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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

thoughts on motherhood (7 months)

I procrastinated writing this post for weeks, eight weeks to be precise.  The further I get into motherhood, the more normal things feel and the harder it seems to put my reflections into words.  Here's my best attempt to stop procrastinating and reflect on this period of motherhood:

- Baby T has had a lot of firsts since my 20 week reflection: he flew on a plane, he visited a mountain, met his great-grandmas, cut his first two teeth, and started crawling.  Come to think of it, maybe that's why I haven't posted about motherhood for eight weeks.  

- It's crazy how fast he's developed.  His body can do things that he wouldn't have dreamed of a few weeks ago, and he has no words to describe or process all the things that are happening to him.  So many things are new to him all the time.  Remembering that helps me be more patient with him when he cries for seemingly no reason or gets frustrated about something I think is silly.  If I went through that much change and transition, I would be cranky 24/7, but for the most part, he's such a happy, relaxed little guy.  

- After our move to St. Louis, Paul and I decided that I would stay home with Theo for a while.  Decided is actually maybe too strong a word.  I put off my job search until after the holidays because nothing was jumping out at me, then I realized more and more that I was putting off the job search because I didn't want to leave Theo.  Financially it's a wash to have me work and have Theo in daycare, so SAHM it is for your truly.  It's been a big adjustment, and I've been challenged in ways I didn't expect.  I don't think I'll stay home forever, but it's working for all of us pretty well right now.  

- I've realized that to be the best mom I can be, I need to find ways to stay personally fulfilled while being a SAHM.  Recently that included buying myself a planner (not a ton to plan, but writing my to-do list makes my tasks feel more legitimate) and making a resolution to sketch everyday.  Small things like that have made a difference in my self confidence and overall life satisfaction level.

- I started thinking of other stay at homes as my co-workers.  Making efforts to see other moms and babies during the week has been great for both me and Theo.  

- Before Theo was born, I promised myself I would start exercising again at six months post partum.  If you remember, I was doing roller derby before I got pregnant with Theo, but I wasn't quite ready to jump back into something like that.  I started a mom stroller class that I thought would be a nice, easy transition back into exercising.  Yeah...not so easy.  That class makes me sweat almost as much as derby used to.  Not quite the chill work out I thought it would be, but I love it because I've surprisingly come to crave a good workout.  I also love that Theo can come and crawl around on the floor with everybody else's kids.  

- We're currently living with my parents which has been a big transition.  We don't have our own space anymore, but my parents have been super hospitable and have been great with Theo.  It's pretty amazing to have live in babysitters.  I know I'll look back at this time with so much nostalgia remembering how special it was to see Theo play daily with his grandparents.

- Yesterday, Theo knocked one of his plastic eggs against one my mom was holding.  I knew he could knock two together when he was holding them himself, but it took another level of problem solving to play with the one my mom was holding.  I didn't even know that was in the realm of possibilities for something he could do!  I immediately felt guilty that I wasn't encouraging Theo to fulfill his full potential.  And then luckily I gave myself a break pretty soon after.

- That situation had me thinking how easy it is for parents to coddle their kids or not challenge them.  Theo (and other babies and kids) develop so fast, and half the time I'm just trying to catch up with whatever new thing he's doing.  When I finally get used to where he currently is, I get emotionally connected to it, but he's already ready for the next step.  Parenthood feels like I'm trying to constantly keep up with my baby boy.   Meanwhile he doesn't know where he's going, he just wants to GO.  Parenthood is about constantly evolving and trying to allow your child to be whoever he needs to be.  

- My life involves way more poop and spit up then it ever has before

- I got puked on - full out puked on - for the first time.  Right down my shirt.  Surprisingly, it barely phased me.  That more than anything showed me motherhood has changed me.  

- I've been trying cloth diapers and making my own baby food.  It's extra work, but I like doing a little extra work for something I feel is better for the environment.  There's also part of me that wants to justify being a SAHM by saving us a little extra money and showing other perks to having me home with Theo.  I'm assuming other SAHMs do things like this, but I haven't received official confirmation.  

- Sometimes Theo eats the dogs bones.  I had resigned myself to it since he is growing up with four dogs, and it looks hilarious, so sometimes I might let it go on a little too long. 

- I've been a mom long enough to develop routines.  We didn't have routines for a long time, because I found that being a "go-with-the-flow" parent was the least stressful method for me, Paul, and Theo.  But the older Theo gets, the more he seems to fall into routines naturally and to like having a rhythm to our days.  Our bedtime routine may be my favorite as it involves nursing and a super soft blanket that Theo likes to cuddle up in (that orange one in the picture above).  It's one of those things that feels no normal and mundane it's not even worth mentioning, but things have changed so quickly the last seven months, I know that our current routines won't last forever.  Knowing that I won't always put Theo to sleep after relaxing in the nursing chair is kind of heart breaking (though also a relief because what mom wants to rock her 17 year old son to sleep?  That's weird Game of Thrones material.) 

- More of Theo's personality comes out everyday.  Each day we seem closer to him looking up at me and telling me what's on his mind.  I think he's going to have some pretty funny things to share.  

- People continue to be so kind to us.  It makes me so happy to think that Theo will grow up seeing the best of people, knowing that people are basically good at heart.  Our interactions over the past seven months has renewed my faith in humanity.  

For not knowing what I would write, that post turned out to be a lot longer than I expected!  Thanks for reading and following along on my journey.