Maybe it’s the nap time cocktail talking, but being a mom is definitely getting easier.
I can’t quite put my finger on why exactly that is though. Perhaps it’s because the first couple months (read: year) of becoming a parent are simply survival mode. Everyone warns you, and no matter how easy or tough your baby is, you’re still just trying to keep your head above water (refer to previous ramblings about becoming a mom and other tough stuff here, here and here.).
But after a year, I finally started to exhale. I lightened up with the schedule I was married to and just started to play. I became “fun” mom instead of crazy “don’t-make-a-single-peep-while-baby-is-sleeping-or-I’ll-end-you” mom (okay I’m still a little crazy about the noise factor, but that’s because I’m married to a man who walks down the hallway like he’s the hulk. Love that man, but he has not a single quiet bone in his body).
I realize now that I should’ve exhaled sooner and taken it all with a bit more laughter and a little less panic. But when you’ve never done this before and the fragility of human life is in your hands every day all day, panic is a super natural emotion. It’s hard to believe that one bad day won’t mess up a string of good days, like you can somehow jinx yourself and all your hard work is down the drain.
Thankfully, one day can’t ruin it all. Each day is brand new, grace starts over again, and the days are long but the years are short. Except the first year of being a parent, which is somehow the absolute longest year of your life.
But we did it! We finally passed the one year mark! Our little lady is 14 months old, and she’s walking and exploring and yammering on about everything. She can now safely eat peanut butter and mess up nap time and basically live life on the edge. She’s getting sturdier and so am I.
Even the unpredictability isn’t so bad. Sure there are still random meltdowns (like when I ask her not to play in the toilet or let mom hold the juice box so you don’t squeeze it literally everywhere). Crying ensues, but it’s usually short lived. And either way, I don’t get my panties in a frantic bunch like I used to trying to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it. I’ll tell you what’s wrong-you don’t like rules or eating like a civilized person and I’ll be right over here to play with you when the crazy wears off.
My baby is turning into a toddler and I kinda love it. I don’t necessarily love the defiance or the emotions that aren’t linear–which is what makes my very linear husband the MOST crazy. I thought he was going to have a mild stroke trying to get her to eat blueberries the other night: “but she freaking ate blueberries yesterday!! It doesn’t make any sense!!” Senseless, indeed. But she’s sweet and fun and so silly, and that makes the blueberry tantrums so much more tolerable.
In becoming a mom, I have experienced the goodness of the Lord in ways I never imagined. The journey is not short of it’s challenges, but it has some incredibly sweet rewards, too.
So take heart, new mamas, sunnier skies ARE ahead. Sure, lighten up when you can but that’s SO much easier said than done. And I totally get that. But praise the good Lord because it won’t always be this hard. I promise. They won’t always be helpless and so tiny, screaming at all hours of the day and night. You won’t always second guess yourself or stare intently just to see if they’re breathing.
It will get easier. And it will get more fun.
Yesssss the terrible twos are right around the corner for us, but I’m enjoying the sweetness and the simplicity of right now. Because right now we’re living in the land in-between-the land after the HARD, long, weepy tiny baby days and the land before the hard choices, bad choices, and deep, real heartache. Not that what’s to come is all bad; it’s just bigger and tougher and the stakes get higher.
There’s a reason they start off so little: they remind us of simple, carefree living and how to live our intense, heavy adult lives a little lighter.
These are the days of monkey noises and pool splashing. The days where gold fish are all that stand between a happy baby and a meltdown. Where books are adventures she wants to read again and again and again, and every stuffed animal just needs a hug.
The days of friendly innocence and giggles that make me turn into a pile of mush.
These are the days I want to remember when the storms of life come. These are the days I want to build up safety and trust and unconditional love inside our home so that she knows she always has somewhere to run when the world doesn’t make sense.
The first year is so much becoming and changing and learning. It’s taking life as you know it, flipping it upside down, and discovering a new normal. It’s dying to your selfishness in about a thousand different ways, and realizing you still have more to go.
It may not always feel like it, but there’s a joyful simplicity in childhood, in the little days, and I’m am going to embrace it. I’m going to wrap my arms around it-around my sweet baby who still adores me-and remember these moments for always.
Because even when it’s hard, these are truly the days that truly make life sweet.