Last week I met up with Erica and she pointed her finger at me sternly and said "You MUST write a post about what it's like to be a new mom: was it anything like what you expected?" And then she threatened to beat me up if I didn't write it!
So I write you this blog post out of fear and obligation...
(I'm totally joking, btw. Erica is the sweetest person in the universe—though she is super fit and could definitely kick my ass. So I will take her advice and write a post on this topic anyway...) haha.
Well, to be honest, being a new Mom is almost exactly what I expected.
Maybe it's because I have such awesome friends who have painted such clear pictures of motherhood? Maybe it's because I asked a lot of questions? Or maybe it's because I have a great imagination and visualize scenarios so well?
Regardless, I have to admit: I love being a mother and it is very similar to how I imagined it would be. With that said, there have been a few surprises along the way. Here they are—in list form, because I love lists.
The first thing that came as a surprise being a new mom was a superficial surprise...MY BABY WASN'T UGLY!!!
Truly, Tyler and I had set our expectations pretty low. We both had large heads, and we both have sensitive skin so we imagined our baby would have patchy red skin, a big head, and generally be pretty ugly. Well, to our pleasant surprise, Cole was born with a smooth complexion and a very average-sized head. On top of that, he didn't have that wrinkly old-man look. He was actually really CUTE! (Though I won't lie, I think old-man looking babies are so ugly, they're cute! Like hairless cats.)
Secondly, I WASN'T PREPARED FOR HOW FORCEFULLY MY HEART WOULD EXPLODE WITH LOVE. I knew that there was no way I could prepare for this love, and was excited to see how it would come over me and fill my heart. And fill my heart it did. And my chest, and my limbs, and every hair on my head. From the moment Cole was born, I felt a new purpose in this life: to protect and love my baby forever. This feeling, as amazing as it is, is also incredibly scary. For the first two weeks I would break down bawling every day, like clockwork, at 5pm. I don't know why that time of day would trigger the waterworks, but I cried into many bowls of pasta and plates of stir-fry those first few weeks. Dinnertime was synonymous with "bawl my eyes out time." They were equally tears of joy and fear. Joy because I felt so complete, so loved, and so blessed. Yet fear because I would worry about everything that could ever harm my child: accidents, illness, paper cuts! I felt such an extreme sense of responsibility (as I should) to keep my child alive and safe. It scared me to think that if I couldn't breastfeed properly—my child wouldn't EAT (I forgot formula was an option). It scared me to think of how fragile Cole was! What if I fell down the stairs? What if I dropped him? What if something happened to me while I was home alone with him? What if I accidentally put him out with the recycling? (kidding)
But seriously, the most ridiculous thoughts would creep into my mind all of the time. But I had two phrases that I had to repeat to myself to get through those first two weeks.
"People dumber than I have successfully raised children." (I'm sorry if that's awful, but it helped me feel less incompetent and made me giggle)
"We are a team." My husband said this to me one night when I was bawling during one of my dinnertime cry-fests. I would repeat this phrase to myself when I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep. It helped me feel less alone, and I knew that no matter what I would always have Tyler there to help me. I wasn't alone. We could do this together.
Finally, the third surprise has been THE REALIZATION OF HOW LITTLE I CAN ACTUALLY GET DONE IN A DAY!
I used to be someone who would accomplish 5-10 tasks in a day. Now I am happy if I can accomplish just one.
"Congratulations Jen, you unloaded the dishwasher!" If I can manage to add a few business phone calls in there too, I consider myself a freaking hero. I thought this might be hard for me to accept, but I've really just had to tell myself to relax, enjoy this time and realize that I can get more done later. It's hard when you're used to doing everything and being superwoman, but guess what? I still am superwoman! I'm helping a human being grow! That's freaking awesome. I think I should make myself a cape and start calling myself SuperWarman! Except, making a cape would be too much effort right now, so I'll just think about it...
Anyway, Cole is overheating in his ergo baby carrier (which he and I both love) so I'll wrap this up.
Task for the day: Write a post. Complete!! Woo Hoo.