Friday, June 29, 2012

What I Wasn’t Told About Motherhood

Or maybe I was, but I just wasn’t listening?

Nothing forces you to be selfless and yet makes you feel so selfish all at once quite like parenting does.
It’s a never-ending battle between putting your kids’ needs first (okay, little baby, I’ll get up in the middle of the night to nurse you when you cry because I’m your mama, and you need me) and fighting the urge to fulfill your own desires (how about I just shove my head under my pillow and pretend I didn’t hear that?).

I love my children deeply…almost desperately…in a way that aches because the idea of a world in which they don’t exist terrifies me.
But they make me crazy.

Sometimes I don’t want to breastfeed. Or get off the couch to go get juice. Or go to library storytime. Or listen to a crying baby without also crying.
Sometimes I just want to be alone with my thoughts. I want to relax – truly relax, without the threat of interruption.

That’s so selfish. That’s so “me-centered”. And yeah, I know it’s okay to put your own needs first sometimes, that it’s healthy to take a break from the kids – yet I can’t help but feel super crappy when I want time to myself, especially considering that being a mother is a calling that I’m thrilled to have.
Blue Eyes Baby Doll

I’ve always known that I’m a type of person who needs alone time. I have to recharge by just being by myself for a bit, but the time for that is rare when you’ve got little ones. I’m learning to recharge quickly. I’m learning that mommies have to recharge for the sake of their babies.

As I’ve said before, I love the sweetness in a baby's dependency. I know that one day I’ll be sad when my little ones don’t need me as much, yet I so look forward to them getting older and reaching certain milestones…because with their independence comes my liberation. Things will get a little easier.

Life isn’t easy, though, and the things that matter most are often the hardest, if you take them seriously enough. Parenting is something that I take very seriously – to the point that my perfectionism often rears its ugly head. I know I can’t be a perfect parent. There’s no such thing in the human realm. I just don’t want to be a selfish parent. I’ve seen what that looks like, and I want no part of it.
Sweet Siblings
So I forge ahead in this journey, learning each day how to be the mother I want to be and the woman I need to be. A selfless nurturer who also nurtures her self.