Monday, June 1, 2009

For Helen Joy!!! My thoughts on Mommyhood

This is my thoughts on being a mommy and how it changes your life and your personality. It's mostly for my dear friend Helen Joy who is tired and worn out because her 4mo son Barclay is very fussy all the time. You are a different person as a mommy. Sometimes you might think this is bad, but lets just think about a few things.

1) Before you had your baby, would you ever think of hurting or killing someone that hurt you? Probably not. Now that he's in the picture, if anyone tried to hurt him you wouldn't think twice.

2) Before him, would you stay up all night feeding someone regularly? Probably not. Well, you might have gotten up once or twice to fix a drink or something if your hubby was super sick... but if he was just hungry you'd tell him to go make his own food unless you were feeling sappy. Now that he's in the picture, you do everything he needs regardless of your desire for sleep.

3) Before baby, you were probably reckless in some things. I used to speed and pick up hitch hikers. Now that you have him, you're more careful to protect both yourself and him because you know he needs you. I've learned that you have to put things into perspective.

Yes. You are a different person. A person that loves and cares someone very much and devotes a lot of her time to making sure he is okay. This is beautiful. This is what mommies were made to do. It's not the end of who you are, it's not that your personality and life have disappeared, it's simply that your life has changed. This change is beautiful. It has made you more responsible, more dependable, more trustworthy. It has made you ready to do things people never want to do, and think we're crazy for doing it -- change diapers, be thrown up on, clean messes, do laundry at 3 am.

And, whilst you may be tired and whimsically dwelling on times past, think of the things that you have to look forward to. He may not sleep now, and he may scream a bunch now, but Alina had colic at Barclay's age and I thought I'd never get through. Now she is a very particular, strong willed child, but she is obedient and smart as they come. Not a year and a half later, she has a favorite color, she has a favorite book, she has a favorite bedtime routine (and yes, she does go to bed without screaming). I don't know if the doctors will come up with anything, or have any ideas for HJ... they didn't know for me. But, I've discovered that all her fussy "hold me and don't ever put me down" was simply the expression of her little personality. She was demonstrating before she could talk that she had an opinion and a way that she wants things to happen. This may sound silly, but its amazing when you can put your finger on it and see that it's his personality coming out and shinning through that precious little face of his.

And, when your next baby comes along, you'll be able to see the stark differences between the two. Raziel never cries when I put him in bed, and he didn't cry in the hospital nursery either. Alina wouldn't let us set her down. Raziel laughs all the time and is anxious to get walking because he wants to explore everything. Alina preferred to watch the world from my arms, and give an ongoing babbly commentary of what she thought. They are different people and now that I've had 2 I can see Raziel's personality coming out and I can see when Alina was doing the same. It's hard to see through the tears, but there is a little man in there trying to learn how to express his wants and needs and opinions to you, and he is crying for you because he loves you and wants to be close to you. (not that you should always need to hold him by any means -- he will have to learn.)

This is exciting -- think of Barclay like a little lump of playdough. You may not decide what color he is or how well he turns out, but you do get to mold and work and put little details into his every day life that become a part of who he is in the long run. He will look back and see your fingerprints, just like you look back and see your mother's. You are all that he's got on the day-to-day basis, you are his primary look-to when he wants to learn something. And, when he gets bigger, he will ask you about things, ask you why, and want to know what you have to say about life in general.

Sure, you don't have all the freedoms. But you have this time to instill in Barclay who you want him to be -- and see where it goes. You have this time to take your personality and watch parts of it come out in your little boy because he will be just like you in so many ways because you are all he watches. Someone told me that a long time ago and I never thought this was true until I watched Alina start coloring and drawing. She is super artsy (like her mommy) and she lays on the floor on her tummy and switches her crayons for other colors often (also like her mommy). She is always so proud when she's done and shows me and wants to tell me everything that's in the picture. I love this about her and its just like when I show things to Brent.
And, he will also look more and more like his daddy in different ways. I've never been a giver. Brent gave $70 to a co-worker who needed it more than we did and I got upset because I don't know how we will pay the electric bill now! It's something we're called to do -- give -- but it's not my thing at all. I'd rather help you move your stuff than pay for your moving truck. And Alina will be the same as her daddy, God willing. She already picks flowers and rocks and leaves to bring them as gifts. She colors pictures and gets things at the store to give to various important people in her life -- nene, daddy, baba, etc.

It's crazy -- you can't see it until later, but Barclay is an itty bitty person in many ways and he has a great big personality that he's trying to express!

HJ -- you're gonna make it. And, when he gets a bit older, you'll have time for a life again, I promise. You're a better person as a mommy -- the same person, just more responsible. I promise. Love you bunches.

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