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Challenge: Life Changes

The Many Faces of Motherhood

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I feel like there’s two schools of thought when it comes to pregnancy - some women adore being pregnant, while others, countdown the weeks, days, minutes.

I am pretty fortunate. I had a very healthy pregnancy. I had the luxury of continuing to work and exercise throughout my last trimester. My son was delivered through cesarean section, but it was the safest option and I was ok with that.

I remember my ‘nesting” activity was coloring, before adult coloring books were all the rage. I read a lot of books - What to Expect When You’re Expecting, an Ultimate Guide To Prenatal Vitamins and of course, lots of books on choosing baby names.

Some mothers prefer when their children are infants - the feedings, rocking them to sleep and all the coos and cas. Other mothers (myself included) prefer when their children become a little more independent and life becomes a little easier.

Infancy

When your child is an infant, it's your job to meet their every need. You foster their sense of safety and comfort.

When they cry, you tend to them. I've always found it fascinating that a mother knows her child's cry. There's one for hunger, sleepiness and the classic dirty diaper cry.

Of course there are those cries that have no known origin. The ones that result in countless hours of rocking - to the point where your arms feel the Jello. Walking around the house until you can no longer feel your feet or singing lullabies until you lose your voice.

But the moment your tiny little bundle drifts off to sleep and you watch their tiny eyelids flutter and their lips suck in and out with each breath, the exhaustion is worth it.

Going out to dinner with an infant is always a chore, especially if you need a bottle heated.

My son always hated being confined to the high chair and hated his bib. In his attempt to rip it off, he’d push against the table, inevitably knocking over glasses and knocking his food to the floor.

I’d often lose my appetite – instant diet.

The diaper bag was probably my least favorite part about being an infant mother. Lugging that thing everywhere I went. I no longer owned or used a purse. My compact shared a pocket with pacifiers and spit up rags. Or that time I accidentally grabbed diaper cream instead of hand lotion - good thing I realized before applying!

My clothes were perpetually covered in spit-up and any flat surface would suffice for impromptu diaper changes.

This was all before my son could talk – before he could ask questions, complain and mouth off.

Who told him he could have an opinion anyway?

Independent Years

Because my son is only 7 he isn’t exactly independent quite yet. But he’s definitely becoming more self-sufficient. I can give him basic, 3 step commands and he can easily and correctly follow them.

“Put your clothes in the hamper, get dressed and grab your coat.” Or “Throw out your plate, brush your teeth and meet me in the bedroom.”

I had to teach myself to foster my son’s independence. Rather than watch him struggle to tie his shoes, I’d do it for him. If he took too long brushing his teeth, I’d do it for him. If he almost spilled his juice while trying to pour it during breakfast, I’d do it for him.

But I quickly realized that if I continued to do things for him, he’d never learn to do them himself.

My husband says this is because I subconsciously want my son to always need me.

I disagree.

People say that you’ll miss the years when your child needed you for everything. I don’t feel that way yet, but I believe it’s true.

Because I’d be lying if I said I didn’t relish in the moments when my son kisses me good-bye before he boards the bus, hugs me a little tighter and a little longer or asks me to snuggle with him at night.

Because there will be a time when he wipes away my kisses, doesn’t need me to tell him a bedtime story and would rather spend Friday night with his friends.

So as I say good-bye to infancy and navigate the adolescent years, I learn from my mistakes, cherish the little things and just hope that I’m creating a self-sufficient, respectful young man.

The many faces of motherhood are forever changing and I'm always learning. Until the next adventure.....


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