Six months ago today, my husband and I welcomed our baby boy into our lives. That day changed many things, as new babies do, but it also opened the door for much self-learning. The past 184 days have held challenge and joy, weakness and strength. Motherhood isn’t for the faint of heart, but the smile on my little guy’s face makes it all worth it.
My first weeks as a mom were complicated by a difficult delivery. Any new mom has a body to heal as they care for the new little life in their arms. For me, my body had quite a bit to heal from even as I faced potential surgery (which I ended up not needing, thankfully). But this post isn’t about those days – you can read about that here – instead, it’s about what came after. The lessons I’ve learned about myself. The challenges I’ve discovered now that I’m a mom.
One of the biggest lessons I have to keep reminding myself as a mom is that taking care of myself helps me be a better mom. This might sound counterintuitive at first, but just as flight attendants tell passengers to put on their oxygen masks before helping others around them, including children, so it is with moms. If we don’t take care of ourselves, before long, someone else will have to take care of us. How does this work as a busy mom? I believe it is a very individual answer. As one who suffers from migraines, I must eat regular meals, so had to find easy, healthy food choices I can grab in a minute or eat on the go.
Another lesson I am continuing to learn is how to rest well. This lesson I started to learn years ago. It’s even more true now that I have less time to and for myself. Rest is an active activity. It requires doing the thing(s) that revitalize the soul. For some it’s a walk outside, for others it is reading a book, for others it is spending time with friends. The list goes on and is just as unique for every person. Each one of us, whether a mom or not, needs to rest. Finding what helps us recharge avoids burnout and frustration. As a new mom, it’s harder to find the free time to do that restful activity, but it is no less important. It just requires more creativity to accomplish.
The third lesson I’ve discovered is that ‘mom’ is not an identity change. I am still me. I have the same likes and dislikes. I have the same talents. I have the same dreams. What has changed is now have another soul to love. A little soul that requires a lot of my time, energy, and concentration. This distinction has help me transition into this new normal. I have not changed, I have only added. Added an adorable little guy into my life, my family’s life. A little guy who brings so much joy and sweetness, making my life richer because of his presence.
The past six months have held much discovery. Just as my little guy is finding his toes, tucking up his knees to crawl one day soon, and laughing at peek-a-boo, so I am learning about myself, building and rebuilding muscles, and enjoying the little guy God has brought into my life. The past 184 days have not all been easy, but my six month old sure has brought even more joy into each and every one of them.