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.