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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

getting back to myself

Today I planted a flower garden in my yard for the first time.
I got messy, with shovels and rakes and even cow manure.
I played in the dirt.
It was so much fun!

While planting flowers alongside my good friend I started talking about how long I've wanted to do this, plant flowers outside our new home. We have lived here almost two years and finally I've planted flowers! It was exciting for me.

It made me realize how great it's been since Owen turned a year old. I told my friend, "I feel like since the day he turned 12 months old I have really gotten back to being myself again, not just being Mommy, but being Angela."

It's so true. I feel like for a while there I lost a little of who I was because I was so wrapped up in being Mom. I think that's the nature of becoming a new parent and taking care of an infant. They need you so much more when they are small that it's difficult to have any hobbies or time to yourself. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, I kind of miss Owen needing me so much. It made me a little sad when he gave up his bottle and cuddle time, no longer needing me to hold him every couple of hours for his bottle and instead now he holds his own sippy cup and pushes my hand away when I try to spoon feed him his yogurt. It's nice to be needed, so yes, a part of me misses that.

Still, it's really nice to be me again. It's nice to have things to do that help me relax, feel confident and like I'm using my brain (mostly mush now due to the Mommy Brain Syndrome).

You will find that some of the first year is a hazy fog at times. There will be chunks of it you cannot remember. You will flip back through the baby's book and think, "Huh, I don't even remember when he first rolled over, so glad I wrote it down!" When my nephew was born a mere 7 months after Owen and the few months after when she would ask me how much Owen weighed at a certain point or when he started crawling I would answer, "Like I know! I can't remember. Check my baby book." She would laugh, saying that it wasn't like it was years ago, but rather just a few months, why could I not remember? I guess that's how it goes when you are so busy with the day-to-day business of being a parent.

There will be times that are overwhelming to you in this first year. You may want to cry or feel defeated by exhaustion. You may feel like you aren't a good enough parent, like you aren't doing it right or you don't have a clue. You may get into stupid arguments with your husband, over absolutely nothing, and strictly because you are just so damn tired with a capital T. You may decline any dinner invites or outings because you find it easier to not have to pack the diaper bag full of clothes in case the baby poops while out. It's all normal, and it all passes.

It's OK to be overwhelmed and to take on this new all-consuming identity of MOM. It's what you are meant to do and you will be happy to do it every step of the way. I write this post not to be negative or to scare you, but rather to tell you the truth - that it's hard and it will change you the second that baby is on the outside of your womb. I also write this post to remind you that yes, while you will change a bit, you will definitely return to being YOU. In fact, you will come out on the other side of this first year of being a first-time mom a much stronger, confident, positive, healthier and happier YOU than even when you started.

Don't worry, I promise you, too, may plant flowers in the near future. Well, at least after you can see your feet again!

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