Thoughts on Motherhood Part II

The other day in my post about Motherhood I didn’t dissect the list of reasons that led me to feeling like I was floundering as a mother. Today, that’s exactly what we’re gonna do. But first, remember how I told you that Zoe has this coy smile….well…

coy smile

Ok, let’s get down to business.

1) “I had unrealistic expectations combined with the fact that I had no idea what to expect.” This issue is two-fold. First, prior to having Zoe I had a “no baby” rule. I didn’t really hold them, I didn’t babysit them, I didn’t really like them. So, therefore, I had absolutely no idea what to expect with a baby, or even how babies function/operate. On top of that, my number one subconscious expectation was that I was just going to “add” a baby to my life, nothing was going to change…life would just go on as normal, just with a baby. Um…if you’re a mom…are you laughing yet? Because, let’s be honest, that’s completely absurd! But, I’ve been fighting for the past 8 months for my expectation to be reality. The result is that I feel like I’m losing my mind.

2) “I expected her to pop out of me functioning like a 2 year old…or even better, a 7 year old.” Like I said, I worked with kids…not babies. There’s a reason for that, kids understand logic, and that’s an essential part of a functional relationship. I don’t understand crying for no reason. I don’t enjoy the guessing games. A 2 year old can entertain themselves, a 7 year old can entertain themselves even better….a newborn needs you every.second.of.the.day…..which goes against core foundations of my personality. So…again, I tried to make my expectation become a reality…and again, you can imagine how that turned out. But, those times when she does need me incessantly or she’s crying for no reason, those are the times when I get the most frustrated. The neediness flows over into why I get so frustrated with the animals. I feel, sometimes, like I can not handle one more persons need and so when Hemmingway comes and puts his head in my lap or Jasmine lays on my chest I flip out. My animals are confused, to say the least.

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3) “If pregnancy affects every part of a woman’s body {which it does}, motherhood affects every part of your identity.” I know I’m the one who wrote that line….but can I just say, “Amen”? As if pregnancy wasn’t enough, motherhood comes along and changes EVERYTHING. You can imagine how much I fought this {See Number 1}. I still try to function like I’m 26 and single. Um, hello…I’m not. Granted, I went from single and fancy free to married with a kid QUICKLY so some of this is just par for the course…I didn’t have time to adjust to each phase, and that’s ok…that’s the path I chose and I wouldn’t do it any other way. That said, I realize that I need to give myself grace in situations, speak up in others, and create boundaries that are functional in a “hey now I’m a wife/mom” lifestyle. This is where we get to have the fun talk about boundaries. I suck at them. In the past I tended to play the victim, like if somebody pushed past what I wanted/felt comfortable with, I would get upset…like they intentionally bulldozed me. However, and this is something I just realized this week, if there are no verbal boundaries in place how on earth would they know to respect them? They are not being mean or even selfish, I need to be politely assertive. Polite being the key word. This topic is HUGE in my life. A ton of stress comes from my unspoken boundaries being trampled on and from me thinking that I’m the same as I was 2 years ago. I wish that writing a paragraph on a blog could solve this issue in my life immediately….oh how glorious that would be. But, this topic will be one that I work on for quite some time.

4) “I decided that I never want to be a “helicopter mom” and so I went to the other extreme of being too laid back, which also doesn’t feel right.” I have this picture in my head of a mom who hovers over her child{ren} with arms outstretched insisting on protecting them from the world/controlling their every move. I just don’t function like that. So, because I never wanted to be “that mom” I forced myself to be the other way: not caring if dogs licked her, not caring if she came in contact with germs, I almost never rinse off a pacifier during the day save popping it in my mouth real quick, she is currently playing with the dog toy {because it’s her favorite}, it’s in her mouth {gross}. Those are all things that I genuinely don’t care about. However, I’ve noticed that I took it to the extreme of, “she’s fine” in almost every situation {because after all, if she were 7 she would be fine}. The problem is that being compassionate or doting took a backseat…and that doesn’t feel right. I want to be the most compassionate person my daughter knows…and I want to dote on her {what does that even mean? I don’t care, I want to do it} because she’s worth it. I need to find a balance.

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5) “I’ve done a fantastic job of not comparing Zoe to other babies. I’ve done a horrible job at not comparing myself to other moms.” Let’s just agree, right now, that this category deserves its own post. I will attempt to do it in a single paragraph {for now}. I have never met a mother who has everything together…but I’ve met several who care, very much, that you think they do. When I asked Kathryn, “What kind of mother forgets to feed her daughter lunch?”  She replied, “One that’s only been a mom for 8 months. You’re learning…”. That was the most freeing thing I’ve heard in 8 months. Do you know how much freedom comes with the mindset that you’re just learning? Why, on earth, did I want to be moms who have been moms for years? That is just setting myself up for failure….which is exactly what I felt like Friday afternoon, and Saturday, and Sunday….and intermittently the past 8 months.

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6) “I care too much about how people perceive me as a mom.” Numbers 4 and 5 can be are rooted in this…I care, very deeply, about how people perceive me as a mom. I am told, on a regular basis, that I am really laid back for a first time mom. That’s a true statement. I am. If you are around me for 20 minutes you’ll see that. However, being laid back because I am a laid back person…and being laid back {or aloof towards my daughter} because I think that’s what people want to see are two different things. I don’t share the things that I’m crazy paranoid about {like suffocating or choking} because I don’t want people to think that I’m crazy or obsessive. But, the truth is…I don’t put a blanket in the crib with my daughter because I would freak out all night wondering if my baby was still breathing, and I was holding my breath the entire time that I gave her solid solid {needs to be chewed} food because I was terrified that she was going to choke. Authenticity requires you seeing the really good, the ok, and the psychotic.

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So…there you have it. I’m sure you’ll hear more in future posts.

What about you? Do you struggle with unrealistic expectations? Is how you’re approaching a situation the problem rather than the situation itself?

Ps. Yesterday I wrote a post really late at night…if you didn’t see it, click here

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5 responses to “Thoughts on Motherhood Part II

  1. I feel like I have unrealistic expectations for being a new mom. It’s like I expect that I should be able to read Zoey’s mind, keep the house clean, stay close with Greg and balance working full-time with family obligations and everything else. After all, that’s what my mom did. That’s what my sister, the super-soccer mom with FOUR kids does on a daily basis. But I struggle. Because all of this is new and tough and sometimes all I want is a nap. But then I look at my Zoey and think about how if anyone tried to hurt her, there would be no end to my wrath. I love her so much that I’m still in awe of being capable of that–but it scares me too because what if I forget something or do something the wrong way and she knows it? I want so much to be a good mom, but it will be a long, tough road because that’s how life is.

    I never thought I’d have kids either until I met Greg. I never liked babysitting. So, I wasn’t exactly cut from the mom cloth. But oh man, I want everything amazing for Zoey and I’ll push myself and learn from my mistakes and do whatever it takes to be the best I can be. For her. For me.

    Hang in there, Rebecca, you have a beautiful daughter, who loves you for you. Just keep that in mind.

  2. i love this post! i feel like we are the same person! …and i too am way laid back, care less about dog slobber and germs but have a panic attack over the thought of my child choking. ugh!

  3. Glad I read that…I’m always comparing myself to other moms and constantly reminding myself not to!

  4. Jessica Proffit

    It’s obvious that you’re a good mom because you even care about any of the stuff you just said. And, you’re a good mom b/c you listen to the “them” that says you’re not supposed to put a blanket in there with them for the exact reason you mentioned. See, you’re doing great! One word: Sleepsack! Love them!

    • Thanks Jessica! I completely agree about the sleepsack! We have one and we used it like every day during the winter…it’s kinda too hot now, so we need to get a little short sleeve one…

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