You're pregnant. You have the nursery all set. The cute little onesies in a drawer ready to go. The images of nuzzling your baby in your arms, and craddling your toddler while singing lullabys in a dreamy, misty glamour glow haze fill your head.
"Noooooooo! Stop pulling the dog's tail again." You rush in to save the poor 10lb furry creature looking at you in desperation from the clutches of peanut butter covered little fingers. You twist, pin, flip, and otherwise wrestle a wriggling 17 month old into a clean diaper only to realize that she somehow got poop on her sock in the process. After getting the pants on, the dirty diaper put safely away in the compost, and a fresh pair of socks on her, then you realize you're still in your PJs - not by choice, just lack of time - and that this only clean pair now also sports a fresh poop stain. Oh, and did I mention you haven't eaten, had only two sips of your coffee, and visited the bathroom with an audience because it's easier than the alternative (a screaming one year old)?
Welcome to Motherhood.
I knew it would be hard. There's a reason they say it's the hardest job on the planet. But I didn't expect how much of myself I would have to put aside. I had to put away my desires and wants from moment to moment and instead become accommodating to the needs of another human being. If I wanted to read, watch tv, sleep, or shower it didn't matter. What mattered was that she needed to be played with, held, burped, changed, fed, etc. etc. And it's not like she asks for it, she demands it. It's an expectation, a fact, without thanks. She doesn't turn to me and say, "Thank you Mama for putting aside showering and desperately needed sleep to get me dressed, changed and fed." She just goes about her day like it's expected. And that was not what I expected.
There were moments, especially in those early months, where even though I loved her totally and wholly, I resented her. I resented her for the demands she made on me, the sleep deprivation, and the difficulty of taking care of her. It's normal. You're whole life changes, and the life you had up until then is gone. I think there's a natural grieving process, and acceptance and understanding of yourself in this new role. At least that's the way it was for me.
I also didn't expect the amazement of watching her grow and learn and discover. I didn't expect how satisfied I would be sitting on the couch and cradling her while I stroke her hair. I didn't expect the joy I would feel at her pleasure. I didn't expect the patience of watching endless episodes of Sesame Street. I certainly didn't expect how entertaining and magical it would be to just look at her every single day.
Motherhood, it's not at all what I expected.
Are you a Mama with a story to tell?
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