I have learned more about who I am in the last 14 and a half months, since I became a Mother. It has been my greatest joy and a whirlwind of emotions.
I often think about my pre-baby self and have a little chuckle about the naivety of my thinking or at least the type of Mother I thought I would be. I laugh at how I thought I had it all figured out, when I had absolutely no idea what motherhood truly entailed.
Pre-baby Bailey, was the “mother” whose child wouldn’t have a tantrum in public. I’d be cool, calm and collected in any hair-raising situation.
I’d never allow myself to live in tracksuits and yoga pants, or have unwashed hair.
I’d sleep when the baby sleeps.
I’d breastfeed exclusively (and easily) and I’d bake organic teething biscuits, and pureed baby food from scratch, from the recipe I pinned on my Pinterest board. Obviously.
I’d be a Mother who would swap out her career for being a full time Mom.
I have to laugh because the naivety is sweet and well intended, but the reality is a very different picture to what I had in my head.
I wanted to run away a few months ago, when my sweet, chubby cheeked little 11 month old suddenly screamed blue murder in the middle of Makro, because I wouldn’t allow him to throw a jar of peanut butter out of the trolley onto the floor. I almost didn’t recognize the small demon in front of me screaming on the top of his lungs and the chubby cheeks turning beetroot red. My cheeks matched his, but only because I felt the heat of everyone’s eyes on me. I definitely wasn’t cool, calm or collected… but rather red faced and sweaty and I did not know what to do in that moment. After a few attempts at distracting him; the crisis was averted.
I learned that I have more patience than I realized, and that people are more empathetic than judging.
I quickly learned that living in yoga pants and tracksuits is called “Athleisure wear.” It’s a fashion statement and one I am totally on board with. As for unwashed hair, I’m grateful for dry shampoo and I see it as being the ultimate Smile Water Warrior.
I learned that being comfortable really is more about being comfortable in your own skin, than the clothes you wear.
I still haven’t slept when the baby sleeps. For those Mom’s who have actually perfected this, or even managed it once, teach me your ways!
I learned that “perfect ideals” aren’t perfect at all and that’s OK. I learned that I can survive on very little sleep, but I also know where my limits are and that self-care is vital too.
Breastfeeding ended up being the hardest thing I have ever done. I have sobbed and felt heartbroken. I’ve felt like I wasn’t a good enough mother. I worked with a Lactation Specialist for a very long time, at least 2 months, before we both came to the reality that my baby just wasn’t going to latch properly. I also never made quite enough breast milk. Still, I refused to give up. Instead, I expressed small amounts of milk every 3-4 hours around the clock. For 9 months. As I never made enough milk, I never could put a drop in the fridge/freezer. What I expressed, I fed him in the next feed and topped up with formula.
I learned that I was resilient and not a quitter. I also learned to be kind to myself and realize I was a great Mom because I did the best I could.
I bought teething biscuits and even pureed food from stores and baby companies and learned that I’d rather spend quality time with my husband and son, than bake recipes I pinned on Pinterest.
I learned that I’m a better Mother because I haven’t given up my goals and dreams and that going to work and doing what I’m passionate about, doesn’t mean I’m not passionate about being a good Mom, it just means that I’m working towards a secure future for my son and to show him that dreams are worth working for and that woman can do it all.
As parents we are the ones who are meant to teach our children and help them grow and learn. It’s through Motherhood that I am the one growing and learning and it’s been humbling.