MOTHERHOOD

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Being a mom has been THE most amazing thing I have done. In my short 24 years, nothing comes close to carrying a child, watching her come into this world and then spending every second of the day nurturing her and watching her grow.

It's an amazing thing. Amazing - I just can't say it enough.

Before L was born, I thought I was going to be the perfect parent and any bad habit I had would just go away because I was going to be her mother. Where exactly was my head at?! But once I stopped beating myself up over things and just told myself  "look if you want it to change, then you have to change it" things have gotten better.

I used to be horrible at routines and doing things when they needed to get one. And with a child, you need to do that more than ever. It's the difference in a long, cranky day and a better day. Just this past week, I got myself sticking to a cleaning routine that doesn't leave me feeling overwhelmed during the weekend when the house looks like a tornado hit it. No, it isn't always fun to clean every day and no, I don't always want to do it but it's what works.

And naps? They were non-existent once L hit about 4-5 months old. She was outgrowing her swing, wanting nothing much to do with it. Eventually, she was learned how to sit up and lean out of it. Bedtime consisted of her screaming as soon as we put her down. I dreaded it. Just these past few weeks has that been changing. I almost don't want to write it. I don't want the good stuff to end. But, it was something I struggled with and beat myself up about and hopefully, it can help another new mom.

L always slept in the crib as a baby. I would rock her every night and rub her head until she drifted off. As she got older, that changed. We never set a bedtime or a nap time. We went with the flow. She doesn't like to be rocked now. But, laying her down in the crib awake wasn't much of an option either. M had the breakthrough with nap when he was on vacation for a week. It didn't always go smoothly after that, but it was better. Last week when I was on my own, I tryed my best to stay on her routine. For a few days, it worked. Some days, I had to run errands in the morning that ran through her nap time. And then, my parents came for a visit and we had long days full of fun! When I only see them a few times a year, there is no time for routines and schedules!

I battled with letting L cry it out. I hate hearing her cry, but I also didn't want the neighbors hearing her cries through the wall at night.  The walls are really thin and if I can hear them all. day. long then I know they can hear L. After many tearful nights (for both of us) and a few struggles with nap time, things just started to fall into place. The past two nights M has layed her down for bed, she has cryed for a minute or two and then she has slept through the night! Naps this week have been great. Yesterday and today she woke up within the first hour crying but I left her and she fell back asleep. She has now taken 2-4 hour naps every day this week. I figured out today that when she wakes up crying within the first hour, she isn't done napping. When she's done napping, she wakes up and I just hear her move around or bang on her toy.

I feel like motherhood has just gotten even more amazing now that I don't beat myself up over my baby not napping or going to bed easily. I am sure there will be more bumps in the road but it's now becoming a little easier. I don't dread the times I have to put her down in her crib. And, that's a huge relief.

Now, I can really focus on everything else my beautiful girl does. Like just now, I turned around to check on her and she was standing between the sofa and coffee table holding on to each one. When she saw me looking at her, she just crinkled her nose and laughed at me. It's still shocking to me to see this little girl who once needed everything done for her growing independent.

And every time she crinkles that teeny little nose of her and smiles at me, my heart melts.

Being a parent is hard. It's frustrating. We beat ourselves up over anything and everything we did wrong or didn't do at all. We compare ourselves to other parents. But all we can really do is be the best parent we know how to be.

Being a mom has made me the happiest I have been. I have a handsome, incredibly supportive husband and a beautiful, healthy + happy baby girl.

Whenever I feel like I am doubting myself or my mothering abilities, I will just think of my beautiful family and those smiles that come with the crinkly nose and know that we're all doing great and it's going to be okay.

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