On Being A Mother

Today I read a blog post by a friend of mine in which she talked about how she had no desire for children before she actually had one. It was so timely because all weekend I've been planning my next blog post in my head, and that was basically the topic! Great minds... ( :

I used to babysit a lot when I was younger. I have three younger cousins (who are now almost grown up - one is even married!) that I used to keep every day after school until my aunt and uncle got home from work. For a few summers, I kept them all day as well. The "job" first began out of necessity and I of course hated having to watch my little cousins all the time. But eventually I came to love it, and we all had the best time together (I remember once cooking them tacos for lunch, and one of them told me I was the best babysitter ever...haha). I babysat other kids in the neighborhood, as well, and when I went to college I sat a few times here and there.

At one point during college I worked at a daycare. On the days I didn't have class, I had the three-year-olds all day, but most of the time I had those precious ones and then all the after-schoolers (who were complete hellions, I might add!). That experience kind of turned me off from kids. I think I had way too many in my class (around 19), and I had such a big range in ages (from 3 to 12), plus I had several special-needs kids (one 5 year old was still in diapers and was basically a baby). I was in no way prepared to handle any of that. I wasn't going to school to work with children, and I certainly had no idea how to handle the special-needs ones. It was extremely stressful every day at work. The point is, after dealing with all those rowdy youngins at the daycare, I had no desire to ever have my own.

I figured eventually I'd have a child or two, because that's just what you do when you're married (right?), but no way would it be before I was in my 30s. DH wanted kids but he was in no hurry, either. After we got married people immediately began asking us when we were gonna have a baby (don't you hate that? Maybe its just a southern thing, where everyone feels they have a right to know all your personal business!). We talked about it and decided we definitely weren't ready.

And then one day, baby fever struck me.

I don't even know what triggered it. I can't remember a specific event. Just one day, I wasn't ready for a child, and then the next, I was. Simple as that. I told DH, who was pretty nonchalant about it - he'd be happy either way. So in December, we threw caution to the wind and said if I got pregnant, so be it. But both of us firmly believed it would take a while. (That's all you hear about, people who take forever to get pregnant, especially people like me who had been on birth control for years and years.) In my mind, we'd be pregnant in about a year.

God had other plans for us! I was pregnant by March, and discovered it in April. Woah! Suddenly it all got real. We were both shocked (and looking back, how stupid was that?? I mean, what did we expect to happen? haha). I honestly believed it would take a while to get pregnant, and I kind of had a feeling I wouldn't be able to conceive. Thankfully, we were both thrilled, too. We didn't waste much time telling everyone we knew about the baby on the way. I documented my whole pregnancy - I made a scrapbook with weekly baby bump pictures. (I am so glad I did that, too! I love looking back and seeing how huge I was.) DH thought it was kinda weird that I did that, but I told him that one day our baby would look at that book and think, wow, my mama was so excited to be carrying me, and so looking forward to meeting me!! 

38 weeks and HUGE! lol

There was a lot I didn't know before C was born (and yes, I'm aware that there's still a lot I don't know now!), but I played it by ear (like I do everything in life), and learned as I went. I used to be scared of newborns - they look so fragile. But the first time I held C in my arms, I knew exactly what to do. Once the nurse showed me how to hold her to my breast and she latched on, it felt like we'd been breastfeeding forever. Everything just felt so natural.
moments after birth ( :
 Oh, sure, we had our moments! C had to spend an extra few days in the hospital due to jaundice, and that first night home was rough. DH and I had no idea what to do when she screamed all night, which she did. We got absolutely no sleep. And the next morning, we fumbled through her first bath by us. And just a few days later, when C's eye got really gunked up, I had to call over my mother-in-law to show me how to take her temperature rectally because I was terrified I'd puncture her bowel. So please don't think that I'm saying I haven't had any challenges as a mother, because that is far from the case!! (I won't even talk about the fact that when she reached 2 or 3 weeks of age, C screamed her head off every night for 3-4 hours for about 3 weeks straight. Nothing we did would calm her.)

Becoming a mother has changed me - for the better. I know everyone says that. But I honestly feel like a better person now. I have more patience (not perfect patience, by any stretch of the imagination, but I am much better than I used to be!). I am more tender and loving. I am less of a cynic (though that part of me does remain). I have learned to rely on myself less and on God more - and yes, I know other people learn that without having a baby, but it took a baby to teach me that one. I eat healthier (pregnancy and breastfeeding makes you think about someone other than yourself!). I am greener/crunchier. Everything is just better. And I have my daughter to thank (well, God, really, but you know what I mean!).

C makes me stop my busy-ness and just enjoy the simple things in life. I love seeing things through her eyes. I love watching her experiencing new things, because it makes them new to me again, too. Just the other day, we saw a ladybug and C said it was beautiful. Well, yes it is. I'd just never thought about it.

The most amazing thing to me is how I finally, finally feel like I've found my place in this world - as a mother. If you had told me that just 5 years ago, I would have laughed in your face. But its true.

In high school, most of my friends knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life - nurse, dental hygienist, mechanic, etc. Not me. I didn't even want to go to college, but my parents insisted. I had no clue what I wanted to do or be. As a result, I fumbled through 5 years of college before completing a degree - in Animal Science, of all things. After graduation, I still had no idea what to do with my degree. My first job was working at a hog farm, and that lasted about 2 weeks. Then I got a job at a pathology laboratory at a big turkey company. I hated it (though I was blessed to make some awesome friends there), but I stayed there for 3 years, until the company downsized and I was laid off. I eventually went back to school and got a Master's degree in Business Administration (mainly to please my dad - he's so proud to have a daughter with an advanced degree!). I've been at my current job for 3 years now, and I really like it. I have the best boss ever, and I really do like my work. And I'm good at my job. But I have always felt just a little off, like I'm not quite not where I need to be - in every job I've ever had. (The closest I felt to right was back in college when I managed a horse farm and worked at 2 others - I still miss that!)
 It hit me this weekend that being a mother is the job for me. I long to do it full-time, and maybe some day I will (God-willing). Even if I don't ever get to be a full-time mama, I will always revel in the moments I get to be with my child(ren). I really feel like I'm in my element then. I don't feel like I have it all under control as a mama, and I don't feel like I don't ever need any help. I do feel like I'm doing a good job and I'm doing what God's called me to do. I feel like I'm finally in my element. So thank you, God, for this blessing of being a mama. I wish I was more eloquent with my words. Hopefully I've conveyed some of my feelings adequately enough here! ( :


  1. I understandly fully - the not knowing niche - but I know as much as I enjoy being a mom, I battle whether or not I could be a full time mom. My patience runs thin. But if C is any indication as to your motherhood, you are definitely meant to be a stay-at-home Mom to multiple children - she is a great child.

  2. Thank you! I can't take full credit for her, though - my mother in law does a great job with C!! I'm so grateful that she is able to keep my child for me.

  3. I'll see if this comment works this time! ;-)

    I never thought I could be a stay home mom and sometimes I still question the sanity of my decision. But it has been SO worth it and I love the time that I get to spend with L. I know that there is SOOOOO much more that I could/should/need to be doing with him but we have such a good time together during the day. I really hope you do get the chance to be at home with C and whoever comes after because it is worth whatever sacrifice you have to make and you would be great at it!

    Thanks for the tag, BTW!

  4. Thank you for saying that! I struggle with that some, too - knowing that there is more that I could/should be doing with C or trying to teach her. Its not THAT much of an issue with me, though, since I get so little time with her. When I am with her, I just want to enjoy her. She is so entertaining! ( :
    And you're welcome for the tag. ( :


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