It’s another birthday and I’m sitting here wondering what to write. How do I describe this last year of my life, my 33rd year? I’ve been doing a birthday post since my 30th birthday where I decided it was time to make big changes to my life. I then chronicled 31, 32, and 33. During those three years I went back to school, took on new challenges, and created the life I always wanted. One thing was missing, children of my own, and this year that finally happened for me!
When I was pregnant people warned me to prepare for a complete lifestyle change. I read other blogs of new moms who couldn’t believe how much their lifestyle and person had changed. I was smug and decided this kid was going to fit into my lifestyle, not the other way around. Ha ha ha ha ha!
Seriously. I read my books on how to make my baby sleep through the night by three months, how to lose the baby weight in 8 weeks, how to balance work with a family, etc. And because I read all that advice I figured I had it down. Too funny! So much about myself and my life has changed this year.
I debated posting because when I re-read this post what was meant to be a thoughtful reflection of all the major changes I’ve experienced, it sounds like whining. Before you read this, please know that I am not complaining or whining about my life. Becoming a mother is something I thought would never happen and I am grateful every single day for this little miracle. That said, a lot about me and my lifestyle has changed since he arrived and I’m just sharing those changes and my honest thoughts on each.
Who I am
I grew up a bossy tomboy who made fun of girls who cried. I was always too tough to cry, and if I did it was only in the most extreme of circumstances. But enter this baby and I am an emotional basket case! At first I blamed it on hormones, but it’s been eight months, my hormones are levelled out, and I’m still a crier.
A few examples of meltdowns include; when he was circumcised, when I first drove him from Lethbridge to Magrath and he cried the whole time, when he fell off the couch for the first time, when I left him with the babysitter to go to work for the first time, when he was up sick. But not all my crying has to do with him; I now sob over TV shows and movies, even commercials. The waterworks are real. And embarrassing! Yeesh.
Another way I completely changed was how I wanted to live my life. I always said I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom. That I would happily go back to work as long as my child was well cared for. Well, now he’s here and I wish so badly I didn’t have to work. I want to stay home and go on walks with him and watch him play all day. So while I know that’s not possible, and I am SO LUCKY to love my job and have a flexible schedule (I’m currently substitute teaching) I still wish I could stay home with him and soak him in. Anyone who knows me would know how crazy that turn around is!
I was always someone who HAD to have 7-9 hours of sleep. As an 18-year-old living in the dorms, I went to bed at 8pm when I had early morning workouts. I knew I would not be sleeping when he was a newborn, but I read all about how to get him to sleep through the night by three months and that was my plan. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Last night, he was up from 3-5 am. He was not sleepy and was up playing and talking away.
Some nights he’s great, only getting up once or twice, and others we’re up every two hours. They say you get used to it and boy do you ever. I can get by on 4 hours sleep now, it’s kind of cool.
I know women are competitive and I see/hear bashing of each others parenting all the time. By the way ladies- just stop. A mom’s a mom. Period. But being a working mom is so much harder than I ever anticipated! And as I said, I love my job and have a flexible schedule. How do the ladies working full time in a job they hate do it?
First off, mornings are a production. I need to have at least a full hour to get everything ready, and that’s with preparing as much as I can the night before. I also have to allow an extra 20 minutes to drop him off at the babysitter and get to the school I’m teaching at that day.
Then work. I love my job and have a lot of fun but teaching so I’m very fortunate there.
After work, I pick him up and take him home and prepare dinner while spending as much time as possible with him. When he finally goes down at 7pm, I tidy up the house, load the dishwasher, do laundry, and prepare everything for the next day. It’s definitely a busy life. And just wait until he’s older and has after school activities!
Hiking & Workouts
People told me I would hike less and have less time for workouts and I thought they were crazy. I planned to take him along of course, that’s what baby carriers and jogging strollers were for! But this summer, he was so young he couldn’t hold his head up in a baby carrier, wear bug spray or sunscreen, couldn’t be out in the wind, and couldn’t be out in weather hotter than +28C. So we got out hiking waaaaaay less than I anticipated! That will change next summer of course with him being older but it made for a less adventurous season.
I also have not been nearly as good with running or working out. And it’s not because I don’t like working out, I love it! I’m just usually too tired to entertain the idea of it. I’m waiting for a gym to open up in Magrath so I can start going in the evenings after he goes to bed. That means a filthy house, but so be it.
For the first time since I was an overweight pre-teen, I have bad body confidence. I am still carrying an extra 15 pounds and for the first time, it’s in my stomach. I always said my confidence came from having a strong body. Something about being able to run miles, lift heavy things, and climb steep mountains made me feel amazing. I feel weak and soft right now and it’s not good. My inner dialogue about how I look is very negative. I know I need to take it easier on myself and stay positive, but sometimes I can’t help the mean thoughts.
By the way, social media is terrible for anyone struggling with their body image. All these moms whose babies are younger than mine are rocking crop tops and bikinis. And I’m logical enough to know that everyone is different and I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone else, but it’s hard not to sometimes. I’m dying to get this body strong again!
If this post felt like a laundry list of complaints, I didn’t mean it to. I wanted to detail how much of my life has completely changed this year. And for the lack of sleep, the stress of being a working mom, the lack of workouts and body image issues- the love I feel for TyTy is stronger than I EVER could have imagined!
I used to wonder what that bond felt like between a mother and her child and I can tell you now it’s crazy intense. One time when he was crying and I was crying along with him, I told Ryan “it’s because he’s a part of me. If a part of my body is hurting, than I’m hurting.” Ugh! I’m tearing up a little writing this.
It’s this love that’s helped me handle all the other challenges so well. Yes, it’s stressful. And yes, the lack of sleep is the hardest part of the whole gig if you ask me. But that love! Wow! When he’s upset and can only be comforted by me. When he gives me that mischievous grin; what a crazy feeling of love!
In conclusion, on my 34th birthday, I can say I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished so far in this life. And while I’ve changed in ways I never thought I would, it’s all for the better.
Let’s see what my 34th year has in store!