I am going to take a stab at defining some of my expectations of being a mother. And since this will post in my first week as a mother, I thought it would be kind of fun to look back at this and see if any of them were reasonable. This might be a little easier in retrospect say like a year from now. But in theme with the mini blog series I am doing on expectations, I thought I would give this a try. First, I have to confess that I am terrified and I have no clue what this is going to be like. I feel completely unequipped to take care of a little person and raise them to become a functioning adult. My parents and friends with children have reassured me that every new parent feels this way. Especially when coming home from the hospital. The thoughts are “Wait, where is the manual for this thing? And they really are going to let me take him/her home?”
Expectation number one is that I am going to be tired. Like really tired for the first few years of her life. Although, on second thought, I might be really tired all of her life because having a teenager sounds like a time where loss of sleep is guaranteed. Hmm.. maybe you get to sleep when they are in elementary school? I pray that by some grace of God, my daughter manages to have an easier go at being a teen than I did. But now I am getting ahead of myself. Rumor has it infants get up every two hours to eat around the clock. So I am expecting I won’t sleep. And because of this, I am expecting in my delirium to at times be grumpy. I am hoping and praying that I don’t hurt my husband/parents too much in this totally sleep deprived state.
Second, I am expecting I will love this little person more than I can even fathom. I am genuinely curious about a mother’s love. It’s something I have tried and tried to imagine. But I just can’t. Just like I tried to imagine what it would be like to love my husband before I was married. Seriously so much greater than I could even grasp until I was walking in it. Parents tell me that there is nothing like loving a child. So I anxiously await experiencing this great love. People have told me that it gives you insight into God’s love in a whole new way. I am eager to have this new insight as well.
Third, I am expecting that I will discover a new part of myself that I didn’t know before. The mom part of me. I have always wanted to be a mom. I have maternal instincts and attributes already; but I know that there are things that I haven’t developed because I haven’t had to. I am excited to develop in this way and figure out who I am as a mom. I anticipate I will become an expert on things like breastfeeding, baby things, responding to cries, multitasking, cleaning up puke, showering in two minutes, and many other things mom’s do that I don’t even know about.
Fourth, I am expecting to discover how selfish I really am. If I am honest, right now my life revolves very much around myself and of course Chad. It’s not that I never think about other people. I just anticipate learning just how much I prioritize my needs over the needs of others and how selfish I am when these things are in jeopardy. My time will no longer be mine. There will be another person’s needs that will come before mine. And while Chad and I do that for each other, there is often compromise involved so we both can have needs met in a timely fashion. Luxuries like spending a day at a coffee shop or a book store will be over too. Unless one of us is at home with her, she won’t have the patience to hang out while we read/write/code and hibernate a snowy day away.
I am expecting it to go entirely too fast. I think about how fast my pregnancy went and tear up thinking about all the milestones she will go through in just the first year. I know at two in the morning when she is crying, I won’t feel this way. I probably won’t feel this way when she is two and melting down in the middle of a store while I am a shade of crimson. But I want to treasure it all, because I feel like I will blink and I will be watching her walk down the isle getting married. I mean isn’t this just what happened to my parents? I’m sure my mom feels like just yesterday she was in my shoes, about to give birth. In my sappy hormonal state, I have already cried about her future wedding day and all the feelings I think I’ll have in that moment. Seriously people.
Finally, I expect this to be the hardest thing that I have ever done. I think I will be humbled with all the things that I thought I knew and don’t. (All those moments where you think “If I was the mom, I’d do blah blah blah and my kid wouldn’t do blah blah blah). I have been thinking about that lately and how the reality is you are trying to raise a person, who has an independent will, who is going to do their own thing and go through their own milestones of learning. One of those milestones of learning might be humiliating to me as a mom and make me look bad in a grocery store. Like 5,000 times. I think there will be days I am faced with serious feelings of inadequacy and other days where I feel like the best mom in the world. It’s a job title that I get permanently. It’s something that I will never stop doing, even though I know that my role will shift as she develops into a young woman. As my own mom says, “once a mom, always a mom”.
Most importantly, I think I will love it.
I’d love to hear from some of the Mom’s out there. What surprised you about being a Mom? I’d love to read your replies in the middle of the night when feeding. 🙂 You know, like a little something to look forward to.