It happened. They said it would and it did. While I was busy trying to keep my head above water, survive being a new mother, figure out what the heck I was doing, and to not “screw up”, it happened: one whole year passed by! My baby is now one! It still boggles my mind that my dream has finally come true and that I’m a mom to such a wonderful little being.
I feel like shouting: “I made it! I did it! We did it!” I want a medal. To hell with a medal, I want a tiara!
The last 12 months have crawled by, often agonizingly slow. They’ve also apparently flown by while I was busy figuring my way through the maze of childcare— naps, feedings, diapers, bottles, picnics, play dates, exhaustion and evolution. I feel victorious! I feel like a champ! I feel like I’m on top of the world! I also feel like Mr. McGoo.
I used to look at moms with older kids and think: “Wow! They’re so with it. They’ve got this figured out. Bravo! I can’t wait to get there!” They just seemed so at ease and in charge. Now, I’m here and I feel like I’ve been through the toughest year of my life, learned more than I ever have in a year’s time, and accomplished so much. But damn if I feel “with it” by any stretch of the imagination.
A year into my life as a mom and I am perpetually late, frequently dazed and permanently confused. I can’t keep dates straight and I often forget appointments. I can’t keep thoughts straight. I walk around, looking for my keys, glasses and purse only to realize that they’re in my pocket, on my head and over my shoulder. I have lost my ability to speak coherently, look “put together”, be graceful, make friends or be social. A year in and I’ve still really got no clue how to run my errands most days or make dinner most nights. A year in and I still have days when I just want to sit and cry—often from joy, but many times from feeling plain overwhelmed. A year in and I feel like I’m still trying to figure out naps, meals and the basics, fully realizing that more complicated stuff is looming in the horizon. (What type of learning theory do I believe in? What type of preschool do I want my child to attend? Did I really need to get wait listed for the “right” place a year before the kid was born? What if I screwed this up already!?)
I have yet to master the art of mommy time. What break? I am struggling just to find time to think, record memories, make photo albums and drink my afternoon tea before it’s as cold as dish water (that is if I manage to remember that I’ve made tea). Bathroom breaks? I’m considering learning to pee in a bottle standing up while my baby is hanging from my legs, demanding to be picked up RIGHT NOW. And I’m totally in awe of those moms who regularly blog, manage to have a night out to socialize once in a while, work at a job in addition to their job as a mom on regular basis, and even find the time to go back to school to pursue personal and professional goals—all of whom I have met and am so impressed by. I barely get a chance to put deodorant on most days!
I must not be as talented. I must not be as capable. I must be incompetent. What’s wrong with me! I must be a loser.
At my loneliest and most exhausted moments, these are the things I say to myself. I judge myself, swiftly, harshly and frequently. These are the words that make me want to cry.
But, then I remember my journey. I remember what I’ve been through to get here. I remember how long it has taken to become a mom. I remember what I’ve endured. I remember the needles, the hormones, the procedures, the tears (so many tears), the heartaches and the losses. I remember it all and I know I’m no loser. I’m no screw up. I am finally, gloriously and beautifully what I fought for so many years: a tired, happy, confused mom doing her best and trying to get used to the mother of all learning curves, which shifts and changes on daily basis.
One year in and I cannot imagine how I survived living without so much joy all these years. One year in and I can’t imagine a day when I’m not with my child, though I am painfully aware that such days will come before I know it. One year in and I know I’ve never been happier, more tired or more fulfilled. One year in and I know I am not the only one feeling these feelings and struggling to find balance.
I am a mom. I am a champ. I am the witness to the unfolding of a beautiful life. I am the guardian of this tiny being’s peace, joy, wellbeing, comfort and development. I am the dreamer with a heart full of love, a head full of goals and a soul full of joy whose dream has finally come to life. I work, sweat, bleed, struggle, laugh, make mistakes, endure, grow, learn and flourish. I build the future of my baby, one bite at a time and one nap at a time. And I get things done however possible, which usually doesn’t look as idyllic as the books, ads and society’s marketing machine tries to portray. I get it done. That’s an accomplishment. That’s all that matters.
So what if punctuality seems to have gone into hiding? So what if efficiency has taken a hiatus? So what if I can’t figure out when to bathe, sip a hot cup of tea or blog? And, for now, I’m just fine with all those who get a lot more done remaining admirable enigmas to me. I am Mister McGoo and I’m okay with it. I’m not as “with it” as I wish, and that’s fine. I haven’t hit the mommy BFF jackpot, and I’m not gonna beat myself up about it. If all this makes me a loser, then I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you KISS me. Or, better yet, give me a glass of champagne and my tiara because I have made it this far and I can’t wait for what’s to come next.
**This post is dedicated to all the moms out there who struggle to adjust, who have hard times and who are plain spoken enough to admit it. I might not know any of you, but I KNOW I’m not alone.**