As an adult, I found myself so focused on getting pregnant, I didn't think about what it would mean—really mean—to be a mommy.
Sure, I knew the requirements on paper: give birth. hold cuddly baby. love them. raise them. send them out in the world. But the true job description didn't sink in until I saw my son for the first time.
1. you can no longer be selfish.
I have never been an overly-selfish person. BUT, when it came time to do something for me, be it a nap, an impromptu shopping excursion or two-hour bath, I just DID IT. Now, I have to schedule my showers. If I have to go to the bathroom, the little man comes with me. Forget about mommy's nap time—that's secondary to their schedule. If he's awake, well, you are too.
2. you will love something more than you can even imagine.
I love my family. I LOVE my husband. But the love I felt for my son when I met him rivals NO other feeling I've ever had. I find myself randomly crying out of happiness because he is in my life. It is the best—and scariest—thing ever.
3. you have to REALLY trust other people.
I worked my ass off to bring my baby into the world. I thought there'd be no way in hell I'd let him leave my arms. No one could do for him what I could, right? Then you find that you're hungry. Or tired. Or stressed. I needed to find the strength within to be able to trust other people with my most prized possession. I am very lucky to have an amazing family to babysit when needed, and am glad he’s able to find comfort in other people's arms. My trust of others is teaching him he can do the same.
4. you have to be okay without sleep.
You hear that you'll be sleep deprived, but you have NO IDEA what that'd be like until you live it. And this comes from a girl who has lived with chronic insomnia for the past five years. It is the most difficult, taxing and draining experience. There were some days that I would get a mere three hours. FOR THE WHOLE DAY. The saying "sleep when the baby sleeps" is not always easy to follow. There are bottles to clean, clothes to wash, food to make, a family to take care of (not to mention caring for yourself) ... Now that he’s a toddler, I spend my day chasing him from room to room. Sleep? I’ll get plenty of it when I’m dead.
5. you have to remember there are other people in the world besides your baby.
At the end of the day, the man that helped make the love of your life is still here. Pay attention to him. Your friends and family—the best support system in the world—wants to be acknowledged every once in awhile. Talk to them. They'll help you feel human again. Our doctor told us to take advantage of date nights every so often, and it's one of the most refreshing things we can do for ourselves. (Plus, it helps us remember why we wanted to have a baby with one another in the first place ... we LOVE each other!)
6. you don't always have to be baby-minded.
Take a break from baby. Have an hour or two where you don't talk about them. Enjoy some "me" time. It could be as simple as getting a drink from Sonic to de-stress. I would talk to friends, with the express wish that we not talk about baby during that time.
7. you can plan and schedule, but be okay with breaking it.
I am a very type-A gal, and enjoy lists, schedules and the like. It's good to keep baby's life scheduled, but realize that he can—and will—throw the whole thing off. Feeding every four hours sounds good, but when he gets his first growth spurt, your whole week is shot. Bath time can be planned at night, but a good morning spit-up will through the whole thing off. I have a mantra: "we'll start again fresh tomorrow" ... Find yours.
8. you have to be okay with crying.
It's a well-known fact: babies cry. A lot. Often. Sometimes, for no reason. I heard that there are different cries for just about everything, and it's true. I now understand when he's hungry, fussy, angry, tired or just wants to be loved.
9. you have to sacrifice.
Unless you're really well-off, a baby will rock your world financially. Diapers, formula, clothes, bottles, day care, doctors bills ... it's enough to send you to the poor house! Get your priorities straight (hint: baby is now number one) and budget, budget, budget. It's hard, but he's worth it.
10. you have to be okay with life never being the same.
Life as I knew it ended when he was born. And that's perfectly okay with me.
My journey with Noah is only beginning, and I'm learning something new every day. I found out that I can be a very patient person. I really don't need to sweat the little stuff. Work is just a job, but my family is the big picture.
It’s been almost two years since he’s been born, and he is worth every hardship, sacrifice, joy and pain I have and will endure. THAT is what being a mommy is all about.