What I've Learned, Two Years Into Motherhood
When Oliver was a baby, I would fret about getting out of the house quickly. I resisted slowing down, and allowing for the grace and buffer time babies and children need during daily transitions that veteran parents are quite aware of. So I was always rushing and trying to keep the same cadence I had pre-baby. A very large part of me didn't want having a baby to change me that much. I wanted the world to see, “Hey it's me! I’m the same old Jen, just now with a newborn in tow. I can do all the things I used to do!" But in reality, I had changed, and my life had changed A LOT, yet I needed to adjust and be okay with that. Of course all this change does take time.
I began to see all the unnecessary stress I was putting on my son by trying to keep up my old schedule. What was the point of bringing him with me everywhere? I had a lot of old deep emotions emerged- my fear of letting people down, my desire to keep commitments, my hard work ethic (just work harder to achieve your goals). And a desire to prove motherhood wouldn't change me. All tied up with wanting to work from home and limit the amount of childcare I used (babysitters and daycare are AMAZING, I quickly learned).
Thankfully, at some point, most likely due to exhaustion (and wanting to avoid my sons melt downs, let's be honest), I softened into my role as mother. I was able to tune into my baby that he didn't want to go everywhere with mom. He'd much prefer to stay at home, nap in his crib rather than the stroller or car, play with his toys and have plenty of quiet stress free time. So, that’s one big take away I’ve learned as a mom so far- is that I needed to change, it was okay to change. And I’m so glad I’ve let go of the resistance I was feeling, because I’ve grown in so many positive ways as a person.
*** How Motherhood Has Changed Me***
I let motherhood change me in the way I approached work. Rather than work harder, I made every effort to work smarter. If something feels stressed, and not operating correctly, I reverse engineer the situation to see if I can improve it. This is not a one and done job, this is a consistent refining of the way I work, as my business demands evolve. It's an on going process.
I let motherhood change me from being someone who'd say yes to almost any opportunity, to someone who is comfortable politely declining or saying no, if the opportunity isn't a good fit. This has also helped me become crystal clear on what I'm creating with my business, and has given me a lot of focus on the projects I'm currently committed to.
I let motherhood change me in ways that I now plan ahead. Wow. This. I used to be a "go with the flow" everything will work out kind of person, until I became a mom. I quickly realized that babies at some point, and toddlers too are pretty predictable. If you tap into their cues (since they aren't talking yet) and follow their natural schedule for a day or two, a pattern tends to emerge. By planning ahead and being prepared for their hunger and sleep needs so much stress, difficulty, and melt downs can be avoided. I'm not saying life will be melt down free but by tuning into my sons cadence and anticipating his needs, life has been a lot smoother.
Also it turns out kids like routines! I mean think about it, they don't have any control over their daily life. If they're able to anticipate or at least have a sense of what's going to come, that's a lot less anxiety or stress for the Little's to carry. Plus routines are easier for adults too- rinse, wash, repeat- boom. We all know what's coming next.