Motherhood. Some days are better than others, am I right?
First, let me clear the air. My husband and I struggled with infertility for many years (more on that later) so I am very grateful to be one of the lucky ones. I am not complaining – I take the good and the bad – The beauty and the chaos. Some days I feel like I’ve got it all figured out – yay me! (pat on the shoulder) Others, I am treading water, barely able to stay a float.
Sometimes I reflect on what pre-baby visions and expectations I had for motherhood. I pictured love, smiles, laughter, cuddles. Crafts – glitter and glue – birdhouses – you name it. I imagined a clean, organized, minimalist home with very few toys because I didn’t want to spoil or overstimulate him. I thought my child will be obedient and listen. Surely he would be respectful because I will be such an engaged parent, not a chopper mom, but a positive influence. I thought I would demonstrate attached, gentle parenting 100% of the time. We will eat healthy well balanced meals every day. I recently read through my journal from when I was pregnant – it provided a few chuckles.
The love I pictured was grossly underestimated – like every good mom out there I can say that I never knew I could love someone as much as I love my son. One look was all it took. Boom! Heart exploded. My son is a huge cuddler, a bonafide snuggle-bug. He would lay in bed and nurse for most of the day if I would let him. And he is hilarious, just like me (wink!). We laugh. A lot.
My son is now a little over two years old and my bullshit meter has busted, pardon the language. My household is far from the hallmark movie scene I pictured – in reality it is more like a comedy sitcom. I do practice gentle parenting – 75% of the time. I practice positive reinforcement – and sometimes I raise my voice. Not in a scary mommy way….in fact he laughs when I do, so I may need to rethink that tactic. I am an engaged mom, I try my best to fuel his imagination and provide intellectual stimulation – but I have let the iPad be a babysitter while I get a workout in. Nutrition is still a priority for us, my husband and I struggled with weight fluctuations and don’t want our son to ever feel the discomfort of being overweight. So, we eat pretty healthy with plenty of organic fruits and veggies – no dairy – limit sugar. That’s pretty awesome right? Except, some nights my husband calls to tell me to bring home burgers and fries for dinner, and my son doesn’t like burgers (current meat aversion) So, on these nights he eats French fries for dinner, chugging La Croix, throwing his fruit on the floor.
My favorite pre-baby expectation is the obedient child. Oh man. This was ridiculous. Toddlers are truly the most magical, hilarious, and frustrating individuals on the planet. This time in life is so great for so many reasons – to see my son develop his personality, facial expressions, and quirks is the best time of my life. One morning I was thinking how blessed and awesome my life is (mornings are my favorite part of the day) – and then I put his eggs on a yellow plate. That was a huge mistake. He made it known he wanted the Paw Patrol plate but I had already gotten the yellow one dirty. He went nuclear – I have never seen someone throw a fit like this over dishes. You would have thought I put hot sauce on my nipples (he still breastfeeds). Needless to say, this behavior never made the cut for my hallmark visions of motherhood.
Motherhood has taught me many things. One that I am reminded of daily is that life is all about balance. Some days I kill it as a mom – I mean I Mom hard! Full breakfast with all the fixin’s, crafts, we get outside for some exercise and to recharge, I manage to vacuum and get some laundry done, and then we snuggle and have an easy bedtime routine. Other days, not so much. I am spending my day chasing a toddler that is refusing to wear pants. This kid will sneak up and bite my butt while I’m doing dishes and then slip away like a ninja. I get yelled at by a little heathen that resembles a smaller version of myself, that I created. I’m tripping over laundry baskets (at least they’re clean clothes!) and dodging launched sippy cups and hidden hot wheels.
Hats off to all you moms living the dream! Life is full of both beauty and chaos. It’s all about balance. And I wouldn’t change any part of it for the world.