Yesterday my husband sweetly mentioned he had a secret plan for Sunday, and that I was forbidden to check the mail today, as something special was due to arrive —and only then did I realize that this year, for the first time, I too, am the object of the mother (no pun intended) of all Hallmark holidays.
Do you remember your first Mother’s Day as a new mom?
This year, I’m looking at Mother’s Day from the inside. I’m taking this opportunity to reflect on what has changed since last year at this time.
Pre-baby, I stayed out late to see live music, cooked dinner from scratch almost every night of the week, weighed (much) less, exercised (much) more, took 10 mile hikes on weekends and drank real lattes with real espresso and real caffeine. But still, there were things I couldn’t, or wouldn’t do.
I would never have flashed a stranger in a public place.
I would never have sung a bluegrass song, loudly while walking down the street. I would not have snarled or flipped the bird when someone cut me off in traffic, unsafely. I would never have pushed my way to the front of a line or asked someone to hold a door open for me. I would not have used spit to clean another human’s face, or been the one to bother a waiter for filtered water or five extra napkins. No way!
In short, I would not have advocated for my needs (or my family’s needs) so fiercely – I generally went with the flow, and life was good.
But now, call it parental empowerment, call it necessity, call it impulsiveness with a shot of sleep deprivation – things have changed. I’m still the same person, but I’m playin’ by a new set of rules.
Now, there’s no shame in my mama game!
It’s not about putting our needs before others’. It’s about finding a way to do what’s right for my family in the context of real life. In fact, I maintain that flexibility is one of the most important traits to instill in a child. I’ll do my best to take opportunities to model what going with the flow looks like, when life doesn’t go as planned. And I pray my child is able to adapt and bend as he learns and grows. And that same lesson is the one I am learning again and again every day as a new mom.
I nurse on the go (I’m no exhibitionist, but the kid’s gotta eat). If singing a song, loudly in public is what makes my baby giggle (or not cry), that’s what’s happening. If we need extra napkins at the crepe shop, twice, we’ll ask without hesitation or guilt. And if it’s bedtime and guests just won’t leave the dinner party – I might just kindly kick them out.
And I’ve learned, this year, what truly letting go feels like.
- Letting go of the messy kitchen because baby is attempting to roll over for the first time and that event must be watched (like a stoner staring at a lava lamp).
- Letting go of coloring my hair diligently because I’d rather spend precious evening hours with the babe. I cancelled no less than three appointments before finally attacking my “new mom ombre”.
- Letting go of our glass topped coffee table (not baby friendly!).
- Letting go of my pre-baby wardrobe. I packed it up and banished it to storage, refusing to let it get me down that absolutely nothing fits, still.
- Letting go of control over each and every thing my baby touches, wears and consumes. I’ll keep trying to feed/clothe/surround him with organic everything but it’s a losing battle, at times.
- And letting go and laughing hysterically when something hilarious happens, EVEN if it means peeing my pants a little.
Now, without being the slightest bit self-conscious, I do what’s right for my babe, and my family, without fear of judgement or sideways looks – because if the baby’s laughing, mama’s smiling, and on Mother’s Day (and every day) that’s what matters most. To me, that’s the best part about being a mom. I’ve been given a free pass to refocus everything in life around what matters to me most – and let go of the rest.