I’m pretty new to this parenting thing. My daughter Abby is only seven months old. My tagline says, “Each day is a new adventure,” which is true; every new day brings something new. It seems like each day she does something different. Not long ago she rolled over for the first time, now she is pulling herself up and walking along the couch unassisted. She used to get so upset when I would leave her in the care of my husband for a few minutes so I could bathe, now, sprinkled in the incoherent squeals and baby babble you hear, “Dada!”
I was not a stranger to babies before becoming pregnant and having my own. I love my nieces and nephews fiercely and have tried to be very attentive and involved since they were born. Growing up I spent a lot of Saturday nights, afternoons after school, and summers babysitting. None of this really prepared me for becoming a parent.
When I found out I was pregnant I scoured BabyCenter and other online forums for what to expect when I went into labor, went to the hospital, and was handed an infant. I tried to read books and websites, but I still had that incredibly scary moment of, “What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” and “They really just let you take a tiny person home?” when the nurse put Abby on my chest in the operating room. I planned to be the mom who would make all my own baby food, use only cloth diapers, and teach my baby sign language. I said I would never co-sleep or use a pacifier.
Some days it feels like I have it all together. I prepped everything to take to the babysitter’s house and to work the night before so I was able to leave the house on time and was able to stop at Starbucks for coffee on the way to work. I finished three loads of laundry and put it all away in my dresser instead of it sitting in a pile on the bed in the guest bedroom, yes! Supper was cooking in the oven when hubby came home. The dishwasher was loaded and unloaded. The baby went to bed right at eight o’clock and we were able to watch an uninterrupted episode of The Walking Dead. Wow! I’m really kicking ass at this mom thing!
Other days it feels like I’m not cut out for this. Abby cried all through my shower, so I cut it short and didn’t get to shave my legs (again, sorry, honey…). After getting her calmed down and place her in her bouncy seat so I can finish getting ready for work, I start to comb my hair and realize that I forgot to rinse out my conditioner. At work I get distracted by Facebook while pumping breast milk and feel a wet sensation on my leg, only to notice that one of my bottles has overflowed. Damn it. A coworker tells me that I have something on my shoulder and when I look in the mirror I see that its baby boogers. Later, I drop a container of pureed peas on the beige carpet and can’t stop crying because all I want is one whole hour of uninterrupted sleep. Why can’t I have just one easy day?
Being a mom is hard, by far the hardest job I have ever had. Before having a child I never realized how hard it was, mainly because I think I’ve often been around great moms who always make it look easy. I am so awed and amazed by other moms, like my sister, who has three small rugrats and was able to finish her master’s degree, my grandmother who raised seven girls, or my friend who home schools several of her brood of seven. Moms not only take care of themselves but take care of their children, their families. In this day and age, many of them work outside the home, but then also take care of or share the responsibilities of taking care of the home. Often their job is thankless, or not as appreciated as it should be.
I may not be a perfect mom- is there even such a thing? But I try my hardest to be the best mother I can be for my daughter each and every day, no matter what life throws at me. I smile and sing “You Are My Sunshine” even though I have a pounding headache. We read her five favorite books again one more time before bed. When she is grumpy I play peek-a-boo and try to find all of her tickle spots to make her smile and laugh. I hold her all night long on the couch when she is sick and won’t sleep in bed, even though my arms feel like they are going to fall off and my neck has a permanent kink. My life is filled with new adventures, full of spilled peas, booger shirts, slobbery kisses, and giggles. I can’t think of anything better.