Monthly Archives: May 2012

On being a mom

I’ve been a mom for 51 days. (If I were more organized, I would have written this yesterday 50 days is more round than 51!). A friend asked me today how I like it. Here are some initial thoughts:

I love being a mom, but it’s nothing like what I expected.

1) I don’t feel different: When I was single, I thought that being married and having kids would make me feel different. Like passing through those milestones would somehow change who I am. And no doubt over the long-term, they will change me. But I don’t feel it right now. I didn’t feel it when I got married. I really thought that some magic transformation would take place and I would suddenly become and feel like a “Wife” and “Mother” like those are some different categories that get unlocked. And yet. I’m still me, with all of the good and bad. My circumstances and daily activities are different (Sometimes), but the person doing them is changing much more slowly than my “Status.”

2) I see my weakness: Having a newborn is hard. Being a wife is hard. Being a wife while having a newborn is taking everything I have. For the first time (maybe ever), I feel like I’ve met a challenge I can’t figure out. It’s like a crazy maze with hidden corridors, turns, and dead ends. I see my physical limitations (i need sleep!), my emotional limitations (if baby cries too much, momma cries!), and most of all, my spiritual limitations. I see afresh how selfish I am, how prideful, and how driven I am by circumstances. I also see (again) how much I fear man (crying baby in the restaurant or store? I will apologize 20 times).

3) I’m dependent: Suddenly, someone is dependent on me for everything: to eat, to sleep, for play. In turn, I’m more dependent on others: my husband, my mom, my mother-in-law, friends. I need help in tangible ways (weeding my garden, cooking dinner) and intangible (how do I get her to take longer naps? i need 5 minutes to myself!). Most of all, I’m finding myself more reliant on God (from the” Lord, please let her sleep/stop crying or help me to stay awake to keep her safe” to the “Lord, I have no idea how to be a mom and to raise my daughter to love and fear you” prayers). The verse “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” has taken on new meaning in the past 7 weeks. I noticed that I was more aware of this weakness in the early days- when things go well, I need to be careful that I don’t forget my weakness.

4) I love my husband even more: someone told me that this would happen, but I didn’t understand it until, well, it happened :). The first few weeks after Ashley was born, I cried every time Mark left. I had this insane need to be with him all the time. i don’t cry as much now; instead, there’s great joy and pleasure in watching him be a dad and watching ashley adore him. Yesterday, he came home from work while she was nursing. As soon as she heard his voice, she stopped eating and whipped her head around until she found him and then just looked and smiled at him until he moved. I love watching/listening to him wake her up in the morning and talking to her throughout the day and teaching her things. I love reading the poems he writes for her and reading her the emails he sends her throughout the day. I’m grateful for the way he helps around the house (doing the dishes so I can have a few minutes to rest, taking care of maggie, changing more than his share of dirty diapers, handling bedtime for me). I love watching them during bath time and the delight they are to each other throughout the day.

6) it’s lonely: I love being alone. There’s nothing quite like silence to make my happy. But motherhood is often lonely, I find. Ashley needs to eat often (every 2.5-3 hours) and that’s time that I’m often alone. I spend the bulk of our time at church alone with her in a quiet room feeding her or putting her to sleep. When we go out to group things, I miss a portion of it to care for her, unless I am able to bring a bottle. i don’t have much time for phone calls or even email with friends/family. Everything is dictated by her needs. We’re not quite at the play date stage yet (I’m still a little afraid of going out with her by myself). This is a season that will pass, but there are days when the inability to connect with others is really hard.

7) I think a lot: I have a ton of time to think/reflect/process (see #6!). I think about parenting, God, our house, our family, books, projects, etc. but I find that while I can have pretty deep ideas when I sit, I’m not able to translate them to paper or conversation. It’s like a private conversation with myself (and God) and when I’m try to capture it, my mind goes blank. (hence the silence on the blog! I have a half dozen posts I want to write to capture what I’ve been thinking about…and I can’t get past the first sentence on any of them).

7) It’s rewarding and joyful (and sometimes even fun!): I have a daughter. When she sees me, she smiles and laughs. When she’s fussy and tired of being passed around to other people, she comes to me and calms right down. She’s growing and learning and changing every day. She snuggles and coos and shrieks with joy. I get to introduce her to the world and teach her what she needs to know. It’s the most intense “job” I’ve ever had, but the joys and rewards are far bigger.

I’m so thankful that Ashley is part of our lives. I can’t imagine not being a mom and not having her. Yet life is different and it’s not without it’s challenges. Thankfully, I know that God is using this to sanctify me and that she is a blessing entrusted to us by him.

(rereading this- motherhood also has apparently removed my ability to count!!)

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1 month old

Ashley is one month old (as of yesterday)! She’s even cuter than she was when she was born. We’ve been enjoying getting to know her and see her personality develop.

I weighed her yesterday on our kitchen scale and she weighs 10 lbs! My arms are getting a workout She’s holding her head up pretty regularly now and flashes us with an adorable smile regularly (especially when her daddy is around). She has been sleeping pretty well through the night for about 2 weeks- waking up just once overnight to eat (which makes momma really happy!) She’s met all of her cousins, and they think she’s pretty special, especially Abby. She likes to go to church…it’s a good place for a nap! She’s not as crazy about wearing church clothes…she tends to need a change every week. She also likes to play on her play gym from Grandma and her fuzzy blanket from Nana. Albert the monkey and Barnabas the elephant are her favorite toys!

 

 

Happy 1 month birthday, Ashley Joy! We’re so glad you’re part of our family.

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