I love my dear friend Abbi. She makes me feel better when we have chats on the phone that consist of our embarrassing and tiring Mommy moments with our boys, followed with tear filled confessions of how our hearts couldn’t possibly love them more. I love following her blog: http://ourlaughterandnoise.blogspot.com/ and she often inspires me to seek God and be a better mom. I love her!
This was a recent post that I read and seriously, each line I thought, “Oh my gosh, me too!!” I hope you enjoy it as well. :) xoxox to you Ab!
“As I was working in some Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo into my hair for the third morning in a row I started thinking about life before little ones. Back before every square in of my life, my house and my heart was covered in Cheerios and Lighting McQueen cars and sticky finger prints and spit up….I mean there was a point in my life where I was actually on top of buying MY shampoo before it ran out…and it wasn’t anything special or expensive, it was just mine. Now I am just thankful for the never ending supply of yellowy orange tear free shampoo that seems to be stuffed into every drawer in my house in travel size bottles (as if moms of small children do so much traveling)!! I have no idea where it comes from, but we always seem to have it on hand. Being a mom leaves little room for things that are just mine. I was prepared in part for the transformation that doing this job would be…at least I figured I was, since I had been obsessed with baby dolls since childhood and I ran kid camps in the summer and worked at a day care and babysat all the time and taught 2ndgrade. I figured the trip from being a working wife to full time mom would be sort of like a walk across a small stream….a few rocks on the way but relatively a quick and easy trip to the other side. Some days are like that, flawless and lovely and sweet. And others it feels more like what the pioneers must have felt, already exhausted and run down, when they reached the Mississippi and realized that they had no other choice but to figure out some way to cross this daunting and massive body of water…turns out it ‘aint just some bubbling brook and neither is motherhood!
This got me thinking about being a parent….becoming this whole other version of myself. If I could go back and prepare myself for this journey, even just a little bit, what would I say to ease myself into the transition? Is there anything you can say:)? Here’s what came to mind as I was thinking it over, and since I am not yet through fully transitioning into “life as we know it” I think I may re-read it over and over to remind myself on the hard days and encourage myself on the good, what this is all about for me.
Dear Pre Motherhood Me:
You are about to become a mother. The position you have waited your whole entire life to hold. The one you obsessively imagined as you cradled your beloved American Girl baby Doll. The one you pictured yourself doing as you babysat and nannied your way through high school and college, and then added Ryan into the day dream some years later. The day is finally here when you will hold a sweet pink toed little bundle in your arms and call him your own. You will snuggle and hold and hug and dress him. You will pack him up in that adorable little car seat in the cutest outfit you have ever seen and tote him around to coffee and lunches and get together so he can meet all of your friends and family and neighbors and grocery checker outers. Everyone will tell you how cute he is and marvel at the miracle of his existence and you will just know that your baby must be the most adorable creature on earth. He will sleep soundly to your lullabies and wake with a smile ready for a new day.
….And yes, sweetheart I am here to tell you all of this is true. You think you have felt your heart “melt” at perhaps a really cute puppy or some sappy movie, but when you look down at your baby you will LITERALLY feel this sensation, heart melting like butter on hot toast. Your baby will be the sweetest, cutest, pink bundle of love you have ever laid your eyes on this side of heaven (and this will be true for each additional child). You will actually experience a kind of explosion inside from the adorableness of tiny toes or a sweet smile or the first time you hear MOM being called in your direction. You, a person who formerlywould catch a spider crawling in your house in a cup, and set it free outside, would actually consider murder at the thought of someone harming this sweet soul that now resides in your care. You are sure there is nothing better than a newborn snuggle and then your baby reaches for you and then calls out for you and then hugs you and kisses you and then says “I LOVE YOU” and you resolve that each of these affectionate gems are just all treasure in the chest of motherhood and each is as priceless as the next. Each stage has something to wonder at, admire, stand in awe of and savor. The relationships in your life take on a new dimension…people that love on your kids become heroes, your parents…saints and life savors, your spouse is basking in this same baby love you are and sharing in this quest together deepens your marriage in a way you didn’t think possible and the Lord is just a step closer in your heart as you can’t imagine this angelic creature coming from anywhere but a most loving God.
And while all these feelings are absolutely real and wonderful they are not the only side of the story in motherhood. There is a side that is going to test every single idea on the subject you have ever had. It will stretch you (body and soul) in ways you had no idea you could stretch to. You will wonder where YOU went in between all the kid stuff that has filled every minute of your everyday. It starts from the very beginning. You know from TV and movies and such about the typical woes of pregnancy, so I won’t brief you on those. It’s after the arrival where things start to get REAL. No one ever tells you what happens to your body after you have a baby….and now that I am thinking about it, it might just be that it is one of those “bridges you cross when you get there” kind of things, so I’ll just let you figure it out. But while you are waiting for your belly button to return to normal (much the equivalent of waiting for pigs to fly) you will be entering the everyday, and that is where things get dicey. Somewhere between wiping the spit up out of your hair and feeding that little milk machine you will wonder what has happened to you. Your sweat pants have taken a full time position on your legs and your high heels?? They have a fine layer of dust collecting on them as we speak. You will realize that as silly and strenuous as those observations from your boss seemed, at least there were check points, feed back and encouragement where as this new one rarely comes with even a thank you. You will wonder if you are doing things “right”. You will sit straight up in the middle of the night and literally ask yourself…how many days in a row is too many to feed your babies mac n cheese? And what about vaccinations and organic food and did you paint the nursery with toxic fume paint and are you reading them the recommended number of books each day in order to produce a future college graduate? You will worry like you never have before. Anxiety will actually grip your heart about when to introduce dairy into your baby’s diet. Big fat alligator tears will roll down your face as you realize your kids will experience heartbreak, just like everyone else and there is nothing you can do about them…in fact you will probably cause the first few. Your furniture will have slime and Cheerios and goo in every crack and crevasse. The beautiful tray you got for your wedding will get smashed onto the floor and you won’t have money to replace it because you are trying to pay for “kid rock” classes and match box cars and all that organic food. You will have no idea what the latest tunes on the radio are, but you will sing quite the rendition of Yo Gabba Gabba’s “Don’t Bite Your Friends” most of the day. You will get all dressed just to get puked on.
You will lose your patience, your keys, sleeping in, going out, your privacy,
your sense of normal.
But, never fear. I am here to tell you that a new normal will set in. You will cherish memories of the days with just you & Ry, but then you will wake up some morning and in between you and that husband of yours will be 2(+) extra sets of feet, and all will be right with the world. Because you see, being a parent is the hardest job in the world (your doctor tells you so every time you go in for an appointment!) and you are doing it and for those 2 sweet smiles it is worth it. Dad once said, that anything worth having is worth working for, and that is more than true with parenthood. Sometimes I wish I had enough money to get a nanny to do all the hard parts and then I could just swoop in and read stories and play games and do the fun stuff. But the best and most beautiful things in life always have tough patches and brokenness and distress. That’s how you build relationship and trust, and that’s why the things you really had to work at look so darn beautiful and priceless. Being a parent will force you to grow up and your heart to grow out, and sometimes growing hurts, thats just life. It will force you to love more fiercely than you ever have before. And the most glorious thing about being a parent? That you really get Jesus more than you did before. I know it sounds cheesy but you do. You get why it would be such a sacrifice to send your son to die in a VERY tangible way. You get why he wanted to do it. You see why he loves us and forgives us and wants the things he does for our life. You are a parent now, and he is your parent…and we want the same for our children. Any experience in life that gives you that perspective is worth every ounce of hardship and effort you put in. Amazingly enough, he set up that way. And don’t worry, YOU are still there. You still love all the same things and have all the same talents and love your husband for all the same reasons. Parenthood is just giving you the opportunity to adapt all of those things into a new situation and use your gifts in new ways!
So enjoy each step. Don’t take anything too seriously. Cry when you need to. Love your kids like crazy. And remember to laugh, that will get you through….everything is temporary, like it or not.”