(started July 2017)
The first rule of Mom club is… wait, I’ll remember, just give me a minute. Ok I’m sure it’s in my huge bag somewhere, under these papers and diapers and… Wait, what were we talking about?
I’ve been a member of Mom club for almost 8 months now and I still find myself surprised as I gain new insight into what that means.
I expected sleep to be an issue. However, understanding something theoretically vs. knowing/experiencing it are two completely different things. I didn’t know that babies go through developmental jumps throughout babydom and that sleep usually gets screwed up by this and there’s no warning or sign of how long it will last. Going from little man sleeping through the night to waking up multiple times during the work week is rough. It’s search the internet, post in my Mom FB groups, and start questioning my ability to be a good Mom rough. It also almost always coincides with a big work presentation. Bruised baggy eyes are the new blazer.
I thought having a baby would complicate my life, but really it’s simplified things. I can’t make plans without figuring out who is picking up Nono from daycare, what he’s going to have for dinner, and who is going to put him to bed. There’s also a limit on how many times a week I can reasonably ask A. or family members to watch him so that means I have to rank the plans. Then you also factor in the fact that most days I want to be there with him when he’s awake and I want to put him to sleep for the night and all of a sudden I’m looking at a lot less plans on the schedule. He also is still napping multiple times a day and if he falls asleep in the car that throws his whole day off, so my plans with him are limited by how many hours awake he’s going to be able to put in and when he wakes up. Basically my life is the most structured it’s been in my adult life, but I’m not in charge of most of the structure. The best part of simplified life is that no matter what I’m stressing about, he wipes it clean. He’s the sun and when he’s awake and with me, he’s what I’m focused on and the rest fades to background noise. It’s rare that I leave work frustrated and come in the next day still carrying that with me.
His accomplishments tear me in two. I have a long list of things that I can’t wait to be able to do with him (someone who will want to watch Disney movies with me!), but sometimes the big milestones hurt. We moved him into hisown room last weekend and did this because it had become apparent that he would sleep better without us coming in. He doesn’t sleep as deeply and when we were coming into our room to go to bed he would sometimes get woken up and would almost always react in some way. It was time to move him and let him sleep undisturbed. I picked the weekend. I felt good about it and was excited to finally put his room to use and also start the chapter where he has his own space to grow into.
We put him down in his own room and everything went smoothly. Then I went downstairs and sobbed until I went to bed. I’d loved hearing his babble when he’d wake up (most of the time), sometimes he’d even sound like he was having an argument with himself (or imaginary friends). I’d loved being able to look over and see him peacefully sleeping. I’d loved the sound of his little sleepy breaths. And now that period of babydom was over just like that. He went from being with me for every moment for 9 months, then to maternity leave and his own crib but still in our room, then he went to daycare during the day while I went to work, and now he was in his own room, the furthest from me yet.
They constantly tell you that it’s all over so quickly (because that’s like super helpful right? Yeah this is all wonderful but it’s going to be over quickly and you’re going to be really sad, just sayin’). And for a while, I lived in that anxiety of having to capture everything in my mind and experience everything as much as possible before it was gone, but then I realized what they don’t tell you… It keeps getting better.
I do find myself more present than I can ever recall being because of the attention he requires and the joy I experience with him. I do still play on my phone and my thoughts wander, but I also have a spotlight on him where he is capturing all of my focus and it’s wonderfully simple. Such as, he’ll be in a giggle mood so I will drop everything and continue to do whatever it is that is making him giggle for as long as we can keep it going because it’s magic.
And each developmental step he takes forward he leaves a piece of baby behind that we won’t ever return to and that is sad, but each step brings him more into being able to connect with us, express himself, and develop into his own person.