There’s a balance when it comes to being a new mom. On one hand, your entire world now revolves around a beautiful, squishy baby who needs your loving care 24/7. And on the other hand…
Oh, who am I kidding…
There is no other hand. ;)
Your entire world just revolves around that beautiful, mini version of yourself. There is no turning it off. The concern, the affection, the protection and caring, the constant need to make their day the best that it can be… It consumes you with the fiercest of loves.
And you wouldn’t turn it off if you could, because – as tired as you sometimes may feel – you wouldn’t want anyone else taking over your job. You wouldn’t trust anyone else to do it the way you do, because you give with all your heart and with every part of your being.
Of course in that beauty, it’s easy to lose sight of who you were… and of who you are now.
I still remember the first time an older woman warned the pregnant version of myself, “Enjoy being ‘Nicole’ for now, because it’s all going to end. You will become ‘mom’ going forward. You won’t have your identity anymore. You will be ‘mom’ or ‘Brady’s mom’.”
She said it with a touch of heartache and heaviness, or else I would have shrugged it off. But I saw, in her eyes, that she wasn’t telling me this to frustrate or worry me. She was warning me. Advising me to prepare myself.
But still, even if I felt bad for her, I didn’t – for a moment – think it would happen to me.
And honestly, I may have had more of a fighting chance had circumstances been different. But Brady was born in November, and the cold winter months quickly arrived, bringing with them an intense flu and cold season. That, coupled with his stomach issues, forced us to stay cooped up indoors for so long that being home and surviving each day kind of became part of our routine.
In this survival mode, I kind of lost myself (as I blogged about already the other day). I let go of hobbies, and passions, and activities that helped me feel like myself. I didn’t make time for anything that wasn’t baby related, and the lack of ‘me time’ in this new phase of my life most certainly caught up with me. And, even worse, I let myself get stuck in a rut of how each day should look.
But as I already mentioned, I plan to incorporate ‘me time’ back into my life, so that I can still be myself… while being the awesome mom I strive to be.
Who knew that being a new mom came with such a learning curve?!? :)
“Are you technically even a new mom anymore?” Nate asked me the other day, after I’d shared some of my scattered, confusing feelings with him. “Brady is seven months now.”
I started rambling off numbers that looked something like this… I am going to be a mom until I’m like 97 years old, and I’ve only currently been a mom for seven months. So that means I haven’t even been a mom for a year yet. Which means that, yes, I am most definitely a new mom. So, please, don’t take that away from me, because – at this point – it’s the one identity that I am secure in.
Oh men… The one thing that Nate took away from my tirade was, “Wait, you want to live to be 97? Why not just aim for 100 then?”
It’s a good thing he’s cute, an amazing daddy, and that I love him. Ha! Honestly, that was SO Nate. He’s scientific and literal right down to his core, and it’s one of the things I love about him… when it’s not driving me crazy. ;)
Anyway, as I’ve been challenging myself to designate some ‘me time’ into every week, I also realized that my daily regimen was killing my spark a bit too. It’s so incredibly easy to fall into a pattern of basic survival… Wake, eat, nap, eat, play, sleep, and fit in a few chores.
My friend Liz reminded me the other day that it’s summer! As silly as it may sound, our conversation lit an excitement within me. I’ve always seen life as an adventure, and I (the Nicole who existed before she even had a baby) have always done my best to make every single day count. Even with so much changing, now that we’ve added a bundle of joy to the family, that doesn’t need to change.
Quite frankly, it shouldn’t!
It’s just surprisingly easy to do, if you’re not careful!
But honestly, building up the confidence, drive, and sometimes the energy to make every single day (even the simple days) special has been a huge energizer to my ability to see the cup half full. Because now we’re doing things together that I love. And even if I haven’t had the chance for ‘me time’ quite yet, the time spent with my hubby and baby has been much more fulfilling. (Don’t worry, I still have an entire week ahead of me, and I WILL make time for myself this week, I promise). :)
The other morning, Brady woke up ultra early, so I nudged the hubby awake. We ate breakfast at the lake, and then Brady took a little dip in the water. I can’t remember the last time we were spontaneous like that, and it was amazing!
Since then, we’ve escaped the summer heat by browsing bookstores or by looking at the bright fishies at Petco. (Brady loves looking at the fish; and it’s both free and local, unlike going to the aquarium. I’m just concerned that Petco is going to start charging me for my visits pretty soon). ;)
We’ve browsed Target, played outside on blankets, walked through the neighborhood, played at the playground, and had picnics.
They’ve all been simple activities for brief moments of a morning or afternoon, but sometimes you just need to get out of the house! So far, it’s really been fun, even if it was as simple as taking Brady and his toys outside in the backyard to play! :)
I guess maybe the challenge for every new mom (because, yes dear Nate, I am still a new mom) is to not only make time for herself but to also discover the mommy version of herself. And this mommy wants to make each day count, to balance chores with plenty of exploring and fun, and to teach her baby boy to just live it!!
I keep learning that I don’t have to let go of who I was… And that I still have time to grow into this mommy roll… AND that it’s okay to embrace the process, because life would be dull if we didn’t have learning and growing to do! ;)