I know, I know. It’s a bit dramatic. But click bait and all, you know?
I have been a mother now for 24 months. That’s right over 2 years. Now, most of you are probably saying, “SHELBY, you need some sleep! Your girl is only 15 months old” and you are right. But let’s not forget I carried that little peanut around for 9 months.
I remember while I was pregnant people would constantly tell me – you are going to be a great mom! And while the sentiment was VERY sweet it started to freak me out – this isn’t motherhood yet? I’ve changed my lifestyle, I’ve changed my diet, my sleep schedule has changed, etc, etc and this still is NOT motherhood??? Quickly after I decided that all of those sweet, amazingly kind people who were telling me what a great mom I WOULD be were wrong. Not about how great I was at being a mom but about the fact that I wasn’t one yet.
Hence, I have been a mother for 24 months now. Anyways, now that we are off that bunny trail…I have been doing this whole mom thing now for over 2 years. I remember during the time that Aaron and I were praying for a child thinking that I would be sooooo great at being a mom. I had been a youth leader for 10+ years and then a youth pastor for 2+ years and I had gotten a lot of practice loving kids. If there was a report card for moms I knew that my scores would be A+s. And then Gemma was born…
Let’s be honest, recovery after a baby is never fun. I won’t get into the nitty gritty of it all but I will tell you that the pain I experienced after I pushed my 5lb 1oz baby out of my body was INCREDIBLE and UNBELIEVABLE and I was not prepared for it.
In my fantasies I saw myself waking up to the cry of my newborn at 3AM and running to her side with excitement, I would feed her and smell her and never take a moment for granted. In reality, I woke up to the unbelievably shrill sound of my newborn crying after having just fallen asleep 1 hour ago. I would feed her and most likely fall asleep which would lead to accidentally headbutting her (this actually happened). I wasn’t cherishing every moment, in fact, I was wishing the moments away – hoping that she would eat quickly so I could go back to sleep.
Honestly, those first 3 months were a deep, dark hole for me. I was tired all the time, I couldn’t ever leave the house, I was sore like never before, and I was picking fights with Aaron all the time (you know, being tired makes you do crazy things).
I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t be like my friends and Instagram icons?? Why didn’t I love waking up with my daughter at 3AM? Why was I still feeling like a bus had run over me and having a hard time moving around? Why wasn’t I satisfied with being home with my daughter 24/7 and never seeing the light of day? Why was my belly not flat and toned again? Why was my house always messy? Why didn’t I always have dinner on the table at 5PM? WHY DID I SUCK AT BEING A MOM???
This was the constant chatter in my brain for the first 3-6 months. And then…she started sleeping through the night and I was convinced that EVERYTHING WOULD BE BETTER and easier. I had already started planning our matching outfits for our cute Instaphotos and I had a menu of meals planned out for the week. I even had ideas for games you could play to help your child’s development. I was going to rock THIS thing. I would finally measure up to all of my friends and Instagram icons.
But, but, but then she stopped napping as often which meant she was up more – and, and, and all I wanted to do was take a moment for myself. Maybe watch a show on Netflix or paint my nails BUT she wanted me…no she needed me! Shouldn’t I LOVE the fact that my daughter needed me? Shouldn’t I want to be absorbed by my daughter all day, every day? Shouldn’t I be happy that I never had a moment to Netflix and chill?
All my friends and Instagram icons loved serving the needs of their child every moment. All of them loved having messy mom buns and yoga pants on all day. All of them were the perfect moms to their children and I just wasn’t. The saddest part of it all was that I didn’t feel like I could open up to anyone about how I was feeling because any time I spoke my mind, somebody was eager to give me advice on what I should do to fix myself. Advice is great – unless all you need is to VENT. And I just needed to vent.
Honestly, I found myself in a dark place. In fact, my sweet husband gently asked me one day – do you think you could have the baby blues? Maybe I did. I don’t know, but I just felt like God had accidentally given me Gemma. Horrible truth talk, I even said to myself – I miscarried before, maybe it’s because God realized that I wasn’t fit to be a mother. If I told you all of the thoughts that plagued my mind…you would be horrified.
Motherhood is a battle – not a battle with your children (well, I guess sometimes it is). It’s a battle in your mind. If you look for it, you will be able to find evidence every day that you are not the right mom for your child. That you are not the right wife for your husband. That you are not the right employee for your job. That somebody else could do your job better than you. This has been my struggle for 24 months. I wanted to hang a sign on my daughter that said HELP WANTED! I had looked for evidence that I was sucking at my job and I found it.
But then I started thinking – if I can find evidence that I am a bad mom, I should be able to find evidence that I am a good mom….(my brain was screaming – or maybe not because I suck so much) So, I decided that every day I would find ONE THING that I have done well. Just one thing…because honestly there might only be one thing. Yesterday I sucked snot out of my daughter’s nose twice – she was screaming and crying crocodile tears BUT, BUT, BUT I AM AWESOME! I made sure my daughter could breathe yesterday!!! I have lost this battle in my mind by dissecting my day with my daughter, forgetting all of the good moments, and shining a spotlight on all the disappointing ones. The way I can win this battle is by doing the opposite. So, I challenge you today…fight this battle with me!!! Stop shining a spotlight on your bad moments.
Today my daughter is ALIVE! Just that simple fact means I ROCK!! Also, she is drop dead gorgeous so go me on having awesome GENES! Yay…2 pieces of evidence to prove I am thebomb.com.
Parenthood is arguably the most important job in this world so why wouldn’t we expect the enemy to attack us – to trick us into becoming lesser versions of ourselves? Our children are important and they matter. My daughter is going to change the world one day – just like your child will. Why wouldn’t I expect a grueling battle? But the good news is somebody already believed in us. He believed that we were just what our child needed. And His opinion is the only one that matters.
The other day the cheesiest thing popped into my mind – People say that children don’t come with manuals but I don’t need one because I know the Creator.
We’ve got this!