Yesterday was my first Mother’s Day! Technically, last year I was a mom. Levi was just a 9 week old fetus the size of an olive and we were in France. So needless to say, without a baby in arms and with being in a different country, I didn’t feel very “motherly”. This year was much different!
Our day started out like any other. I brought Levi to our room around 7 AM to feed him. This might just be one of my favorite times of the day with him. Once he eats, we cuddle and play together. And when Brian is home from work in the mornings, its even better! I couldn’t help but reflect yesterday as I watched my little baby sleeping next to me, how blessed I truly am to be his mama. I think that often, but yesterday–as I lay there thinking about women who are unable to have children or who have suffered miscarriages, and how hard the day must be for those women–it was very evident to me how much grace God has shown Brian and I in providing us with a beautiful, healthy son.
Our day continued with heading to church, where all the mother’s were given white roses. Then, we went to lunch at Mimi’s Cafe. The wait time was an hour when we got there, so we put our name on the list and went next door to Barnes and Noble to walk around for 30 or so minutes. Brian made sure that we stopped in the cookbook section–my favorite 🙂 Lunch at Mimi’s was delicious and so fun! Our wait ended up running into Levi’s feeding time, which I thought was going to be a horror. But he stayed so happy the entire time! Even when we got to our table, he was laughing and looking around and didn’t even show any interest in eating. So that made for a nice lunch for me!
We then headed home and watched a movie, took a walk around Village Manor and then to the seminary to visit with some friends. It was a very nice day, overall!
So, the point of this post was to share some of the things I’ve learned about being a mom these past 5.5 months. The good, the bad and the ugly. It’s been a long road and a big learning curve, but entirely rewarding. Here we go:
- There are good days and there are bad days…and each depend on how well-fed and well-rested both Levi and I are. I knew that a fed and rested baby was typically a happy baby, but I didn’t realize how much my patience and nurture depended on those things as well. I have learned to make sure I eat three meals and a snack each day. And I’m also not ashamed to sleep a little longer in the morning when Levi does–I, personally, have found that I need that.
- A spiritually-fed mommy makes a world of difference! When I make sure to set aside time during Levi’s morning nap to read the Word and reflect on God’s goodness for a bit, it completely changes my disposition for the day.
- Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize time with Brian. This is harder than I thought it would be. My natural inclination as a mother is to care for my baby–but I cannot let my care for my husband be overlooked. For us, this means putting Levi to bed around 8 every night (when possible), so that we can drink some coffee together, watch a show, talk, do homework, whatever. We just need that baby-free time to show love and attention to one another instead of just focusing on Levi.
- Poop, pee, spit up, boogers, earwax and any other bodily fluids become the norm. I’ve grown accustomed to such things. Plus, when its your own kid, it doesn’t end up being as weird or gross as it seems.
- I try not to compare Levi with other babies or myself with other moms. I have found that it’s helpful to ask how other people do things (schedules, solids, play time, etc.), but I have also found that I need to do what works best for me and for Levi. Each baby is different!
- I need to get out at least once a day. The transition from working full-time to staying at home full-time was much more difficult than I had imagined. I, personally, just need contact with other adults outside of my home everyday. Sometimes, this involves going grocery shopping, running errands, sitting at a coffee shop with Levi, taking a walk around our apartment complex, etc.
- If he sleeps through the night once, it doesn’t mean he’ll automatically do it again the next night. I found myself getting very frustrated with this issue early on. Finally, I just adopted the mindset of going to bed with low expectations for the number of hours he would sleep. If he woke in the night, I wouldn’t be upset because I was already expecting it. If he slept longer, it was a pleasant surprise and I would be proud of him.
- Being a mom is a never-ending job of service. When I’m exhausted, when I’m sick, when I’m hungry…I’m still a mom and I still have a duty to care for my son. Luckily, I have my husband who graciously helps and serves me in those times and on a daily basis. Couldn’t do it without him!
- Breastfeeding is not the easiest route, but it is super rewarding. I find it easy now, but when we were first starting out, breastfeeding was harder than I expected. I had to work very hard to establish my milk supply (nursing regularly with pumping in between–so exhausting!), the ever-present question: “Is he getting enough?”, and Levi just being a pokey eater in general. But now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, not only is it easy, but also very rewarding. There is an inexplicable bond that comes from breastfeeding.
- Lastly, becoming a mom has shown me, even more so, my need for God’s grace. I am a self-centered sinner that needs God’s love and redemption on a daily basis. This parenthood thing is by no means easy, but it certainly helps to reveal our relationship to the Father.