New Mom, Newfound Appreciation
I have always appreciated my mom. Even though my teenage years draw a slightly different recollection, I remember my youth to be sprinkled with gratitude notes, lots of “thank yous” and a deep sense of her sacrifice, understanding, involvement and support. She was always on time for after school pick up so my brother and I never had to wait. She juggled softball practice with swimming, layered with tennis, topped with dance (which never panned out for me). She volunteered for room mom, class trips and In N Out day on Tuesdays for lunch. She sacrificed her vacations to travel the world with two small kids and dragged us to every art museum in Europe, giving us a global tour of Monet vs. Manet. She provided broad exposure to etymology, geography, history, languages and culture. She was (is) a superwoman juggler of doing everything in her power to instill us with a fascinating, fun filled childhood, all the while still attached to exploring new hobbies and promoting her own self growth. Moms come in all shapes and sizes, but I’m biased and more inclined to think mine is the best. Her personality is magnetic and her spirit is relentlessly giving. She makes you want to be a better person. She makes you believe that life is for living to the fullest. She reminds me to let go of my anal personality and to unclench. She inspires me to let the small things go and look at the bigger picture. She is the framework without which I couldn’t imagine raising my own daughter.
Like I said, I’ve always appreciated my mom and been eternally grateful for making me the person I am today. But when I had my own baby 9 months ago, I truly had a newfound, jaw dropping, undeniable respect for all moms everywhere. As I’m sure it’s been said time and again, being a mom is likely one of the hardest, but most unbelievably rewarding phenomenon’s I’ve ever experienced. About a week after my daughter was born, I told my husband that I was definitively convinced that women are the far superior race. He immediately agreed. Forget the pregnancy where you have nine months of nausea, headaches, rib pain, crotch pain, heartburn, contractions, dizziness, back pain, sleepless nights, body changes, hormonal changes, hair growth in funky places, oily skin, and excess fat, but then there’s the climax of labor. And after you spend 20 hours+ contracting, 3 hours+ pushing, sometimes with nothing but ice chips (and screams) to keep you going, it’s not like pulling an all nighter for a law school final (or raging the night before), where you can pass out for 12 hours and then wake up to greasy food, Netflix and chill. Nope- it’s time to feed a little human without any clue how, maneuvering and squeezing and pinching and pressing. And then you get to keep doing that or trying every two hours for a month. And then you don’t sleep (No, sweet husband, I will never wear ear plugs no matter how tired I am, because if anything were to happen, I need to be able to hear and run to my baby). And then you lose your hair and your skin sags like a shapeless lump around what used to be your size 25 waist. BUT you have a tiny, adorable little mini-me that is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever felt and all the hardship melts (for the most part) away. It’s almost as if nature inherently understands the ardor of motherhood enough to compensate us with something so precious, designed to instantaneously evaporate those troubles.
With a baby, motherhood is also born. With that motherhood comes unconditional love and sacrifice. Because no matter which way you spin it, moms are the epitome of it all. We give until there’s nothing left. We drive even though there’s no end in sight. We fight when the future is bleak. Mothers are strong, they’re tenacious, they’re protective, they’re patient, they’re intuitive, and they’re always right (usually). It can be a grueling grind, but the sense of accomplishment you feel when your baby is safely tucked into bed each night, breathing peacefully, bathed and dry, is strikingly empowering.
Being a wife to my first baby (without whom I wouldn’t have my second baby) and being a mom are the two greatest joys I could have ever been blessed with. My mother is a flawless example of the values I strive to emulate. To my mama, my extremely sweet mother in law, and all the amazing mamas in the world, wishing you a very Happy (sleep indulgent) Mother’s Day!