I think people forget, in all the chaos of starting a family, just how truly amazing the whole process is. I think we get lost in all the late night feedings, diaper changes, and hectic schedules that come with it. I know that’s how I felt anyway. Although I loved Nash and was incredibly thankful to have him, I never took the time to appreciate certain things that I now look back on with amazement. I have a painful, yet unique, viewpoint after going from a busy first time mommy to an empty nester. When Todd and I became pregnant with Nash, we were thirty years old and set in our ways. I was nervous about the selfish things. How would I ever be able to go out again? Would I still have a life of my own? Would I become a different person like I had seen so many other mothers do? It scared me. I wanted to be a mommy but not lose myself in the process. I still wanted to be me, I still wanted Todd and I to be us. Once Nash was born, that worry and concern went out the window. Why would I want to go out? What’s better then being curled up on the couch staring at my precious baby?
I don’t necessarily think that it’s the wrong attitude to have, and I think most mothers would agree that making sacrifices is part of what makes you a good mom, but looking back now I have mixed feelings. If I didn’t have this time to sit back and reflect, I would have never thought twice about it. I would have just gone on parenting in that fog of daily chaotic schedules and never ending worry and stress that comes with taking care of a child. Unfortunately, I have the time. I think about Todd rushing to pick Nash up from daycare at the end of a long work day. Or the mornings he didn’t have to go to work. On those days it was his turn to get Nash from his crib when he would wake in the morning. I would listen to Todd on the baby monitor talking to Nash as he picked him up and brought him to our room. He would set him on the bed between us and we would chat for a while before getting ready for the day. I think of Todd feeding him his bottle so I could make dinner, or taking him from me after he had his bath so I could wash his tub and put it away. Carrying him into a store, diaper bag in one arm car seat in the other. I never thought twice about it then. We were just going through the motions like we had done everyday since Nash was born. I didn’t take the time to really look at Todd and see just how…sexy that is. Seeing the man you love tending to the baby you created together.
I think about our new little boy on the way and know I will take these moments, which some would otherwise call mundane or less than important, and I will treasure them. These small, seemingly insignificant moments that get lost in the shuffle of life. It’s a roller coaster going from being a couple to being new parents and then back to just being a couple. We are rolling with the punches and trying to adapt to what has been thrown at us, but it’s hard. We went from slow paced to fast paced back to slow paced. There were times in that first couple of months with Nash when I thought, “Wow, this is hard. Did I chose the right thing?” I feel awful for that thought now, but I’m sure other mothers have thought similar things. He would cry and I would get exhausted and scream at Todd because he was the only one within earshot. Life with a new baby is messy, hard, tiring, and changes you as a couple. Looking back now, I don’t think it had to be this way. I’m going to appreciate this new little boy’s cries in the middle of the night, appreciate the chaos of loading him up in the car and hauling him around to different things.
It’s strange that the things that make being a mom hard are the the things you miss the most. One mother told me after her teenage daughter died in a car accident that she would give anything to argue with her again, just one more time. I can relate to that feeling. Relate to missing what you think are the hard things about being a parent. These are the things that define you as a mother. I lost my patience with Nash at times and felt inadequate when I couldn’t get him to calm down. I worried about what others thought of what I was doing, how I was raising him, and he was only five months old! I know this only gets worse as they get older, but you don’t have that time to sit back, look at the family you are raising and smile and be thankful for the messiness of it all. I think I can relate to my parents now, being an empty nester. You look back at the good, the bad and the ugly and cringe and smile. You would do some things differently and some things exactly the same.
This is going to sound strange, but try and follow if you can. I feel like Todd and I will be more like grandparents than parents to this new baby boy. We have had time to reflect. Time to realize how fast it all goes by. Time to think about how easy it is to lose sight of each other and the love that brought you together to start your family to begin with. When I’m finding it hard to be thankful for things, I’m thankful for that. We are more prepared, more insightful, more in love than ever before. I know I will still make mistakes, still lose my patience, but I know now to appreciate it all. To stop, breathe, and when i get a chance, I’ll look around and make sure to pat myself on the back and think, “I’m not doing so bad.”