Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tuesday Talk: Surprised by Motherhood

I've been a mom for a little over three years and I still feel like I have so much to learn. 

Each new age and stage brings its challenges and excitement.  The milestones are fun to witness and exhausting to keep up with.  Just as soon as I feel like I've gotten things figured out, everything changes and I find myself having to adapt to the new.  I have gotten pretty good at adapting to NEW after living in 4 different states in the last four years, however, I prefer consistency and normalcy over the unknown.  There have been good lessons for me in figuring out what I can and cannot control and which things are really important to me.  But, I'm still finding myself constantly surprised by this whole motherhood gig.

I'm surprised at how quickly my daughter forgives me when I am sharp with her or am short tempered.  She doesn't hold a grudge and quickly forgets my short comings.  She's eager to shower me with I love yous and is a great example to me of unconditional love.

I've been surprised at how exhausting mothering a tiny human 24/7 can be.  I tuck her into bed at night and am ready to crash.  Some nights take longer than others, but it's all worth it when she puts her arms around my neck and says sweet things like, "Mama, you my bery best friend." and kisses my cheek.  I instantly forget about the crazy from the day and feel like the luckiest lady around.

I am surprised at how patient and flexible I've had to become.  Most days things don't go exactly as planned and I just have to suck it up and be fine with it.  Being flexible is not my specialty and motherhood has definitely challenged me in that area.  We don't get to run all the errands we need to, things have to be planned around nap times or we're late arriving somewhere because my toddler refused to put on shoes or get in her car seat.

I taught elementary school and was surrounded by kids all day long for about 10 years prior to becoming a mom.  I thought I was well versed in kids and knew what I was in for when I became a mom.  I was wrong.  I didn't realize how much I'd love my own child and how much more fun it would be to be her first teacher.  I always adored my students, but things are just different when you're spending time with your own kids.

I have been surprised that after long days of mothering and Kevin's long days of professoring :) we lay in bed and spend our pillow talk time looking through pictures and watching videos of Olive on my phone.  He wants to hear cute, funny stories about our days and we are both completely smitten with this little person we call ours.

It's surprised me how happy I am to let her join in on activities.  At first it was hard for me to give up control of the situation, but I long ago decided that making memories together was much more important to me than doing everything my way.  I still like to organize and plan out our activities, but I am much better at rolling with things and saying YES when she says, "Help you Mama??"  She loves to help me get ready in the mornings, unload the dishwasher with me, cook with me and to join in whatever I am doing.

I am constantly surprised at how hard it is to watch other kids be mean to my own.  I try to walk a fine line between protecting, helping and not intervening with every little conflict.  Some things definitely require parent intervention, but I'm hoping that as Olive gets older she'll learn how to problem solve for herself in difficult situations.  My heart strings get tugged on when someone takes away a toy she's playing with, when she's gotten pushed down at the playground, when someone won't include her, or when someone pinched her at story time, etc.  Seeing her cry and say, "Mama, dat boy hurted my belly." makes me turn into a mama bear.

I'm surprised that I'd rather spend money shopping for cute outfits for her than for me.  I like to dress cute, but shopping for her has become my go to thing since she's still growing so quickly and outgrowing her entire wardrobe at the end of the seasons.  We'll shop together and both get new things, but there's something extra fun for me to pick out things she'll love each season.

It's been surprising to me to see the range of emotions you feel as a parent on a daily basis.  An activity will go well and I'll feel great about my mothering.  I fix lunch and it's not what my toddler had in mind so she has a total meltdown and I question my parenting skills.  Another mother says something judgemental and I start to judge and question myself.  My husband says something to affirm my efforts in mothering and I take his words to heart feeling good about the job I'm doing.  It's like an hourly assessment of my own abilities.  The feedback I receive from my toddler is mostly good so I end up laying my exhausted head on my pillow being pleased with my efforts... most days.

I am surprised at how often I have to be the bad guy.  Sometimes that means I'm the one who's reminding others of Olive's schedule, nap times, her preferences, turning down plans because they don't work with our schedule or the one who's making our family leave an event early.  It's hard to be at family functions and have to be the one who insists we leave or head home so that we don't hit meltdown mode.  My husband is super sweet and more laid back than I am.  He's often just a go with the flow kind of guy so I have to advocate for our routine in order to keep us on track.  There are plenty of exceptions to this - play a little longer at the park, eat a little later than usual, or splurge on a treat, but if Olive ends up being a hot mess at the end of the evening or around nap time because she's overtired I feel like I failed her a little bit in the parent department.  It's my job to always stick up for her and her needs especially when she's tiny.

Has anything about motherhood 
or parenting been surprising to you??

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  1. Such a sweet post Whitney. Your first thing on the list on forgiveness made me tear up a bit. I feel the same exact way, especially lately. I just hugged Marissa and told her I was sorry I have been so distracted and her response was the sweetest.

    Have a great Tuesday

  2. Oh girl, all day, every day! At the moment, I am surprised by how full my heart feels seeing my babies together, and watching Lawter light up when she sees baby brother and wants to give him kisses. But at the same time, my heart aches a little for the "baby" that she still was just two short weeks ago. Bittersweet, for sure.

  3. Parenting is nothing like I expected. I think the biggest surprise for me is how tiring it is (even when you aren't physically exhausting yourself). It is the mental tiredness. Am I doing enough? Am I teaching everything he needs to know? Does he know how much I love him? Is discipline or memories the most important thing right now? Even when you are away from them you are worrying about them. To me, it is the mental part that is the most exhausting.

  4. Yes! I have felt every single one of these things. Such a great post, Whitney!

  5. Love this! It truly is amazing the level of protection and love a mother has for her children. Patience is definitely something I have learned over the years in being a Mama to two boys. I honestly feel there is no greater gift that than the gift of motherhood :)


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Smiles, Whitney