Becoming A Mother: The Ultimate Change
Motherhood is so transformative. It’s amazing, really.
Of course, we realize that it will be a total game-changer well before we ever experience the reality of it.
I knew I was becoming a mother.
I did not yet know that in choosing motherhood, I was about to become hundreds of mothers. And hundreds of new versions of myself.
Most of the parents I know refer to milestones and phases as “seasons” and I think this is the perfect term to describe all the changes we endure in parenthood and in life. Like winter, spring, summer and fall, the seasons of motherhood are ever-changing and evolving. Some seasons seem to drag and some just fly by. There is little known about when they’re changing; it can be sunny one moment and freezing the next.
I didn’t know it was the last time I’d ever sing my son to sleep until months went by and I realized, it had been months. I never got to savor that moment. The end of a very sweet and long season.
At nearly five, my daughter is growing out of all the funny toddler nicknames and mispronunciations of words. One day it’s puh-sgetti, the next it’s spaghetti. You know the deal! And as the saying goes, you never really know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Managing Expectations and Disappointments
I have known very few people in my life who were genuinely “go with the flow” kind of personalities. Most people I know have expectations: the optimists, the pessimists, and everyone in between. The few of them who admit they “hate change” or don’t deal well with it are speaking a truth many more of us won’t share.
It’s normal to have parenting expectations, but it can be dangerous. So often we don’t get what we want or plans don’t go as planned. Even in the most charmed circumstances, there are obstacles throughout the seasons of motherhood that can push us to the brink.
So how can we manage not only to “ride the waves” in this ocean of parenthood where we have very little control, but actually enjoy the surf? I think it starts with a bit of inward reflection.
Savoring Small Moments
I try to practice mindfulness which helps me stay in the present moment. I try to savor the time I have left in this stage of early motherhood, when one of my children is still home with me more than she’s gone at school.
It’s not lost on me how many times in the past few years I’ve wished this season away. The overnight and early morning wake-ups. The neediness. The lack of time for myself. Feeling “touched out” regularly.
Yes, I try to savor but some days, it’s more like just trying to survive.
What does it really mean to savor something? I usually use this word in the context of food. To really savor, to me, feels reserved for something that is truly a treat! Maybe it’s a favorite food I don’t get to enjoy regularly or a special luxury at an infrequently visited restaurant. It feels impossible to think of “savoring” things in large quantities.
Savor is not a word I would use to describe my enjoyment or experience as a stay-at-home parent. The abundance of moments I share with my kids feels like an automatic disqualifier! But as my days as a full-time SAHP dwindle down, I can look for those small moments to savor among the everyday chaos.
How is it that this season is drawing to a close?
The hourglass seemed so full for so long that I didn’t realize how fast the sand was falling.
With every transition, there are mixed emotions. The bitter and the sweet. This is certainly true of the seasons of motherhood. And it’s part of the universal experience of being human.
Honor, Celebrate, Release
Like anyone in a new season of their life, I can choose to honor the past with self-reflection. What a ride! So many long days, weeks, months. This time with my children has been an incredible gift. I’m letting go of this season with both happiness and heartache. I can’t wait to watch as my children grow into the people they are becoming. Who will they be?
I also want to celebrate the mom I was during that season. Or I suppose, the many different moms. The artistic overseer. The cruise director, always trying to make fun plans. The boo-boo healer, the make-believer, the board game referee, the video gamer and cheerleader, the playground explorer, the maker of millions of snacks.
My wish is that as I become more removed from this season, I always take the best moments with me. I hope I release the memories of how hard the days were and just remember the love. And I hope my children take that along with them as well.
Letting go of control and embracing change aren’t easy, but are a necessary part of navigating the seasons of motherhood. My wish for you is for smooth transitions and comfort in knowing, through each season, you are never alone in your motherhood journey.