So I had a baby…. like 15 months ago. (CONFESSION: she’s over 2 now to give you an idea of how long it’s taken me to finally publish this post). This article may not relate to all of you, but for some reason, I thought to write about this topic in hopes that someone out there could relate, connect and benefit from knowing you’re not alone.
Pre-baby, actually pre-marriage, ok so in truth, pre-any obligation to anything besides myself… I was a self-employed hairstylist turned international backpacker. An independent woman with 24 hours a day to do what I wanted, when I wanted, where I wanted, and for how long I wanted. Selfish? Maybe. Amazing? Absolutely!
Although I wouldn’t trade my present life for anything else, I’d be lying to you if I were to deny the fact that the transition I’ve encountered over the last 3 years has been difficult. So many factors come into play here. Going from living in a variety of countries with everything I own on my back, to the USA, a land of convenience, luxury and wasteful habits. Calm down, I’m not judging you… believe me, I’m guilty as well. The only way I became aware of what I had, is when I didn’t have it at all. Clean water, air conditioning, fresh fruit, locks on my door… all of these things are at our fingertips yet so many go without.
I could really get into the depths of my perspective about things we take for granted but that’s really just a perspective thing and not what I want to write about. Today I wanted to reach out to those who have transformed their lives into parenthood, primarily the mommas. Some choose to not make many changes after delivering their baby and that’s ok. Some alter their life in a way that’s unrecognizable and that’s ok… my goal was to organically find the balance that was right for me and my family.
Easier said than done.
Before I got pregnant you could find me in a crossfit gym for the 4:30am class or running a 10k for fun, especially if it ended at a pub. Woo! I’d do hair for 12 hours a day no problem then go dancing all night with the ladies, just to sleep for a few hours, and do it again. I know there’s a bundle of you out there right now reading this with a smirk, like, “yeh, those were the days!”.
I’m not saying I want those times back, but what I do want to write about is the transition that I wasn’t prepared for.
Breast feeding, got it.
Sleepless nights, sure.
Making baby food, doing tons of laundry, reading children books… check, check and check.
Sacrificing workouts because my daughter is sick? Wait..what?!
Cutting a date short in fear that she’d need to nurse soon, being bound to a baby while life was going on around me!?! Not so much.
Again, I know not everyone makes the same choices or has similar situations, but my life went from a drift car series to a merry-go-round in 9 months. I could have pumped or done formula bottles but I was so thankful for milk-filled nini jugs (boobs) that nursing was my priority and my choice. I could have hired babysitters so that I could get some alone time, but letting her out of my site just wasn’t a comfortable option for me.
My amazing husband did the best he could but in all reality, it was impossible for him to completely counter the imbalance I was feeling.
I’m not claiming to be anything besides the best I could be, but I tell you… there were moments of doubt.
After my journey around the world, there was a weird sense that often took over me during the first few months I returned to what most would call “normal life”. I wasn’t sleeping in orphan work halls, hostel bunk beds, train stations, airport terminals, or other bizarre locations. I had an abundance of food within reach at all times rather than sharing an apple with 4 other volunteers. I could drive to the store versus walking until I found the nearest village market. Coffee? You mean, right here in the kitchen? I think some of my most dominant morning memories on the road was waking up hungry and ready for coffee knowing neither was nearby. So I’d pack up the essentials and start walking. The bliss of finding fresh coffee and a piece of fruit was like Christmas every day! After that, all of a sudden I’m nose to handle with a Keurig and staring at my choice of every cereal known to man. I didn’t like it.
I think determining why I’m more comfortable in an uncertain situation versus the luxury of accessibility is way beyond a blog post, so I’ll leave that one up to the professionals to figure out. All I know is that now I’m a stay-at-home mom with a store in every direction that sells everything I need at all times and I’m itching for something different. Something less.. or is it actually more? More focus on the things that matter, more desire for making a lot out of a little.
Rather than “midlife crisis” I’d like to refer to it as “next chapter transitioning” or “new door opening” or “what the…!?”
I’ve kind of went off on a tangent here, but I suppose to wrap up the post I want to acknowledge that being a good parent doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Choosing to have a child doesn’t mean you’re in love with all of the conditions that it comes with. That being said, becoming a mother has been one of the most humbling and challenging things I’ve ever done. I’m so grateful for the experience and truly look forward to the many lessons, laughter and adventure that our future holds… I mean, we haven’t even endured the 6 year old sass-pants stage yet, let a lone the teenage years! One day at a time my friends… One day at a time.