Tuesday, April 27, 2010

18 Months

18 months ago I became a mom.

I thought about writing up a whole blog post about all that Moana is doing now at 18 months... how she likes to hang on any railing she sees and how she verbally names everything she knows and how she insists on climbing into the front seat of the car and pretending to drive... but then I thought, You know what? This is my blog and it's about ME so instead I'm going to write about how I have changed over the last 18 months.

Growing up, and even into adulthood, I never really knew if I wanted to be a mom. I had friends in high school- you know the ones- who were just obviously born to breed. They were nurturing by nature and you just knew that they would make great moms. I don't know that too many people would use the word 'nurturing' to describe me. I didn't think that a kid would actually fit into my lifestyle. I thought maybe I was too selfish to have a kid.

But then I got pregnant.

So the baby was coming, ready or not, and even if I didn't mention a lot of my insecurities on this blog, I definitely worried that I might not measure up as a mom.

I will say, I was shocked at the level of 'Mama Bear' instinct I felt immediately upon giving birth to Moana. I'd heard about this instinct that kicks in, but to actually experience it... wow. I was fierce. That was definitely an interesting experience for me to feel that- because I did not expect that I would experience that to the degree that I did. Those of who are moms know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't had a kid yet (but plan to) just wait- it's incredible, this fierce instinct to protect. Really cool that we are genetically wired like that even if we don't think that we are.

Maybe it was good that I hadn't planned on having a kid my whole life, because I was ready and willing to admit that I didn't know the first thing about dealing with babies. Admitting that I didn't know was good because I went out in search of the information. I read a bunch of books, found all of your blogs, and learned as much as I could from it all. Really though, what I learned is that while there are techniques and methods that work for some people, really you just have to trust your instincts and raise your kid the way that feels most appropriate to you. And you'll know, as a mom, because we actually do have those instincts if we listen for them, even when we don't think that they are there.

So 18 months later I can say that I think I actually turned out to be a good mom. :) I like being Moana's mom. I like myself better since I have become Moana's mom. I feel good about my role with Moana. I feel confident about the decisions that I have made regarding her eating, her sleeping, her daily routines, her learning, her play time, her relationship and exposure to other kids... I listen to my instincts and I watch Super Nanny. What else do moms need?

But why is it so hard to admit that I feel like I'm a good mom? Aren't we as moms supposed to be beating ourselves up all the time about how we don't do this or that as well as the mom next door? I don't know. I guess I just know that I am doing the best I can so if the mom next door is doing something 'better' than me, I just don't stress about it. I feel like the time I spend with Moana (for the most part) is quality time. I take care of myself first, which many moms might view as selfish, but I view it as providing a service to my family. When I'm happy and my needs are met, then I'm a good mom and can serve my husband and my daughter in a much better way than I can when my needs have not been met. And by needs, let's be clear, I'm talking about the time/ability to go out and train. When I get done with a great morning workout, I'm relaxed and happy to spend the rest of my day playing with my daughter... showing her how to make oatmeal, reading books to her, dancing with her around the living room, helping her ride her trike... I find that it's a powerful thing, to take care of myself first, so that I can then give so much more to my family. Is that the best way for everyone? Not likely. But am I confident that it works for me and my family? Absolutely.

So that said, I need to go to bed because there's a serious track workout that needs to get done tomorrow morning and my 5:15 alarm is going to be brutal if I don't work my way into bed soon. Tick tock.

23 comments:

Roz said...

It sounds like you have found a balance between taking care of your family and you. I suppose that's part of what being a mom is about. Congrats on 18 months!

Rebecca DeWire said...

What a great post! I agree that it is so important to put your happiness first rather than last. And for you, happiness= training. I must admit that used to be my happiness equation and then things became so screwed up with my hip. It took a while to adjust, but I am still really happy even without training.

Nitsirk said...

Amen sister :) You got it exactly right. Happy moms make happy families. Today Jack is 13 months. I didn't realize that they were exactly 5 months apart.

By the way, you are also setting a great example for Moana. So many girls/ women don't think that they deserve to do things to make themselves happy. She will know that it is ok and in fact, neccesary. You are a great mom!

cherelli said...

Love the example you set Michelle, great post. Congratulations on reaching the "18months of being a Mum" milestone :)

Clare said...

awww. i totally agree and admire the way you do manage it all!!

kat said...

Thank you for this. I'm about to become a mom in a few weeks and much of what you have written resonates for me. I know that I'm clueless and wonder if I will get that protective instinct that everyone mentions. I hope so, because I definitely don't feel it right now. AND, I hope to get back into working out, as I know it does a lot for me and my overall well being (mentally & physically). It's just going to be a balancing act - one that I hope to achieve!

X-Country2 said...

Blogs come full circle because your blog has always been a mom inspiration to me. :o)

Staci Dombroski said...

Beautiful post!! You are so right!!!

Angela and David Kidd said...

Happy birthday Moana! And you are a great mom, no doubt about it!

Running and living said...

I feel we are the same in that:1) I was not the nurturing type and did not dream about having babies, it sort of happened for me...oops!; 2) I love being a mom and I think I am a good enough mom; 3)I don't strive to be perfect and I do put my happiness first:). I am also surprised at what happens to me when I am with Petru, from the protectiveness (I keep it healthy, though) to the intense all consuming mix of emotions: love, pride, weakness, strength, etc, etc. Great post, happy 18 months!

mtanner said...

I think you are a GREAT mom. Totally hear you on the not sure about kids/selfish thing. Although you are living proof of an awesome mom. Also think it is very important to have your "me time" = training every day! Continue writing and doing what you do!

Katie A. said...

You are an ispiration and a wonderful example of what it means to an awesome mom. I really like your stress-free thinking and hope that I am able to embrace that when I become a mom :)
Enjoy your day with Moana! Hope track went well!

Lizzie said...

Pretty much ditto on what everyone else has said!! :)

Chris said...

Happy Momiversary! By the way, whatever happened with swimmer dude?

Beth said...

Thanks so much for this post Michelle! I have a lot of the same feelings about myself that you had before you had Moana and it really is great to see what an awesome mom you are despite your reservations!! Happy 1/2 birthday to Moana!

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

What a great post! I totally know what you meant about the maternal instinct kicking in after your baby is born. :)

And, I definitely feel that having a healthy balance between doing stuff for myself and my family is what makes me a better mom.

By the way, even though I don't know you, from what I read through your blog you sound like an amazing mother!

Laura Wheatley said...

LOVE IT!! I'm not planning on "momming" anytime soon, but I have the same insecurities that you mentioned...and I think you are giving some great advice to people like me! You are wonderful, and congrats :)

Regina said...

Yep. I was sure I would be a lousy mom, given I never wanted kids. Even though my son was soooooo planned, I was selfish and impatient. I don't know if I am a good mom, but I am the only mom I know how to be. When my son tells me (as he does frequently) That I am "the best mom he ever had", I feel like I must be doing something right. (of course I remind him that I am the only mom he ever had, ha).

I did find patience I never knew I had, but I definitely lose it sometimes. I'm only human.

cheryl said...

I am not a mom, it didn't happen to our lives. But I love hearing that others love being a mom, I can only imagine the smiles it brings to your life. and you find a balance in still being able to do something that you love outside of being a mom, that will someday be an inspiration to Moana.

Alili said...

Hurray for good moms! :)

DC Running Mama said...

Great post;> There are times that I still feel insecure about being a mom, or that I'm "doing it right," but you're right in that we each have to figure out what it means to be a good mom on our own terms. And I do think that taking care ofyourself first makes you a better mom b/c you're not resentful of all the time you spend giving.

Charisa said...

I think you are a great mom! Glad you get to fit everything you love in too!

Angela said...

I'm glad you've figured out the "me time" and stick to it! It's something I struggle with constantly and wish I could be better at getting mine in. Although since I've started IM training it's much easier to say "I have to do this or I'm going to suffer in september"...maybe I should adopt the saying "I have to do this or we're all going to suffer tomorrow"

Yes, I think that's it.