Going from a kid-less, entrepreneurial, social fiend to a seldom working, homebody mom is no seamless adjustment.
Life is characterized by transitions. By accomplishments and milestones that signify change and that make up who we are.
In my 32 years, I’ve transitioned from child to adult, from gymnast to dancer, from student to working professional, from single to married – all with relative ease. My most recent transition from “just me” to “me plus one” (and no, I don’t mean my husband) has been my most challenging and rewarding transition to date.
What I Thought
Ha! Can’t we all relate to this? I can think of several statements I’d start with, “Well, I thought it was going to be like this…”
It’s natural. We’re human. As much as we know we shouldn’t, we make presumptions. We guess, we plan, we imagine and we create conclusions in our minds before an event has even taken place. We think it’ll help us prepare for what’s ahead. But, more often than not, it simply makes us turn around when it’s all said and done and say, “Well, I thought it was going to be like this…But it was actually like this…”
I Had It Allllll Planned Out
During my 38 weeks of pregnancy, I was able to design and plan out my life as a new mom. First, let me tell you that I don’t shy away from challenges and I think I’m capable of pretty much anything. (Doesn’t every mom entrepreneur need this mindset to survive?!) So I figured that within a few weeks – yes weeks – that I’d be a fantastic mom, that I’d be running my business at 50% capacity (at least!) and that I’d be enjoying social outings on a regular (maybe modified outings, but outings nonetheless).
Ha! BIG ha! Joke’s on you, mom.
How It Really Went Down
Let’s put it this way, it’s been 14 weeks and while I do believe that I’m a pretty great mom, my business is at about 20% capacity and a social outing to me these days is a trip to the drugstore. There’s a reason why full time employees get a year’s maternity leave! I mean, seriously, how many hours do I think there are in a day? Truth be told, I spend the bulk of my days breastfeeding, changing, wiping spit-up off sleepers that have only been worn a few mere moments, eating with one hand, peeing with my son sitting on my lap and trying to get a little sleep in half-hour spurts if I’m lucky! Let me paint you a little picture: no exaggeration, right now, the only way I could write this post is by standing with my son in a carrier strapped to the front of me, with my Macbook perched atop the fireplace mantle (which just happens to be the perfect height) and my ten fingers drumming away furiously on my keyboard in an effort to get all my thoughts out before my little prince decides he’s had enough in this position.
As I listen to my husband’s stories of the new programming code he mastered that day, of how many visitors his website got, of the new client that hired him…I can’t help but feel, well, a little lacking in the intellectual stimulation department. And as I get friend invites to go on Vegas trips and I watch new pics of wild nights out get posted on social media…I can’t help but feel left out.
Life has changed. I’m missing things. I can’t do everything I once did.
But then I remind myself:
If I had a childless life right now, that means I wouldn’t know what it feels like to…
Create another human being.
Become a real family.
Fall asleep with your baby on your chest.
See your baby’s smile for the first time.
I’m not missing out. Life’s most meaningful moments have only just begun.
Just Because I Say it isn’t Easy, Doesn’t Mean it isn’t Rewarding
The most difficult and complex experiences in life are the ones that are most rewarding.
They’re the ones that push you to the limits and force you to dig deeper than you ever have before.
They’re the ones that make you a bigger, better person.
They’re the ones you always remember and the ones you share with others.
They’re the experiences worth having.
A New Outlook
The first three months of my baby’s life have been a huge – astronomical – adjustment. I’m forever changed. As I gaze into my little Brody’s eyes, I’m filled with a feeling I’ve never had before. Of course I feel love, I feel pride, I feel gratitude…but it’s much more than that.
Sure, we can go through life living, working, playing. But if we never choose to have children, what happens when we’re gone? Where does it all go? What’s our purpose? What makes it all worthwhile?
No, no. Not good enough. What I feel as a new mother is something big, something significant. It’s legacy. My son is an extension of me and of who I am. He represents what comes after.
Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned over the last three months:
- Giving birth is the most painful experience I ever hope to have in my lifetime. It’s also the most incredible…IF you get an epidural.
- Husbands give birth too. (Don’t think it’s easy for your partner to watch you in agony knowing he can’t do a single thing to help you.)
- When the nurse puts your newborn baby on your chest, instantly nothing else in the world matters. (And that feeling never really fades.)
- It’s crazy how you can feel so much love for someone you just met. Now I know what love at first sight really is.
- One of the most special days in a person’s lifetime is the day they bring their newborn home from the hospital.
- A long, continuous sleep is something I won’t have again for a very, very long time. And I’m okay with that.
- If you’re not fortunate enough to get a good latch, breastfeeding pain is a very close second to labour.
- Breastfeeding isn’t just how you feed your baby. There’s a whole science behind it.
- There are lots of successful entrepreneurial traits that also make you a successful mother.
- If you’re determined enough, you really can conquer anything.
- This couldn’t be more true: “It takes a village to raise a baby.”
- Days pass like hours, hours pass like minutes and minutes pass like seconds.
- You can’t work full time and be a fantastic mother.
- If you’re too busy worrying about time, money and work you miss all the good stuff.
- I constantly feel guilty when I’m not working.
- My son has already taught me to dismiss my guilt, to take these precious months in stride and to treasure: Every. Single. Moment.
- Sleep is EVERYTHING.
- No matter how fit you are, nothing can prepare you for new mother back and neck pain. And nobody gives you fair warning!
- You can lose your belly in a week and half.
- Finding the perfect time to have sex…when the baby is quiet, when you and your partner are together, when you’re both in the mood and when all the stars align in perfect cosmic balance…is f*cking challenging!
- Watching your baby change, grow and evolve every day is better than sex. Uhhh…okay, maybe a tie?
- You can’t put a price on a good support network.
- Giving birth should also include the growth of a third arm.
- It is possible to painstakingly miss someone after just one hour.
- All the judgments you ever had about other parents go out the window, because now, you finally get it.
New mom, motherly entrepreneur, business woman and expectant new mother! What are you learning as you make your journey?
Comment, share, vent!
I want to hear all about it.
2 thoughts on “Life’s Ultimate Transition to New Mom”
I have to say how much I was like “oh my gosh, yes!” and “I know, right?!?” as I read your first post. This mom/freelance gig is a trip. It’s the best of both worlds, but double the challenge.
I will tell you that I found plateaus. Around 3 months, 7-9 months, 14 months etc. where life regained increasing levels of normalcy. With my daughter at 3 years old, I’m at 100+ % work capacity and regaining a social life too!
I love the way you described our situation so succinctly: “the best of both worlds, but double the challenge”. YES.
As for your plateaus, I can agree with the three month mark (the only one I can relate to so far). I’ll keep your others in mind to see if I have similar experiences.
Thank you for your feedback!