*Written nearly two years ago, but never published..until now!*
On a scale of 1 to awesome, tonight might fall onto the not-so-awesome side of the scale. It’s 8:56pm on a Saturday night and we’re sitting at the 90 minute mark for my husband and I to get our 15 month old to sleep. I went in the last three times, to no avail, so now I get to put my feet up for the next half an hour while Dad tries some kind of sleeping Voodoo so we can have some semblance, albeit in separate rooms so I can write this article, of an evening to ourselves. Teamwork makes the dream work. So what would prompt me to write a post about how awesome being a mom is when I’ve been infant-wrangling for the better part of my evening? Because I’m tired of reading article after article about how much being a parent sucks! It’s not like life is rainbows, unicorns and leprechauns over here (what, you don’t have leprechauns in your happy fantasyland – Branch out!) It’s not as if I’m immune to fatigue (I’ve got an auto-immune condition, trust me, I know what being tired is). But at the end of a long day, week, month, all the awesome stuff is truly what resonates. So if it’s the wee hours of morning, you’re rocking your little one to sleep, or catching up on your “socials” during nap-time, maybe some of this will resonate with you:
- Seeing the world through his eyes has been mind-blowing
There is nothing, NOTHING, more amazing, than watching my son discover some new texture, sensation, smell, scene, object, just about ANYTHING for the first time. From the throwing his little arms up in the air to feel the wind slip through his tiny little fingers, to tasting raspberries for the first time, to hearing the sound of a steam engine, to seeing a horse clop down the sidewalk towards him. As adults, we all have firsts, but it’s different. Our adult consciousness functions on a level of awareness – EVERYTHING in the world is brand new to these little minds.
2) Everything they own is adorable
Little socks, shoes, hats, sleepers, jeans, toothbrushes, sippy cups, other than their transport gear, everything they own is miniature and I can’t get enough of it. Doing his laundry is one of my favourite chores of the week. I almost don’t even care that there’s baby sock bandits hiding in my washing machine because some days I’d have better luck finishing the Sunday New York Times Crossword than finding a matching pair of socks.
3) I rarely get Fomo
Now, I’m willing to admit this might be an age related thing. I’m in my mid-to-late thirties and have been fortunate enough to have experienced some pretty cool things. I’ve travelled extensively (still do), had a few careers (still have one), had plenty of nights on the town, and been to my fair share of soirees. It’s not that I’ve bid permanent adieu to my social life, but it does sit on the back burner and I’m okay with that. I waited almost 10 years to start a family and I’m relishing every moment I have with him while he’s still little.
4) I’ve mastered the 5 minute face
Two awesome things have happened since becoming a mom. The first being I spend A LOT less on cosmetics. And second, I take no more than 5 minutes to get ready (unless it’s a special occasion). My make-up routine (if at all) comprises of some under-eye concealer, bit of shadow, quick eyeliner and a couple of dabs of foundation so I don’t look like the Crypt-Keeper when I’m wheeling my grocery cart around the grocery store.
5) Baby Giggles
I’m sorry, but there’s no better, more adorable sound in the world. It’s hearty, from the belly, joyous, pure. My son laughs, everyday. Even on his most miserable of days, when his poor little teeth are grinding their way up through those tender little gums, he still giggles when the dog brings him a ball to throw, or when I make goofy faces at him in the mirror. He finds the joy in insignificant moments, and makes the significant.
6) Joining the parenthood club
You don’t have to be friends, or to be from the same neighbourhood, or in many cases, you don’t even have to come from the same part of the world: Parenthood is an exclusive, not so exclusive club, open to all who have tiny humans. Besides being a good parent (and that’s open for interpretation), the membership rules are fabulously flexible. Which means, there are oodles of other parents out there to commiserate with, whether you have a child with special needs, a child who hates sleeping, or a child that thinks peanut butter and cheese are the ultimate food group. Parenthood is this awesome cross-cultural shared experience, that translates into every language around the world.
7) Realizing that MY mom was a total badass
My son has two doting parents, one of whom stays home with him 24/7, and the other who spends the better part of his non-working hours playing with and entertaining him. My mom was a single mom when I was born until she married my adopted dad a few years later, and then my baby brother came along. Though she always gushes about how “easy I was” or how “I slept through the night from night one”, it still must have been difficult being on her own with a newborn and not having someone to give her a moment to herself. I have an immeasurable amount of respect for single parents out there. I raise my hands to you and thank you for doing the work, day in and day out.
8) Realizing that Skipping chores to play with toy trains is totally worth it
This was a tough one to let go of. I was raised in a militant home, and I don’t mean that metaphorically. My parents served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which meant our house was always spotless. Though I’m not quite as disciplined, I do have a few chore-related idiosyncrasies I had ease up on because, SURPRISE, babies don’t always adhere to YOUR schedule. I do the chores that cause me the most anxiety, and the rest, I rationalize their importance and let goooooooo!
9) Caring less about what people think!
This probably comes from a combination of age and wisdom. But it also comes from an innate desire to be a better human, and realizing that it’s work that only you can do, on your own, and not under the influence of others. Yes, the world of parenting is a minefield of judgement, opinions, and information-overload. We can’t even say that there isn’t a handbook for parenting anymore, because, well, there’s the internet. But as a new mom, a time that I was told I would feel frightened (I did), unsure (all the time), and overwhelmed (sometimes), I found a new level of confidence amidst all of the uncertainty. Trust. Your. Gut.
10) The ability to love on another level
I am grateful, everyday, that motherhood, while it has physically been the most difficult thing my body has ever endured, emotionally, it has been my greatest gift. My heart swelled ten-thousand times the moment my tiny son was placed on my chest. His first cry shattered my stillness, my soul quaked, and my life truly was complete in that moment. It’s a love that you can read about, but you can’t truly feel it until you adopt or birth a child of your own. I fully acknowledge all of those Mamas out there that are robbed of this early positive emotional experience. Mamas whose earliest encounters with their babies meant grappling with depression, anxiety, feelings of resentment or anger. I want to wrap my arms around every one of those Mamas and tell them, it’s going to be okay.