I Thought I Knew
Before Baby Bird came along, I thought I understood what parenthood was all about. I'd seen friends go through the process and I felt like I grasped the good and not so good concepts involved. But it's definitely one of those things that you really don't know unless you go through it yourself.
I thought I knew what complete exhaustion felt like. Where your so tired that your actually wide awake! You feel like an insomniac but surprisingly you still go about your day. Doing your mom duties. Your household duties. Your friend and relationship duties. You feel like your balancing things fairly well, but then you crash. You start crying for who knows what reason. Your anxious about everything. Your so anxious that you actually panic about falling asleep when you actually get the opportunity. And this isn't just one day. This is everyday. Everyday compiled. Every second of missed sleep, of late night feeds, of fussy bedtimes accumulated over days, weeks, months. This is complete exhaustion.
I thought I knew I could ask for help. But it's not that simple. You want to DO everything, all the time, everyday. You want to be the best at it. You worry that others won't be able to put your baby down as good as you. Or as comforting as you. You worry your baby will miss you. Cry for you. You feel guilty about not "fulfilling your motherly duties."
I thought I knew the weight and sacrifice of being a mom. Of raising another human being. Of dealing with the successes and failures. Of being at their "beck and call" 24/7. Of no longer thinking for yourself but for this little mini me instead. Of getting only 5 minutes of "me time" when you're used to 5 hours. I thought I knew how much I'd miss reading my book, or having that bath, or indulging over that glass of wine.
Above all this, I thought I knew the feeling. The feeling of loving someone so intensely, immediately. I thought I knew the pride and happiness I'd feel when my baby smiled at me, genuinely, for the first time. I thought I knew how rewarding it would be to be the one to soothe her when things aren't right. I thought I knew the greatness of having a full heart. I thought I knew the worth of it all. Worth all the exhaustion, the sacrifice, the responsibility. I thought I knew what all that meant. I thought I knew what it would be like to have a piece of me in someone else. To see them grow, and change and evolve. I thought I knew what it would be like to endlessly give and not even expect anything in return. I thought I knew the feeling of wiping away tears. Of wiping away problems. Of being the one to fix things. I thought I knew the strength and power I'd feel knowing I'm being the best mom I can be.
But I had NO idea. For every tired day. Every crying fit. Every chore not done. I get a small little smile that lasts for 15 seconds. And those 15 seconds are worth it. Worth all of it. Those 15 seconds are enough reassurance that I'm doing the right thing. Being a good mom. And that's more than I need. Think about it. 15 seconds is all it takes to make up for endless days of exhaustion. To make up for every little thing you've sacrificed. To make up for all those times of feeling helpless and useless. It sounds TOTALLY crazy. But I wouldn't change it for the world.
- Mama Bird
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