Saturday, November 19, 2016

Things Don't Get Easier, Only Different.

Recently a few friends of mine have had babies, and it got me thinking about being a new mom. Also, my son turned two and I've been reflecting about those first few months. For me, it was such an overwhelming experience. Not only was I learning how to truly take care of another human for the first time, but the personal changes in my lifestyle were hard to accept.

New Baby, New Mom
Looking back now, there are times I actually wish I had a new baby instead of a toddler. They were so easy... sleep, eat, cry, coo, repeat... right? But when I was in it, it wasn't easy. The lack of sleep was severely impactful. Feeling like I was doing everything wrong when I couldn't get him to stop crying was soul crushing. Barely finding the time to eat, shower, or brush my teeth made me feel like I had lost my identity; My only purpose was to be a mom... and that was hard.

During the first months of being a mom I never thought I would look back in two years and think that time was easy. And it reality, it wasn't -- because I was learning an immense amount of shit in a very short amount of time. It's like when you look back at a relationship and only remember the good times even thought there was a lot of strife. Maybe this happens for an evolutionary reason; so we forget how bad it was and want to procreate again. At any rate, while I certainly don't know everything about raising a baby now, I ended up figuring out a system and process that worked for me, and things got easier. But here's the catch: as those things got easier, other crazy hard new things began to develop. And there I was, clueless again.

I'm sure if you asked older mothers, this is just the nature of raising a child. You finally figure out one milestone and the next comes and kicks you in the ass. This is why I say things don't get easier, they just get different. This is why looking back I remember more good than bad; because I figured those early trials out, and they don't seem so challenging anymore. The upcoming unknowns and the ones I'm currently in the thick of seem much more daunting than the stuff I have already made it through.

Having a toddler is a lot easier, and a lot harder than having a baby. He can tell me what's wrong, he sleeps through the night, he's super funny, and he has basic needs that I understand how to fulfill - which are all great. But he also expects fairly constant entertainment with parent participation, and the games he enjoys at this stage I personally find so boring and hard to get into. He is starting to do bad things like hit, yell, and throw stuff when he's mad, and if I don't watch him for one minute you better believe he's into something he shouldn't be.

I love my son, and I love that he challenges me every day. I feel like a bad mom when I admit to finding his stages a struggle, but the reality is going through these periods with him do make me a better person. It's this perspective I try to keep when I am tired of it all. Being a mom has made me learn more about myself than I ever thought possible, and while it's hard, it's a process that only expands my knowledge and perception. For this, I am grateful for all the daily struggles.

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