Everyone says motherhood is difficult, exhausting, often thankless work. As a new mother six weeks deep, I have to admit, I tend to agree. Caring for my baby is wonderful work but it is hard work. I have not ventured into this type of selflessness until now. It is new territory for me and probably the most obvious change to my previously childless life. I am charged with the responsibility of meeting my daughter’s every need. She needs me to live (In fact I am nursing her as I write this)! This mom gig is the real deal.
I am learning how to cope with the loss of my self-absorption pre-baby and hoping to thrive as a mother to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. To do this, I get creative with the crazy things raising a little human throws my way.
When she cries, sometimes I laugh. That sounds awful, but social norms go out the window when you become a parent. When baby girl is fussy and starts to have a whimpy little cry, I just laugh at her. She will look at me with a face that says “are you not taking me seriously?” and then make another feeble cry attempt, which makes me giggle again. Laughing helps make a a little cry just a little cry and not a big stressor.
Babies are known for making messes. The most notorious is the poop explosion. I am a regular victim of this natural disaster and it can have the mental and physical impact of a disaster area if you let it. To prevent a complete breakdown and pity party, I manage the calamity by making up a ridiculous song about the extraordinary circumstances of my baby’s diaper. You won’t be hearing this song on the radio anytime soon.
The most difficult baby responsibility for me is the middle of the night wake up calls. Whether it’s feeding time, diaper changing time, or hiccup time, this mommy is not great at keeping a positive attitude at 3:00 in the morning. That is when things get hard and I just want to cry (very similarly to the baby). Sometimes all I can do is simply stare at my baby’s face and hold her tiny hand and know that even the hard times are a gift.
Being a mom and learning how to care completely, love deeply, and remain a wonderfully made independent woman takes more grace than I can describe. At times I’m simply making it through the day and on the rare occasion I win first place for “moming” in public. Despite the successes or utter failures, I will continue to make every attempt to survive with a smile in hope that my daughter will become a woman who laughs even in the midst of life’s best messes.