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As a new mom, I have struggled with redefining my "self". I spent months after the birth of my daughter trying to get back to who I was before I got pregnant. However, one day, as I was sitting on the floor playing with my daughter, a realization came over me. An epiphany, if you will…
I will never be who I was again. Now that I'm a mom, I will never again be the person I was before my daughter was born. In making decisions, it's not just about me and/or my husband, I now have to think about this little person for which I am responsible. And sometimes, what I would have done a year or two ago is not what I can do now. I have to make sure she is taken care of, and her needs are being met.
PATIENCE! This is a big one for me. I will be the first one to admit that I have very little to absolutely no patience at all. I get frustrated at the smallest things. However, as I look at my little daughter, laying in my arms or sitting with me, I can't help but know, I would do anything for her. This includes being patient. When she's fussy and fractious, when she's crying and won't go to sleep, I have learned to stop, close my eyes and take a breath. This has flooded over into other aspects of my life. Like driving…. I have found I am a more patient person, unless I've been up with Bumblebee every two hours and have gotten absolutely no sleep. Then all bets are off!
Appreciate All The Moments. Children grow up so fast. One minute they are these teeny tiny beings completely relying on you for everything, and then, in the blink of an eye, they're pulling up and trying to walk, saying their first words, drinking out of a sippy cup by themselves, trying to feed themselves… you get the idea. These last almost ten months (can't believe she's almost a year old!) have taught me to appreciate all the moments in life. The big and small ones. The other day, Bumblebee played peek-a-boo with me for the first time, and I wanted to cry. Watching her learn and discover is so exciting. Even when it's something as simple as learning to tap two things together. The absolute delight and triumph on her face is priceless.
Be Prepared For Anything and Everything. Those of you with children will completely 7nderstand what I'm saying. You may think, in your pre-child days, you are prepared, but you really aren't. You really don't know what being prepared for anything and everything truly means until you're put somewhere, where you're going to be for several hours, and suddenly realize you only have one diaper with you! This happened to me. Bumblebee was about 4 ½ months old, we were at a performance where we were going to be for several more hours. I went to change her dirty diaper, and realized I only had one diaper in the diaper bag. There was no way I could run home or to a store and get some. Luckily, my husband was working not that far away from where we were, and was still at home. I quickly called him and asked him to bring me some diapers. This taught me to always have diapers in the diaper bag, and some stashed in the car. Not only that, but I sometimes have one in my purse just in case. I also make sure I always have at least one change of clothes for her, and for me, a snack in my purse, plenty of wipes (yep, been caught without those too), and many other preparedness items that are essential for having a little one. Oh, and I always have bottled water in my vehicle.
Be Appreciative of Any and All Help. After I had Bumblebee, I was pretty mushed out of commission for eight weeks. I had to have a C-section, and it took me a while to recover. In fact, it can take up to a year for the muscles to completely heal. As a dance instructor, choreographer and performer, this was a hard pill to swallow. I'm not used to being sedentary. It was hard when I went back to work, and still had to take it easy. I learned, especially in those first few months, to accept and be thankful for any and all help which was offered. The ladies at my church cooked for us, my mom would come by to watch Bumblebee so Hubby and I could rest, or she'd take her for a few hours. Hubby has probably been by biggest help. There are mornings he'll get up with her, bring her to me to nurse, and then go play with her so I can get a little more rest time. This is probably my most favorite help. That little bit of extra time, even to just lay in the bed, is so helpful. I get to relax a little, and still listen to them play.
To See The World As Fresh and New. As Bumblebee learns and discovers her world, it enables me to see things with fresh eyes. The beauty and wonder God has created seen through innocent eyes. Seeing a flower or the trees, a dog running by, a squirrel scampering up a tree, feeling the wind on our faces. All this is new to her, and her delight in these things renews my sense of wonder.
It's OK If Not Everything on My "To Do" List Gets Done. I have a list of things every day I want to get done. My daughter has taught me it's ok if it all doesn't get checked off. Some things are more important. Like extra cuddles before bed, smelling her freshly washed hair as we snuggle and read a story, watching her sleep peacefully dreaming her baby dreams, soothing her when she's upset, snuggling with Hubby, relaxing with a cup of coffee to help recharge my batteries. All are little things we may dismiss in the hubbub of a hectic day, but I have learned they are all important. I can wipe down the counters, or run the dishwasher, or put the towels away when these are done, or even tomorrow. Don't sweat it. Enjoy the small moments of your day, you'll feel better and be happier.
Having A Schedule Helps. A Lot! Before Bumblebee, I never really had a daily schedule. I knew when I needed to get up, when I needed to leave, etch, but I didn't really schedule when I would clean the kitchen, or go to the grocery store, or run the vacuum, or spend quality time with Hubby, etc. Now, I do. I schedule these things. I may not schedule an exact time for them, but I do schedule what day they get done (the chores anyway). Hubby time is every day, especially since we work opposite schedules. Bumblebee has a nightly schedule, and scheduled meal times. These are important in order for her to grow and develop as she needs to grow and develop. Having a schedule also enables me to keep up with appointments and such, and makes sure we all are getting what we need.