My motherhood journey is just winging it. I think that you just have to find what works for you. There’s a lot of noise as a mom in this age. There’s always a blog about breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, or spanking vs not spanking, or helicoptering vs free range parenting… but there’s an article to support everything. Take everything that you have thought you would do, or be, or say, and be willing to let that go in the moment and do what works for your family. That’s our philosophy. Educate yourself, but take what you need and apply it in a way that suits your personalities–yours and your kids.
Motherhood started off rough for me because I had to go back to work at six weeks. And I had a surgeryat four weeks postpartum–some post-breastfeeding complications turned into something that required surgery. And then a week and a half after that, I had to go back to work, with an infant in daycare and hole in my body. It was hard… it was really hard. We went through a lot that first year, from the breastfeeding issues, to your baby being sick all the time, to the guilt of being at work. It’s so hard to work and leave them.
My son is three-and-a-half now. He tells me all the time that he is about to be four (though not until June). I tell him, “slow down.” It’s fun at this age–we have such a good time. He cracks me up. He’s so challenging. Right now, we’re working a on listening… because he sucks at it. His personality is starting to show.
My favorite part about parenting is that it’s grounding. No matter what else is happening in my life, thats brings me back to earth. Recently I had a panic attack while I was driving–the most severe attack I’ve ever had in my life. Knowing I had to go pick him up, and talking about it out loud in my car, was what brought me back to earth. I had chest pains before and after, but while I was with him, and bathing him, everything calmed down.
My least favorite thing about being a mom is doubting myself all the time, wondering how much I’m messing him up. I joke that he will be in therapy blaming me for something one day, but I try to make sure that they’re not things I’m doing knowingly. So the self doubt, and there’s a lot of fear in the world right now. I sometimes wonder why I brought a child into this world. There are a lot of things going around about millennials–about how they don’t want to have children because of the state of the world. It’s a fear that we’ve created a terrible world for the next generation, and sometimes I’m like, “what if I do this wrong?” I’m afraid that I won’t be able to protect him from being hurt. I’m afraid he’s going to be as sensitive as I am. Being an empath is a blessing and a curse. It allows me to connect to people, so I don’t have a problem seeing why someone feels hurt or unloved. But it destroys me because I take on the weight of everything.
My husband and I have been together for fourteen years. We are both artists, and artists are notoriously a little selfish–you have to be because your craft, your output, is all about you. For a long time we didn’t think that we wanted kids, and we were okay with that. Then, when I was 31 years old, I went to visit some friends of ours in Seattle, and they had just had a baby. This couple is probably the most like us, so seeing them with a little baby made me think “I can do this, too.”
I came back from that trip, and I was talking to my husband about seeing people in a tiny little apartment in a big city, still doing it. And we just made a plan of when in the year we would start trying. Every big decision we’ve made, when one of us brings it up, the other one’s already been thinking about it. We got very lucky–when we decided to start trying, it was pretty immediate. We didn’t find out what we were having until he was born. It was the coolest thing, and no body in our family understood it. It was an amazing and magical moment when I was pushing out this baby and my husband said “my god, It’s a boy!” It never really clicked that I was carrying a real human baby until that boy was put on my chest, and I thought “hooooly crap, this is a real person.”
Having a little person and seeing a developing personality is… it’s so big. That I created a little person, and I’m daily shaping who they are, it’s so powerful. It’s terrifying and gratifying.
“Bright Mom” will be a recurring segment celebrating the diverse journeys of mothers. It will feature real moms sharing their stories, struggles, joys, fears, and philosophies behind their parenting. If you’re a Bright Mom, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.