i know i talk a lot about being a mom. to be honest, it's most of what i think about. something happens to you when you have a baby--you just shift. what you used to think about or be concerned about slips to the side in favor of anticipating and planning for the needs of your baby. i find that especially to be true for me. i am always ever mindful of what's happening next. it might be my planning nature, but that's what i do...all day long. what time is it? when will she need to eat again? what has she done, in terms of play, today? should we read? should we sing songs? is it time to work on her motor skills? tummy time? has she slept in a while? is she demonstrating sleepy cues? where should she sleep? should i try to get her to sleep in a bed, or try to get her to sleep longer?
what's the best to do?
and when i don't have those needs to worry about (when she's sleeping, for example, as she is now), i rarely think about what i want to do. well, that's not entirely true--my facebook consumption indicates that clearly--but i'm always thinking of what needs to be done next. laundry? dishes? bottle washing? shower? shred/work out? clean the living room?
what's the best to do?
so when it gets difficult is when the decisions are equally good. when, on the good-better-best spectrum, the lines are fuzzy, when it doesn't much matter what i do...because it's all good and worthwhile.
what i've learned so far is that i am a different parent in practice than i thought i would be in theory. i read some books before baby girl was born. i had some ideas of what i wanted to do. much of that pre-labor effort has been thrown out the window in favor of listening to my baby and consulting dr. google. i've learned a lot from just trusting my gut, and from remembering all of the people who told me to trust my gut, and from reading the experiences of other people.
some of those attitudes have evolved over the past twelve weeks. some of those attitudes were already there, but unearthed. some of those attitudes are only now being cultivated.
but most of them are not what i thought i would do.
i want my baby to be independent, but i fail to see how that won't happen if she sleeps on my chest when she's not sleeping well during the day...especially since she sleeps all night, alone, in her own room.
i want my baby to learn to self-soothe, but i fail to see how that won't happen if i rock her to sleep at night while she's a newborn.
i want my baby to be on a schedule, but i don't think that schedule comes from me. i think she works it out, depending on her development and her own rhythms. i just log and track and get out of the way.
i want my baby to take good naps, but i understand that daytime sleep and nighttime sleep are different. i have faith that the daytime sleep will evolve the way the nighttime sleep did. if it doesn't, when she's a bit older, we'll tackle that beast too.
i want my baby to develop on track, but i also don't care much what track that is. so far, she seems to be on the advanced track. but in weight and height, she's right in the middle. she is who she is. i am okay with that.
so, so far, i have surprised myself. i know a lot more than i thought i would know at this point, about myself, and that surprises me as well. sometimes my own attitudes about things surprise me. i like it, actually. i'm already thinking of the things that i had wished i had known for this time around that i will incorporate into next time around.
i still google. i still ask questions. i still wonder if maybe we should stop swaddling soon (though i feel fairly certain baby girl will tell us when that time is...and i think it's coming soon) and i still wonder about crib bumpers. i wonder how she'll tolerate her four month shots and am sure that this time we'll give her tylenol (even if she doesn't have a fever, she's bound to have some pain). i wonder what might have happened if i had known what i know now about breastfeeding. i try to find things to do with her during the days that will make her happy and will develop her emotionally, physically, mentally. i read up on the stages and wonder if she's close to sitting up. i think about bumbos and jumperoos and little linky toys that she might like. i wish i had an unlimited amount of amazon bucks to buy all the board books in the world, since my baby seems to like words. i think about solid foods and wonder about whether or not she'll be ready before six months, or if we can wait that long (i'd like to).
i think about a lot of things. it's never far from my mind, the next thing to think about.
but i think what i've been thinking about lately is what kind of mom i can and will be, every day. because it's in the sum total of the every day that the life you want is created.
i had an idea to try something that might end up allowing me to do something that i really wanted to do for baby girl. i think it might work, or at least might be worth a try, if circumstances were a bit different. but i've come to realize, with the help of my wonderful husband, that i am more than just a mom (not that you can ever put "just" in front of that phrase). i am also the primary breadwinner in our home. i am also responsible for much around here, which requires that i split my time. i may not like it, always, and i may resent it, sometimes, but mainly it's just reality and i am grateful that i am able to do it during this time when it's so important to do.
but it also means that that reality makes certain things more important. it is more important for me to be a happy mom than, for example, a breastfeeding mom. it's more important for me to be patient and loving with my daughter than it is for my house to be perfectly clean or the dishes to always be done. it is more important for me to try to meet her needs than to whine about my own.
i don't really know where this is going, except to say that i'm learning things about myself that i am glad to know.
i am still learning, every day. i am still hard on myself, and i still don't see all of the amazing parts of myself that i know, in my head, are on display every day. i still don't have all of my crap together. i still don't know how everything gets done.
i just know that it does and that at the end of each day one of us rocks our baby to sleep and tells her a scripture story and says a prayer with her and puts her in her bed and she wakes up the next morning smiling (or at least she does after she eats). i know that in the middle of the days, when we take her up to her changing table, she giggles and laughs like it's the best thing ever. i know that she's growing so much that it's time to weed through her clothes and pull out the things that just don't fit anymore. i know that she's thriving and learning and becoming an amazing kid.
that much i know for sure.
everything else, i'm still learning.