Let me tell you a little story that pretty much sums up last month for me.
At the beginning of the month, I decided to try out a weekly wives group. This is so out of my comfort zone, but I knew it might lead to new friends, and being a new mom? It can be lonely.
I'm always anxious about getting lost on the way to somewhere new where I might have to parallel park (STRUGGLE), so I leave insanely early and end up sitting in the car with Jack (my six month old) for a solid thirty minutes. Off to a great start already, I know.
I finally go inside only to find I'm in the wrong place and have walked in on an extremely uncomfortable situation. I felt so embarrassed and as I waited for anyone else to get there, all I could think about was getting in my car and driving home and watching Netflix. But instead, I made myself stay.
And you know what? It was great! It was awkward, as any new thing is, but it was great. I left feeling really good. So good, in fact, that I decide that now is the time to tackle my first time solo grocery shopping. Since I can't push both a cart and a stroller, I put Jack in his happy baby wrap and confidently head into Target. Can you guess where this is going?
About ten minutes in, Jack starts screaming. S c r e a m i n g. I realize he's starving, so I pull my cart off to the side to feed him. But it seemed like wherever I went, I was in someone's way. I immediately remember all of those blog posts I've ever seen floating around facebook that start with "Dear new mom at Target with the crying baby" and almost cry as I realize, oh my gosh, that is me. I am her.
I Jack, he stops screaming, and I carry on, warrior that I am. I've almost loaded everything into my basket when he starts wiggling a little bit. And then moving some more. And then jerking all around, laughing and laughing as he is slowly loosening the baby wrap and making it nearly impossible to keep him inside of it. At this point I decide to cut my losses and just wobble to the checkout, pushing my cart with one hand and trying to keep Jack up with the other.
I (of course) get an employee who tells me she's having a bad day and blames it on the assortment of things I have bought. How is she even supposed to bag these things, she asks me. Why did I get all of this stuff? Why did I buy such a variety? I just silently shake my head and focus on trying to retie the baby wrap while standing with Jack (impossible) and a sweet lady comes and puts her hand on my shoulder. "They sell the ergo baby carrier here" she whispers to me. "It's very helpful once they get big and start moving around more." I hope I said thank you, but at that moment the employee was waving a mini watermelon at me telling me that she couldn't scan it, so did I really want it? So who knows.
I tearfully (Is sobbily a word? Because that's more accurate) loaded the groceries in the car and got in the drivers seat, turning the car on and deciding to skip Trader Joe's. And then, I turned the car off, went back inside Target, and bought the baby carrier the lady suggested. I went to Trader Joe's, carried Jack around in the new carrier, and it was a much more peaceful experience.
If I would have gone home before the small group meeting, I would have missed out on meeting some pretty cool people. If I would have gone home when I was having a bad day at Target, I would probably have never gone grocery shopping again and just lived off of takeout until Jack is a teenager.
But I pushed myself through the awkwardness and the uncomfortable, and something as small as being able to get groceries or try out a meeting turned into something huge for me. It showed me that I can do hard things.
Sure, they were small things. But right now, in this phase of life, they're also hard things. Here's the thing about doing hard things: Once you're on the other side and they're actually done and you see the good that came from them, they don't seem so hard. They seem worth it.
I'm a mom. Being a mom is hard.
But I'm a mom, and I can do hard things.
version of this post appeared on www.thegirlwholovedtowrite.com