So, I am just a month shy of having an 18 month old baby girl, and I feel as though I’ve learned a lifetime of things that I could have never even been exposed to, had I not become a mother. The saying "having a child is a life changing event" is always true, but I never took the time to see how life changing it really was for me other than the physical symptoms (you know, lack of sleep and the random bruises from toddler play).
I’ve learned that my heart can experience feelings I never imagined, from pure joy to stone cold fear and everything in between. Who would think that something so small could invoke such huge emotions? Especially in someone like myself who liked to "stop and smell the roses" but never really took time to appreciate the smell.
I’ve learned to be young again. The man or lady who is giving me the strange face while my daughter and I sing itsy bitsy spider down the aisles of Target, doesn’t really understand how to play without rules. It’s OK to sing Happy Birthday in the bathtub and to run up and down the hallways singing and dancing to Elmo singing Splish Splash:)
I’ve learned that boogers happen. From the runny noses to the big green booger monsters, they happen to everyone, there’s no reason to be grossed out by them anymore. Besides, anything that my kid can eat and not cause instant projectile vomiting, I’m OK with. And yes, boogers fall into that category.
I’ve learned that I will never be the mother I thought I would be. There were times I was certain I would fail as a mother and other times I was certain I’d be Carol Brady meets Jill Taylor (remember the mom from Home Improvement?). Thankfully, neither really came true, I became my own style mother and certainly didn’t fail, at least not yet. But I’ve realized that a lot of my preconceived notions about motherhood were either false or just something that could be worked around.
I’ve learned that I can still be who I am and be a mother, cherishing both but not separating them into two different identities. Seriously, I have enough psychological issues to worry about without trying to give myself a split personality. I take great pride in being a mother, whether I am playing with my daughter at home, while I am in a meeting at work or while I am having sushi with a girlfriend. Being a mother isn’t something I shut off and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to.
I’ve learned that I can face most anything when given the right motivation. And imagine, that little girl that yells no at me, pinches me and makes me gag with diapers is that motivator.....lol. I’ve killed spiders that I typically wouldn’t have been in the same house with, let alone touched.
I’ve learned that no matter what life brings I am responsible for me and my own and that these are lessons I want to pass on to my child and that no matter what parenting guides tell you or what your friends say, each lesson learned is different for each and every mother.
I’ve learned that every moment is special and no matter how much you try to set up the perfect portrait session, only to have it ruined last minute because your daughter was super cranky, didnt take the nap you thought she would and then proceeded to have a major explosion in her diaper -- it’s special! Or even the smallest moment when they grab you by the cheeks and give you a big open mouth bass kiss can be bigger than Christmas morning.
I’ve learned that I have learned a lot in the last year and a half. And I look forward to what the rest of this journey has to teach me.