is in many ways my priority, but my dreams haven’t died. I have them. I long for them. They just don’t take precedence and I’m ok with that because with Ishaan, I have a new dream.
The first three months were my biggest challenge as I was trying to adapt to this new life, and once I did adapt the next challenge is finding a balance. Being the capable mother and the writer/blogger I have longed to be. Finding that balance between motherhood, which brings new meaning in life, and writing, is a challenge. I find myself sacrificing most of my writing time to work harder on my other dream, my son. I won’t deny there are days I would like to have my cake and eat it too. Be the mom I know I can be, I want to be, and be the writer too. I only wish to write everyday while raising my son. But as I have learned you can’t do both. I have to choose and I did. I choose my son first. I just couldn’t, wouldn’t, have it any other way.
I admit. There are some decisions I have made this past year which make my life more complicated, difficult. I say this and the following with no regrets as I stand by my decisions. I chose not to do the CIO. It takes a strength I suppose I do not have to do that. I strongly oppose it. I choose to cook Ishaan’s food as opposed to buying baby food. I rarely put him in the playpen. Even when I have to do some chores. Instead, I put him in his walker and have him follow me, knowing that the possibility of him walking towards what he can’t touch is the most likely. When my son cries. I go to him. I don’t have date nights. Honestly, my husband and I can’t imagine a scenario without Ishaan, however much we have enjoyed the two times we did go out on our own this year. I don’t do a girls night. I don’t really do much for myself, other than write or take a long warm shower, when I can. Perhaps this is more about me. About the person I have become. My new identity which I am still getting to know. Do I like the new me? I undeniably love the emotions this new me evokes, all thanks to Ishaan, of course. And so motherhood has become an encompassing identity. One which I embrace with fingers clenched. An identity which keeps me more grounded than before.
With that I leave you to lessons I have learned this past year. All are personal and maybe it’s just me! – But hey! Maybe you can relate to them too.
Things I learned: My FIRST year of Motherhood
- LOVE for your child is bigger than Life.
- Everything should be done one step at a time. This isn’t a corporate job where multitasking is required or else! Stop! Take it one step at a time because I guarantee you, I promise you, you’ll drive yourself crazy.
- There is no such thing as sleeping in. No such thing. It’s a thing of the past. A luxury. Not even when your child finally sleeps through the night. Sleeping in becomes a distant memory and you’ll find yourself missing it, but you still wouldn’t trade the sleepless nights.
- You will be transformed in ways you did not know. In ways that are new and challenging. The change is inevitable.
- Sitting and eating are also luxuries now. You’ll acclimate to eating while either standing at the kitchen counter, singing, talking, or making funny faces to your child, or chasing your child as they venture around their home in their daily discovery hunt.
- It doesn’t matter that you’re always tired. You’ve got to put one foot in front of the other and keep going.
- There will be more than a handful of opinions. Many from those closest to you. Listen. Say thank you, but don’t forget your intuition. And trust it! After all, as they say, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
- You will become engrossed with your new role. There will be times you’ll think of the old you, and you’ll wonder what happened to that girl who would wake up on Saturday mornings with not a single care in the world except making herself a cup of coffee and reading a book.
- You’ll miss her. You’ll miss her more than you know.
- This one is very important: take the time to get to know your spouse as a parent now. Do not have family over all the time, it will rob you of your moments as new parents. And you’ll never get them back. Remember the transition isn’t easy. There’s a new person in your life which requires all your attention, meaning you will give either little to no attention to your spouse. So you have to make sure both of you set some barriers with family members and remember now that you have created and formed your own family.
- As first time parents you will need your privacy more than you ever did before. Don’t worry about who that offends. Just make sure you have that privacy!
- Forget ever having a hot meal. You’re lucky if it’s lukewarm. I’m talking ice cold.
- Patience. You will be tested. Many times. And you think you’ll want to either go to a corner and cry, maybe scream into a pillow, or hurl yourself out of a window, but you won’t. And you’ll get better at it. Trust me.
- Breast feeding does hurt! A lot.
- What once was important becomes inconsequential now. Like brushing your teeth in the mornings. (You are lucky if you can pencil that in the mornings.) Putting on makeup. Doing your nails. You’ll soon realize putting your hair in a bun makes a lot more sense now than it ever did before.
- You have about 60 seconds to take care of business while on the toilet. So hurry! If you have magazines in your bathroom throw them away. They will only become decoration.
- You’ll become insanely obsessed with sleep training and it will drive you mad. I say TOSS those books and just enjoy the f*&king ride dude.
- You will become a giant goof ball and find yourself making weird faces in the middle of a fancy restaurant all to see the smile you learn to live for.
- Your clothes will always be dirty. You are a life size napkin. Get use to it.
- You will love the moments where you step aside and watch your husband and son. Seeing that love will bring you solace and keep you warm at night. I promise.
- You will get unsolicited advice. And it will make your skin crawl when it comes from someone who doesn’t have kids! To those, feel free to sarcastically ask them, “Do you have kids?”
- You will find that everyone thinks they know what is best for your child and disregard that perhaps you may know too or maybe more. After all you do spend 24/7 with your LO.
- You’ll appreciate time. It flies. And there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you need and want to do.
- Your home becomes one giant toy store. Clutter and mess will inevitably become a part of everyday life for you. And you’ll hate it. Absolutely hate it. You’ll miss the clean, organized home you once had.
- You will become a caffeine junkie. Thanks to the sleepless nights due to teething!
- If you are a DIY mom, you will spend more time in the kitchen than you’d like. It really will become a part of you.
- Having a baby means team work ya’ll. Team work. Make sure both of you are hands on to retain sanity and peace in your marriage.
- You’ll see Life Is Beautiful from a completely new perspective, and it is more heart wrenching than before. You’ll applaud the father and know that you too would do that for your child.
What about you? What were your first time lessons as a new mom? I’d love to hear them!