[Read Part I]
[Read Part II]
[Read Part III]
[Read Part IV]
I had six weeks paid maternity leave, but I took an additional four weeks off unpaid as I didn’t feel ready to come back to work yet. I did miss work, as it felt good to be needed or important to something outside of being a mom. When I did go back to work though, I felt like my life was chaos. When I was at work all I could think about was Benny. When I was with Benny all I could think about was work and the stack of emails piling up in my inbox. Thankfully, I do work from home so there are definite pros (also major cons).
One major benefit is that I don’t have my baby in daycare and get to spend a lot of time with him. However, working from home and being a new mom is extremely isolating. I wanted to join a mom group, or classes for Benny and I, but unfortunately they aren’t for working moms. The class or group meetups are during the middle of the day during the week. It is almost impossible for me.
I felt very alone the first few months and still kind of do as I don’t think I will make any ‘mom’ friends until Benny is school age. I am a social person, so moving to a new neighborhood that already had well established friendships and not being able to see my friends as frequent was something I really struggled to adjust to. I did try the Peanut app, it’s like tinder but for mom friends…and you’re not trying to hook up, rather meet up with each other and hopefully become friends or have play dates. I would scroll through pictures, descriptions, and matched with a few ladies… but I never met up with any of them and still felt disconnected.
I don’t care if you’re someone who’s wanted to be a mom your whole life or if it’s something that happened unplanned. Motherhood changes you, and the transition is something I was never fully aware of. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was thrown for a loop and caught completely off guard by a lot of the emotional and physical battles I faced within the first year. There were times I seriously questioned if I wanted another baby…to go through all this all over again seems agonizing at times.
During the trying times, the unbelievable nonstop screams that come with colic, the projectile spit up, my tender breasts, lack of sleep, my soft body, I try to remember and I quietly say to myself, “I wanted this. I wanted this. I wanted this.”
There will be bad days.
Days that seem to be exactly the same.
Days that I get frustrated, my patience wears exceptionally thin. Days when I can’t see myself outside of being just a mom. Days when I won’t be able to put makeup on, dress in my normal clothes (anything other than a nursing friendly t-shirt and loose fitting pants), or seem all put together. Days when I don’t appreciate my body or have much self-esteem. Days when I can’t make it to the gym. Days when I wish things could be just a tad different.
On the other hand, there will be days I couldn’t imagine my life any different.
The overwhelming happiness it brings me to just simply sit and eat lunch with my son. How his laugh and smile brighten my day. Witnessing him grow from being hooked up to monitors in the NICU, to being able to crawl, pull himself up, take his first few steps, babble. Days when he gets so excited to see me. Days when he falls asleep on my chest. Days when he leans his head into mine and giggles.
Days when I am constantly reminded it’s all worth it.
The days seem extremely long, but looking back they are short. Time moves so fast and it’s important now more than ever to remind myself to be present, that I’m doing the absolute best I can, and to try to be a little easier on myself.
I’m still learning and growing, just as Benny is. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m finally learning to be okay with where I’m at.
My world seems smaller, but then I have to remind myself of how important that small world is.
I’m feeding, nurturing, playing and keeping my baby alive. It may be small wins on some days, but it’s a win nevertheless.
Motherhood is not what I was expecting, and a constant battle between wanting a break and then missing my baby when I get it... but, I would choose this life over and over.