Sunday, May 8, 2016

Moments In Motherhood

Motherhood changes you. You can never appreciate and understand what a mom's role is in life until you are a mother yourself. It has certainly been the most amazing, interesting, and challenging role I've ever filled. I've read too many articles attempting to explain the joys, trials, and insanity that is motherhood. Instead, I wanted to share my moments that have been the most important and unique. They're not pictures of big adventures or unbelievable accomplishments. They're the little moments that make us who we are. Some moments when I didn't know someone had snapped a picture. Some pictures I didn't even know existed until I saw them for the first time this weekend.

Hearing your baby cry for the first time is a feeling I can't describe. There were floods of relief, happiness, love, and a sense of amazement each and every time. There will never be a more special moment than hearing your child for the first time, until they learn to say 'I love you,' which will nearly top the first moment you met them.

Any pregnancies after the first will never be relaxing. I don't remember my last two pregnancies other than extreme morning sickness for 20+ weeks, being exhausted, and never having a moment to put my swollen ankles up. Yet all of that is forgotten the moment that baby is placed in your arms.

I've spent so many days, hours, and weeks with an infant, both my own and other's, snuggled into my chest. Occasionally I'll wake up from a dream in the middle of the night and instinctively reach for the non-existent baby sleeping on me. The older the kids get, the more I miss an infant snuggled into me. Amidst the sleepless nights, hungry cries, dirty diapers, and spit up, people will tell you to "enjoy every minute because it doesn't last long. Some day you're going to miss this." Yes, you will. Not so much the sleeplessness or the dirty diapers (seriously, how can a thing so little poop so many times a day???), but the cuddles, the coos, the innocence, the hope that comes with a baby.

The moment I first realized one minute is plenty of time for trouble to happen. All I did was pee and wipe. He managed to drag a picnic table inside and climb the counter. In all honesty, sometimes I don't know how to reprimand. On one hand, I'm impressed and thrilled with his determination and audacity. On the other, how can he think this is okay??!!? Not knowing how to handle things is mostly what motherhood is like. It's a journey. I learned very early on that I would be the parent to first take pictures of the situation, then address the issue.

I do things I NEVER thought I'd do. Like put a filled water table in a filled kiddie pool. This is one of the tamer things I never thought I'd do, but also one of my firsts. Just to keep the kids happy.

First child didn't step foot out the front door without an entire bottle of sunscreen caked on, body pads, and a helmet. Just in case anything should happen. I may have been watching my second son eat grass or an ant in this picture and I'm smiling about it. I do know that by the time my third child came, I plopped her in the middle of the yard at 9 months old and let her crawl around with no fears. At some points in motherhood, like everyday, it becomes NOT about being a great mother and filling your children with priceless memories, but survival. Survival mode kicks in often for me.

There is no greater joy in this world than watching my kids love each other. 

Sometimes I get to be a kid again. There's an extremely sentimental and nostalgic feeling that comes over me when I witness my kids experience something I loved from my childhood. 

I spend so much time just watching. Watching these little things grow into little people who can think for, do things, and be themselves. The best thing in my days is when I can sit back, pretend to be involved in something else, and secretly watch my kids play. I've witnessed the sweetest gestures, the best problem solving, and more than a few fights from "my spot" but the minute they see an adult watching they stop playing so real. It's those genuine moments that I can see the souls of my children.

I never stop thinking about their safety even when they seem intent on killing themselves. This aspect of motherhood is exhausting in and of itself.

There will never be another human being that you'll be more proud of than your children. The littlest of things can be the biggest hurdles to kids, meaning they're the biggest hurdles for parents as well. We celebrate with ice cream when shoes are tied on their own, a word is finally spelled correctly, or underwear are worn "full time." You truly feel as though no one has ever worked so hard for such an accomplishment even though you know that everyone has learned to go poop on the potty.

You will never know what unconditional love truly feels like until you're a mom. There can be no love deeper than one for a child. I am convinced of that.

A new found appreciation and respect forms for those that raised you, those that helped mold you, those that did that for your spouse/partner/significant other/baby daddy, and those that are now doing that for your children. You also feel very very sorry for any trouble you caused as a kid because you will instantly be able to spot a quality that is yours in your child.