Twelve days ago our beautiful daughter came into this world, and just like that I was a momma of two. It’s funny, you quickly forget how tiny a newborn is. While Rhyan is a healthy 8 pounds, 5 ounces (8 pounds, 10 ounces at birth), not small by any means, compared to Logan’s current 23+ pounds, she’s a peanut. Having her home, it’s made me more aware of just how much he has grown in the past 14 months.
My first baby is quickly moving into toddlerhood. When did that happen? Logan recently started walking — to be exact, it happened the day his sister was born. He had been taking a few unassisted steps here and there, but it wasn’t until he got to my hospital room that he walked from the window to the table, and then to my bed.
I know he’s still a “baby,” but witnessing the changes and bits of independence he exerts daily just hammers in the paradox that is motherhood. You spend 10 months growing this life inside your womb, feeling the kicks and pokes, listening to the heartbeat at doctor’s visits, and then the birth — where you finally get to meet this tiny human you’ve loved for the better part of the year. And your heart just explodes. You want to hold them close, keeping them safe in that bubble of innocence that surrounds children — but the greater part of parenthood involves helping your babies develop the tools needed to go off in to the world… on their own.
While I get beyond excited, and encourage each of Logan’s passing milestones, I also get a little bit sad because I feel like he’s growing up too fast. He’s already started shaking his head “no.” I don’t think he realizes what he’s saying (or maybe he does) because he’ll randomly start doing it when we’re talking to him, ha. Perhaps it’s a possible prelude to what’s to come with the terrible twos.
We spent Mother’s Day with both families (minus my sister, who’s in North Carolina), and as I sat at the table looking at my mom, Myles’ mom and grandma, I couldn’t help but think about these strong women and their motherhood journeys. Each had their own struggles and joys. I don’t think I fully understood — nor could I — the ups and downs of being a mom until I had babies of my own.
For me, being a mom is one of the best, most rewarding, but also emotionally taxing (in both good and bad ways) jobs. Feeling very grateful for all of the strong women in my life from whose example I can learn and take a page. I think each motherhood journey is ultimately yours to make, but it sure does help to have shoulders to lean on and hands to help when you need it. Something I have to constantly remind myself is that there’s no such thing as being the “perfect” mom, but there are a lot of different ways you can be a great one.
I asked some wonderful moms in my life to share the best and hardest parts of motherhood for them so far:
The vulnerability you feel and the constant sense of worry that never goes away.
Finding that balance between your career and being a mom. Achieving flexibility in the workplace has been the hardest part. It didn’t occur to me until my son was two that I didn’t need to be the best at my career and the best mother at the same time. They can occur independently.
Pumping full time for a month, while my son was learning to breastfeed. It was hard accepting it not coming “naturally.” I wanted to feed my son so bad, but he couldn’t and would just cry — I felt like a bad mom. On top of that, pumping was tough because when you pump every three hours and feed in between, you feel like you do nothing but feed, pump, and clean pump parts.
Knowing that I am responsible for raising this child and who he will ultimately become in the world. There’s always this fear that I might not make the right decisions for him or teach him the right lessons. I pray everyday that he will grow up to be the kind, caring, generous, and altruistic person that I want him to be.
Juggling working from home and spending time with my daughter has been the hardest part of motherhood so far. We are together most hours of any given day and sometimes it feels like I’ve done nothing other than feeding, changing, and keeping her occupied. It’s not easy to steer a company with someone literally hanging off of your body in some fashion during most of any given day.
The lack of sleep. And with two kids, it seems like someone is always sick, so I am up all night trying to make them feel better or my toddler wants to sleep in bed with us or the baby wakes up at 4am and is ready to take on the day. I am always exhausted.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as terrible twos. I think it’s terrible threes and have been told it lasts until age six! All the screaming, temper tantrums, “no’s!” And not listening… it’s so hard and exhausting to stay consistent with discipline. I am always questioning myself and wondering if my way of disciplining is the best way or if I need to be doing something different.
Remembering to take time for myself, especially to relax and rest. I always thought I could just go, go, go, but having a baby has shown me I definitely need to focus on myself, as well… which is hard to do when you’re 100% consumed by a little one.
The intense emotions you experience. One moment I am blissfully in love with my daughter and in an instant I can be so frustrated when she’s spitting food at me or extremely upset for no reason that I can discern. It’s a cliché, but motherhood certainly is a roller coaster.
When they are young adults and start to separate from you. Thinking they know it all, they want to do things their way, Especially when it’s not right — you know they’re wrong, but you have to let them make their own mistakes.
Kids give a different meaning to “the little things in life.” Because all you need is to be together as a family — with the kids, sitting on the bed or couch, giggling and having fun. That’s the real meaning of life and happiness. It’s those little moments.
Using the kids as an excuse to be late, get out of certain events, and leave early, ha.
I’ve always been very independent and pretty selfish, so at first the thought of being my son’s constant provider was daunting. However, the best part of being a mom is that it took me out of my head and gave me someone else to care deeply about. I’ve realized that I stopped focusing on my imperfections as much, because he simply doesn’t see them. And that selflessness that he’s given me has brought me the most joy.
My daughter is three and in school now, and it makes me so proud when I’ve taught her something and she uses it — like when she writes her name all by herself or remembers to say “please” and “thank you” without me reminding her.
Watching your child as he develops into the person he is meant to become. I love to see him use his mind to make his own decisions!
One of my favorite parts of being a mother is that I feel like I have free license to be very childlike in ways I wouldn’t otherwise experience. I get down on the floor and roll around tickling my daughter, I dance ridiculously around the living room, I squeal and laugh and cuddle with her in ways adults just seem to have forgotten.
The simplest of things bring joy to my children. There is nothing better than seeing your kids’ eyes light up and big smile on their faces!
I’ve never experienced a love that is so all encompassing — even on the hardest day when my daughter is so needy I want to scream, a hug and a smile from her can just melt me and almost bring me to tears… the happy kind, not the frustrated kind. (She can also produce the frustrated type, ha.)
The new sense of confidence that comes from naturally knowing what is best for your child. Not in an arrogant way, but through the bond you have with your baby. It’s the instinctual part of motherhood.