A couple days ago, I was chatting with a mom friend about life and dreams and the beautiful trials and realities of motherhood + marriage. I LOVE those types of conversations, where you can dream together and understand each other’s situations and offer empathy and a shoulder, and just be REAL together. In the middle of our conversation about being a mother and all the hard work it entails, I realized something….what may seem trivial and draining during those long days of non-stop giving, is actually a huge gigantic blessing that is life-giving and so rewarding.
There are so many wonderful things that I love about being a stay at home mom, but after thinking about all that I do for my little girl and our family daily, I narrowed it down to three not-so-typical things that I actually really appreciate about being a mom:
1. Planning my days around a breastfeeding and nap schedule
On any other day before I became a mom, I could get out of the house and go wherever I wanted for hours on end when John was at work! It was pretty great, and I got loads of “me” time. However, since having Izzy earth side, that independent schedule has totally changed….and I actually don’t mind it. I’m a lot more aware of managing my time and where my priorities are, and love that I get to create a healthy routine and be the constant in my daughter’s life. I also love that I have been able to exclusively breastfeed her for this long! I’m trying to make it to a year, and we only have three more months to go until that point.
Breastfeeding has got to be the most demanding thing of my time being a mother, by far. It comes with an intense schedule, where I literally have to nourish and sustain this tiny human every 3 hours around the clock, day and night. And no matter where I want to go or what I want to do throughout the day, it all needs to be planned around nursing and naps. Even what I wear has to be nursing friendly. This has taught me more about self-sacrifice than I’ve learned so far, even in marriage. It’s taught me to be resourceful, and prepare for plans B and C if A doesn’t pan out. It’s taught me confidence in my body, knowing that I am giving someone life and can do so no matter where I am. It’s a huge blessing to be able to nurse her, and for this long, and I am so glad I have the chance to do so.
By the way, If you’re currently trying to figure out how to make your wardrobe nursing friendly, I wrote a post with tips and ideas on how to curate a spring nursing friendly wardrobe that you won’t want to miss! Whether you’re nursing now, or pregnant hoping to nurse later on, this post has great pieces to stock up on for your postpartum journey.
2. being needed all. the. time.
There are so many things that you have to sacrifice as a mom — sometimes just for the day, other times for months! And it is really hard to accept those sacrifices sometimes, especially when it’s placing the time to accomplish a goal or a dream on hold….or even being unable to take a shower when it’s pushing day 4! But the good and beautiful thing about sacrifice is that it allows you to realize “life is not all about me. It does not revolve only around the things I want to do or accomplish.”
There have been days, when Izzy was littler, that I could just plop her down in her little bassinet and she would sleep for hours throughout the day and I was able to get things done during that time like laundry, cook, put away the dishes, take a shower, and have some sweet moments for myself. But now that she is is older (9 months in a couple days!) she demands a LOT more attention and entertainment, and naps only twice a day sometimes for no longer than 40 minutes to an hour. And when she is awake, boy does she want attention.
My day to day now looks a lot different than my day to day when she was born in her early infant weeks, and I’m sure that my day to day will look a lot different in a few months from now. Embracing the seasons of sacrifice, where I have the privilege of putting her needs to grow and develop and play and learn over my own wants such as to write on my blog, catch the latest episode of my favorite Netflix show, sleep all night, or even just have a few minutes to brush my hair have taught me a lot about myself as a person.
The lovely thing about this season of being needed is that I am blessed to be home with her, all. the. time. I never miss a single thing; I get to experience this little life of childhood with her, and that in itself is worth more than any amount of time I can spend doing other things. My dreams and wants and desires are still there, but they can wait. Putting them on pause, briefly, while I enjoy this fleeting time of childhood magic has given me a chance to step back and re-prioritize where I want my main focus to be in this season.
3. Not sleeping through the night
Of course, I MISS sleep! I’d love to be able to get a full night’s rest, sleep in, take my time getting out of bed, and feel totally refreshed. But that is a season of rest I will experience again, when she’s older and in school, or when we move into a place that has more than one bedroom. But until then, I am more than happy to make that sacrifice of not getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep through the night. Because right now, I’m my baby’s safe space, her comfort, and her sense of security. I’m her quiet place, her home, and where she finds rest.
Being that for someone is exhausting, but it is also life-giving! I will always cherish those small, quiet moments where I get to hold her close and rock her back to sleep at 3am. I live for the late afternoons of snuggles in bed where she wraps her arm around my shoulder as she falls asleep for a nap. I am more than happy to wake up to the sound of her saying “mama, mom, mom!” in the wee hours because it will not always be this way. One day, as my husband likes to remind me, she will no longer be so needy. She will be totally independent, able to pack her own lunches and walk herself to school. She will no longer need me to rock her to sleep, and will not cry out for me every single night.
So for now, I am getting some sleep. I am getting enough to make it through the day, but not enough to ditch my undereye concealer. And I am more than OK with that. ❤
So yes, these three things are not the usual things one would say they’re enjoying about motherhood, but it’s the perspective and little moments these bring into my life that is most special to me right now. What are some things you’re loving the most about your journey as a mother?