A List of Thoughts from my Eighth Month of Motherhood
A list of thoughts from my eighth month of being a mother.
Leo fell off bed for the first time this month. I know this happens to everyone. That does not make it more fun.
I felt very bad that she fell off the bed. But then I did some googling (I know, I can't help it) and then I felt bad that I hadn't felt as bad as I should have. She fell off the bed and I was upset and she was upset, but I figured she'd be ok, she was giggling again a few minutes later and didn't have any bumps or bruises. But when I googled it I saw that other peoples' kids fall off the bed and they immediately run to the ER. Then I spent a few hours wondering if I don't love my baby as much as those people love their babies or if I'm just not as crazy as they are and then I finally settled on the fact that I love my baby the perfect amount and she fell a foot and a half onto carpet and maybe the other people had a 6 foot high bed that fell onto a concrete floor. So I'm sure everyone's making the right choices.
I realize this is going to sound super cheesy, but I feel like this is what I was supposed to do. Not exclusively, mind you. I really, really like working outside the house a few days a week (if I didn't then I maybe wouldn't feel like this was so great). But I feel like everything sort of makes sense, that it all just clicked and my life is how it's supposed to be. I was always afraid I'd regret having kids but it's a nice surprise to feel the opposite. All that to say, I like Leo and she makes my life better.
Our air conditioner went out (add that to the flooded basement and damaged roof 🙄) and I've discovered that the phrase, "Well we have a baby..." makes people get things done faster.
Leo and I went to the zoo for the first time this month. It made me really excited for all the fun places I get to go now (zoo! museums! science center!) under the guise of "taking my kid."
I still hate breastfeeding, but not as much as I'll hate it when I have to cook/feed her three meals a day. I can barely feed myself three times a day! Now I have to feed someone else, too!? Not into it. Maybe she'll just be one of those kids who breastfeeds until they're 5.*
* She will absolutely not be one of those kids who breastfeeds until they're 5.
Fake coughing makes her laugh. Hard. Every time. And it's hilarious.
I know people say this, but time really goes so much faster now. And not just in the "Oh my gosh she's getting too big too fast" way but in like, "I thought I vacuumed last week. Oh, that was 2 months ago?" kind of way.
I found out we live within walking distance of a cemetery and I am SO excited to share my love of cemetery walking with Leo!!
I am not excited about actual parenting. I like that Leo's a baby and she doesn't really do anything she's not supposed to. I also like that she smiles super big every time I walk into the room (to be fair, she smiles like that when anyone walks into a room, but still). But I know both of those things are not going to last forever and soon I'll have to do actual parenting, not just fake coughing to make her laugh all the time.
I was always super afraid my anxiety as a mom would be unbearable. But it's actually the complete opposite. I don't know if it's the hormones or the Zoloft or that it just puts everything else in perspective, but my anxiety is the best it's been in years. I tell you that just to say, if you have bad anxiety and you think you can't imagine having kids because of how bad it will be, just know there's a chance it won't be! I mean, there's also a chance it will be. But who knows!?
My weight doesn't matter nearly as much as it used to. I'm still at least 20 pounds away from my old clothes fitting, and some days that makes me sad, but most of the time I don't really notice/care. I'm mostly just happy my ribs moved back where they belong and I'm not exclusively wearing maternity pants anymore. Don't get me wrong, I care. I care enough that I'm doing Weight Watchers and going to the gym a few times a week, but I don't care to the point where I'm crying every time I have to get dressed. So I count that as a win!
Spit up is even grosser now because she eats real food so it smells like actual vomit and not just spit up and it's the worst.
^ Same as above but with diapers. Ugh.
I'm really terrified that Leo is going to be an extrovert. She loves people. All she wants is for people to look at her. She spent an entire church service straining for strangers' eye contact and then smiling and giggling when she got it. She did the same thing at the store the other day. She just wants everyone to look at her and talk to her and interact with her, which is diametrically opposed to every life goal I have.
I used to see pregnant women and think "Oh how exciting!" and now I see them and think "Oh that poor woman. I bet she's sweating a bunch. I bet her ankles are swollen and her legs are chafing and she has to pee."
Leo learned to give kisses and it might be the best thing that's ever happened to me. When she does it it's just a giant, open-mouthed slobber, and when she doesn't want to she turns away and giggles. So really, either way I win.
I've figured out the key to being a great mom. I know, I know. "How!?" you ask. You've only been a mom for 8 months, how could you possible have figured out this incredible, elusive secret every mother for the last 500 years has been searching for and chasing after? Well, I did. Are you ready for it? Here it is. Have lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of help.
But really. SO much help.
I don't think I can even begin to explain to you all the help I have. Let me break it down for you. Ben's aunt watches Leo on Mondays so I can go to work. Ben's mom watches Leo on Wednesdays and Fridays so I can work and run errands. She also cooks us 2-3 meals per week and does our dishes and laundry and vacuums when she's here. Ben takes the monitor and lets me sleep in (in a different room all by myself!!) as long as I want every Tuesday morning (and usually at least once a weekend). Ben takes her every Thursday morning until noon so I can go to the gym or go to Target or take a nap. Every time Ben has to work a lot or goes out of town I go to my parents' house where they take her in the morning and tell me to go back to sleep. And they also drive down here anytime I need/ask to hang out with her and/or me. We have an awesome babysitter we love and trust who loves hanging out with Leo. And we have amazing friends who hold a screaming Leo during small group so I can sit and eat in peace.
I totally get that most people don't have NEARLY the amount of help that I do (I am SO SO SO SO SO grateful for all these people, by the way). But for me, this is the absolute key to being a good mom. When I have the chance to be away from Leo and miss her, and when I have the chance to take care of myself so that I feel good (both physically and mentally), and when I have the chance to do some of the things I used to love doing, it makes my time with her so much better. It makes me more present and engaged and appreciative of our time together.
I'm not telling you this just to brag about how great my life is. In fact, I was super nervous even publicly sharing how much help I have because I was really afraid people would think I was a terrible mom for not spending more time with my daughter or that I'm spoiled or not doing enough for her myself. There's some weird, deep-seated assumption that you're not a good enough mom and don't really love your kids if you're not miserable and killing yourself to sacrifice everything for them. But then I realized 1) I don't care what other people say and/or think and 2) this works suuuper well for me and Leo will be much better off with a happy mom than a miserable, stressed out, exhausted one.
But I AM telling you all this because I post a lot of pictures of a smiley, happy baby, I talk about how great she is and how much I love her. And I'm sure there are some moms out there who can't relate, who have a colicky baby that never sleeps and won't eat and they're struggling and wondering why their life isn't as easy. And I just want to make sure we're clear that my life isn't always easy, but it is WAY easier because I have a ridiculously amazing team of people that make it that way. We are so fortunate to have so many people that love us and love Leo and take care of us. And it gives me the chance to really enjoy our life. But it's not because I'm a great mom, it's because I'm very sneaky and have purposefully surrounded myself with lots of incredible people who help us and make things easy.
So I guess my one tip would be, find people who make your life easier and then hook them with a cute baby so they can't refuse when you ask for help 😂