Motherhood: After the Baby Comes
Every season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette comes along and I say I am going to stop watching. But every season I fail! I watch. I get lured into the romance unfolding. But what I really enjoy is the After the Final Rose show. How is it all REALLY? How is this “real life” couple doing once the lights, camera, and action are taken away?
So in honor of the new season starting I thought we would take our own spin on it. Motherhood: After the Baby Comes
Join me and a few friends who indulge in this silly show over the next few days as we look at the realities of motherhood after the baby arrives.
My friend/Your friend: Guess what? I am having a baby!!!
Me/You: What? Are you crazy? Why would you do that? Your life is going to be ruined.
That is not how that goes, right? We always squeal with joy and say things like “Congratulations!”, “I am so excited for you!”, or “You are going to be an amazing mom!”
And I am glad that is what friends say to friends but I wish with the woo hoo’s there was also a required sit down reality conversation.
As amazing as motherhood is it is also LIFE ALTERING HARD WORK.
I grew up with a baby brother being born when I was 10. And I was one of those super responsible, already wanted to be a mom, kinda 10 years old so I really thought I knew all about babies and motherhood.
I watched my mom MAYBE gain 10 pounds, have a 45 minute natural labor, stay up way past her bedtime to feed the baby and then during the day she would play with this sweet little critter that would do funny things like pee in your face. That seemed like a breeze to my 10 year old little self. But her story from weight gain to labor is not how my story went. I should have clued in then. Motherhood is different for everyone. We each have our own story to write. My struggles may not be yours and your struggles are not mine but together we can share our lessons learned in this journey we call Motherhood.
With an imaginary drum roll in my head here are my top 5 realities of motherhood.
1. I will never sleep soundly again.
I was (key word there) a sound, sound sleeper. Really sound. In fact it was a pre motherhood worry for me. What if I didn’t wake up when the baby needed me? But I really needed to have no fear. From the second a baby entered my world I have never slept soundly again. The slightest movement, peep, or cry wakes me. Even if I am away from my kids for a night I can’t channel my sound sleeping self. It is lost. (It is starting to sound like a good country song to me..I Will Never Sleep Soundly Again.)
Lesson learned: I have learned I don’t need as much sleep as I thought I needed. I have learned to pray for others when I wake and can’t go back to sleep. I have learned to be thankful for God who is available to me at any time of the day or night.
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139 7-12
2. I will never have enough time for myself.
I am always quick to confess I enjoyed “me” time. I enjoyed going to a movie by myself, reading a book in my comfy chair, or taking a self retreat. Those are not things I do anymore. When I do get me time it usually looks like taking a shower that includes shaving my legs, or putting away my own pile of clean clothes, and on occasion I selfishly indulge in a nap. The times my sweet family sends me away to an afternoon at a local spa I could always use just one more hour.
Lesson Learned: Self-care is important. If I am not filled up then it is hard for me to fully care for my family. While I can’t enjoy “me” time on a whim anymore I do schedule it and make it a priority in my month and you should too.
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” 3 John 1:2
3. I will have my patience tested over and over and over and over again every day.
I would have never in a million years thought patience would be something I struggle with in motherhood but I do. I really, really do. Everything from being asked something 12 times, to spills, to not minding gives me a sour attitude. I have lost my calm, cool, and collected self more times than I care to number.
Lesson Learned: At first I pushed this off onto my kids. I wanted them to change and then I realized this wasn’t realistic for a 3 year old so now I pray, take deep breaths, and I have learned to say “I am sorry” to my little people when I have made a poor choice. And I am constantly reminding myself that God remains patient with me despite every bad choice I make.
“I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry” Psalm 40: 1
4. My to-do list will never have an end.
I am a list maker. I love the little check marks beside things that let me know I have accomplished all I needed to do in the day. Once I had children I have yet to fill my entire day, week, month, or year with the check marks needed. There is always one more thing that can be done. Always more laundry, more organizing, more things to be sent to Goodwill, more pictures to be printed. It doesn’t end. EVER.
Lesson Learned: Let go! I do what I can and create a plan to get to the rest. Also, don’t be afraid to let things sit undone. I promise you there is not mom police roaming the streets checking to make sure dishes are done, toys are put away, and every tooth is brushed. Sometimes we have to set the list aside and simply enjoy our family.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1
5. Love has no end.
When I took that first deep, long, hard look into the eyes of my first born child I got it. God’s love for me started to come into focus and I understood how He could love me despite me, how He could want the best for me, how He could only see perfect.
I got it.
I get it.
Lesson Learned: Motherhood is hard…harder than we pretend on certain days. But it is the reality of understanding His love more fully every single second of the day that gives value to the work and makes me thankful each and every day.
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
Do you have a motherhood reality you didn’t expect?
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