By: Nicole O’Dell
The minute the words “pregnant” popped up on that test, the dreams of what kind of mom I would be started to pour in. I pictured myself sunny and smiling each and every morning, up before the baby woke, just so happy to finally be a mom. I was not going to be one of those moms who couldn’t find time to shower, that was ridiculous. Get up early, put a little make up on, maybe even a cute outfit, after all how else would I go in public to all those music classes, play dates, and to do the grocery shopping?
I pictured making pancakes and eggs for breakfast each morning for Mike and I, and homemade baby food for my son. I thought I would make Mikes lunch for him every day since I would have the time to since I didn’t have to rush off to work in the mornings.Who knows, maybe he would be even lucky enough to get a little love note included. I thought I would be the mom with the perfectly organized house, each toy in its place, and each basket of kids gadgets labeled and perfectly sorted. I honestly didn’t think I was being naive to think these things. I knew how much time I spent working, and how much I juggled while doing that, so I truly thought I would have a lot more time to do things around the house and for my husband and I. How could I not?
Then I actually became a mom.
The minute they placed that baby boy in my arms, life as I knew it changed. I was instantly in love, but so unprepared for the months that would follow. My son ended up having horrible acid reflux and cried more than he was happy. I could not set him down for the first 4 months without him continuously screaming. I held him almost all day long. Often crying to myself but quickly stopping if anyone stopped over or Mike came home. I felt too guilty to admit I was really struggling and was almost questioning becoming a mom. I thought that because I had gone through years of infertility that I had no right to complain that I was exhausted, worn out, and completely overwhelmed by this screaming baby in my arms. I hid it. From everyone. I was so in love, yet so scared I wasn’t meant to be a mom.
And a shower? Ha, maybe, just maybe if I could escape for a few minutes after my husband got home. But it definitely wasn’t followed up with make up and a cute outfit. Instead I would throw on a shirt I didn’t mind getting spit up all over, because it was guaranteed to happen. Most days I had to change my shirt at least 4 times after being completely covered in someone else stomach bile.
I am pretty sure I didn’t wear jeans more than 3 times for the first 6 months after having my son. I probably should have invested in stock in sweat pants. Oh and those music classes, yeah those never happened either.
Just when I thought I might being getting a glimpse of the mom I thought I would be, life laughed in my face and I found out I was shockingly pregnant with my second. Two little boys under the age of two meant my once organized house was now a toy dumping ground. I exchanged hours of organizing and labeling for hours of playing trucks and dinosaurs. Three years later our little princess came along, and a whole lot of pink toys got added to the already existing piles of ninja turtles and matchbox cars. My life has never been so unorganized.
Here it is 6 years after having my first, and I still have days that a shower is a luxury. But the mom I have become is better than the mom I thought I would be. I still don’t make Mikes lunch, and there are many days where make up isn’t even a thought. But the true gift I have found is I am definitely meant to be a mom. And my kids are definitely meant to be mine. Those impossible idealistic standards I was never able to live up to no longer mattered because I quickly found that those things were not what made me a mom. Sleepless nights, and tired arms from holding a baby for 14 hours straight is what made me a mom. Changing dirty diapers, and washing stained covered clothes while teaching my kids the ABC’s is what made me a mom. Crying too many nights to count while aching over my child’s pain is what made me a mom. Singing and dancing around the messy family room, made me a mom. Teaching my kids the difference between right and wrong, and when to say please and thank you, made me a mom. Holding my kids tight, and reassuring them they were okay is what made me a mom. Rocking and praying over my kids each and every night is what made me a mom. Advocating for my sons speech services, and touring preschools, made me a mom. Learning to follow my gut instead of the experts is what made me a mom. Having a heart that beams with happiness when my child succeeds, and is filled with joy when my kids laugh is what made me a mom.The mom I thought I would be, doesn’t hold a candle to the mom I have become.