We can prepare for motherhood all we want, but honestly? Gathering things for our baby, baby proofing, chatting with all the mothers on the entire planet, and other suggestions will only prepare us so far.
Caring for another person and embracing the full responsibility of it can't be fully prepared for. Being a mother is experiential, and you'll always be learning. You essentially reinvent yourself as you go because if you don't change, you'll repeatedly hit a wall, and often children pay for our frustrations.
This list, like all the others, will only take you so far. The work of a mother is done daily. Here are some tips on how to embrace being a mom.
Admitting the dissonance between you before and after child is the first step. Something has changed! Our culture expects mothers to be all in and change gracefully with no complaints in sight.
Sure, I was all in to do what I needed to do for my son, but I wasn't all in to what it meant for me as a person to go from Nadia to mama/mom/mommy. After the first two months of being fully immersed in nurture mode, coming back up was terrifying because there was some version of me hanging by like a shadowy reminder of what was. I felt guilty that I didn't want to let go, but if I didn't let go, there would be no room to accept my new role.
Accept Your New Role
I knew I wanted to be the kind of mother that showed up as fully as she could. There was no way I wasn't going to work at being the best mom my son could have. I would fail often, but at least he'd see that I never stopped putting effort into taking my role as a mother seriously.
I felt confident I'd have more winning days ultimately. It's not always easy to remember that when I'm feeling worn down and I want to hide from my responsibilities. Often I find the difficulty arises because I want to split or use my time to do something else other than giving him my full attention. It's a blessing to see every moment of his growth, but some days I still want a moment to see and feel my growth or get some work done.
I'm one to keep my business to myself, especially the down parts. I don't want to seem like a bad mother for having complaints or a terrible partner because there's a disagreement. So, I keep it all to myself. On top of all else, I try to iron out all my issues alone.
I wish I had a village on the days I feel down. But I can't access a village if I'm not speaking up. Expecting someone, even my partner, to magically understand me when I don't say anything and act like I have it all together hurts the entire family.
Talking isn't about complaining or releasing steam. As you talk, see it as a way to navigate towards the root of the issue and how to find solutions.
I still have behaviors that are detrimental to some degree to my being. Looking at the list of these things is tough. Ignoring them is even worse because it's not just my life I'm shaping anymore. It's a challenge to look at destructive patterns and veer towards change. No matter how much our brain entertains the past, the only option is forward. Having a child is a reminder of this, and if anything, it adds some urgency to change things I needed to long ago.
Seek & See the New
Much of what I listed can seem like a downside because it's difficult inner work, but for the things I have changed, I'm so glad I did! That means there's something new at the end of this self-reinvention that'll improve my life.
Becoming a mom opens up new opportunities to expand as my son grows. It means taking up better habits and hobbies that make me feel good. Demonstrating more good practices for my son to see teaches him to take care of himself. For example, instead of watching TV or playing on my phone, I take him outside while I workout. While he plays, he also learns how to mimic my exercise moves. This sets a standard that movement is important no matter how old you are.
Sometimes I'm quite sure I'm not teaching my son anything. We put so much pressure on ourselves to teach rather than guide. Children naturally learn from watching, and we often don't need to do many extras, especially in the beginning. Overall, parenting feels like I'm reminding myself, my inner child, what I'm supposed to be doing to live a fuller life. It's both a reminder and a reinvention.
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.