Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Things I've discovered

(Warning: children and parenthood discussed)


I know I wrote a post saying I never wanted to be a mommy blogger, and I really don't.  Nonetheless, being a mom is a big part of my live now, and (I think understandably) takes up a lot of my thoughts.

When I became a mom, I wasn't surprised at the amount of crying or dirty diapers or spitting up or sleep deprivation we've experienced, as I've been intimately involved with a lot of babies in my lifetime and pretty much knew what to expect.  Nothing about "what parenthood is really like" surprised me.  But since our boys were born, I have discovered some things about myself that have surprised me, and I wanted to share them here.

  • At least since I've been a lawyer, I haven't thought I would ever want to be a SAHM.  (When I was a nurse, I wanted to be a SAHM. . . but I think it was, in large part, just so I could quit my job.)  Liking what I do for a living, I thought I'd feel anxious to get back to work while I was on leave and home with the boys.  But I didn't.  And now that I've been back at work for six weeks, even though things are going fine at the office and I am deriving a certain amount of personal satisfaction from work, as always (in addition to the paychecks), I would much, much rather be home with my sons all day.
  • I would also rather spend time with my sons than go out anywhere, frankly, whether the outing is with MM or with friends. I knew I'd enjoy them, but I thought I'd want to "get a break" and be away from them more than I do. My favorite way now to visit friends? They come to our house and see me *and* the boys. That way I can still see my friends without missing out on any time with AJ & MJ. And they will be the main focus of conversation.  It's a win-win for me. I've gone out without my sons on occasion, but I don't enjoy it as much as I enjoy being with them.
  • I talk way too much about my children and show their photos to people way too much. (I am trying to keep a handle on this at work especially, as I know no one is as interested in the cute things kids do as their own parents are. LOL) I honestly didn't think I'd be that kind of parent, but I am.
  • I can actually function on much less sleep than I thought I needed.  I've always been a eight-hours-a-night type of person, so my being able to do this has come as a surprise to me.  Up until the past several days, when AJ & MJ have started sleeping through most of the night, I was averaging about a total of between five and six hours of sleep a night. . . . split up by one or more nighttime wakings for feedings.  And despite getting this amount of sleep, I was going to work each day and doing fine (with the help of coffee; I limit myself to two cups a day).
  • On a related note, prior to getting pregnant, I'd always been a heavy sleeper.  Before having children, I used to sometimes worry that I would sleep through their crying, or that I would be too groggy to get up and do what they needed.  As it turns out, that fear was completely unfounded.  I have slept in my boys' nursery nearly every night since they came home, and I have had no problem hearing and responding to their cries, no matter how tired I've been or how deeply asleep.  (In fact, even sometimes when MM has had me sleep in another room to try and catch up on sleep, I've heard them crying from the other room, despite being in a deep sleep.  Same thing when we had a night nurse for a few nights, which is one of the main reasons I decided that service was a waste of money for us.)
  • Before I had children, when we would go out with friends with babies for dinner, I used to feel sorry for my friends when they had to have their dinner boxed up "to go" because their baby started crying before or during the meal.  Now, this has happened to me a few times, and it's really not that big a deal.  Sure, I would like to eat my meal fresh, at the restaurant, at the time it's served. . . but if one of the boys (OK, it's always MJ) is crying, it doesn't bother me much to skip my meal and take it home for later.
  • You know how moms talk about never buying any new clothes for themselves, while buying lots of new clothes for their children?  I get it now.  I've still bought a few things for myself--my BFF and I went shopping a couple of weekends ago--but I am much more interested in spending money on things for my boys--clothes, toys, books--than on things for me.  (Plus, one of the main things I used to love to spend money on I no longer have time for: books.  I have 12-15 books in my "to be read" pile and on my Kindle that I haven't even opened.)
  • MM and I talked a lot about our ideas on parenting before we had children--heck, we had plenty of time to talk about them, during three years of TTC--and thought we were pretty much in agreement about most things.  Turns out we have some different ideas about some things we didn't expect, such as how long the boys should cry before they get picked up.  No major disagreements, and I know all couples face this, but I was a little surprised by it.
I think the biggest surprise has been how happy I am.  I always knew I wanted to be a mother, and I knew I would love my children and derive pleasure and satisfaction from having them in my life.  (Otherwise why did I go to such lengths to become a mom?)  Those things weren't a surprise to me.  But, while I knew motherhood would bring me joy, I thought I might find myself also feeling stressed and perhaps a little depressed at times with all the demands on me.  Many of my friends have simultaneously struggled with difficult emotions while new parents, even though they love(d) their children very much.

So far, I have not found that to be the case for me.  Despite being busier than I've ever been and having less time for myself than I've ever had, I am happier than I have been in years, maybe ever.  All the things that brought me fulfillment before, including my work, volunteering, friendships, hobbies and even my marriage didn't come close to making me as happy as being a mother to my sons makes me.  I feel fulfilled and joyful in a way I never have before.

[Sorry to end on such a sappy emotional note.  But that's where I'm at these days.  :-) ]

5 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post to read. Your happiness really shines through! :)

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  2. I'm so, so glad to read this! I worry about many of the things you worried about before having the twins (especially the lack of sleep and needing breaks part) and I'm glad to hear that you were able to make the adjustment. Hopefully I can too!

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  3. This is a great post. I love hearing all of the positive changes that you didn't expect. This makes me really happy, as a soon-to-be mom of twins. :)

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  4. I'm so happy that things have worked out for you!

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