After I had the baby everyone started telling me this is your “new normal” so get used to it. Get used to this life as if it’s going to be BAD, as if I should expect it to be a punishment. Punishment for love? (I mean, we all know where babies come from)
Frankly, I do feel waves of guilt and feelings of “this is my punishment” crawling their way into my mind slowly and it’s a conscious effort to keep that space clear from negative emotion. Ok, so most days I fail at keeping the attic of my brain clean, but so what, it doesn’t mean I should give up, it means I should fight harder.
This week I learned something about myself. Not that I didn’t know it, not that I had never heard it before, I just learned it. I mean really learned something about myself that made me feel all empowered and like I am getting to know this new ME, at this stage of my life. I just sat there marveling at this quality and I think I am going to continue getting to know me and instead of getting down on all the failures, I will attempt with all my effort to build on my strengths instead.
This week as I reflected on some circumstances of my life, I learned that I am resilient. So many times I’ve fallen down, been disappointed, yet I still stay positive and keep trying. The thought of completely giving up has not registered long enough to become reality. This is huge news to me. It means a great deal of self empowerment and a true encouragement.
If I was honest though, at the same time this week an overwhelming feeling came over me when I was painting my nails. There is one thing I NEED – to be able to walk into a grocery store or shake anyone’s hand before a business meeting with a nice looking manicure. So about a month or two ago I started doing my own mani/pedi. I wash dishes, cook, constantly wash my hands – so it means doing my nails every other night if I’d want to keep my manicure fresh. Who’s got time for that?! I really got fed up – because while baby is down for the night, I’d rather cuddle on the couch with my husband then wait for the nail polish to dry.
So instead of feeling all beat up about my new normal – I am now going back to get my manicure done and embracing womanhood – because its empowering. Because when my baby boy is growing up I want him to know that a woman isn’t meant to do it all, she is meant to be the best at the role she was designed to do. I want him to know she is beautiful and graceful at every moment of joy and every moment of diaper spill all over the floor. I want him to know a woman who builds a life on her strengths and isn’t destroyed by her failures.
Yes, I am aware that the new normal is having a little human cry for you from early morning until night, and then in the middle of the night, tugging on your body parts expecting food every two hours, without considering that you may be hungry too, since it always happens as you are about to sit down to eat. The new normal is pregnant – but not too pregnant so people can still look at you and say “awe, you’re all belly”. Then in 3 months you’re expected to loose the baby weight, go back to work, have him sleep through the night and roll over (what if your baby doesn’t want to yet?) There is the house, dishes (every day), meals to cook (every day), clean floors, shower and washed hair at least 2 times a week, change all the diapers, put on makeup (every day), give time for your husband, spend time with friends.. I know I am missing a lot more on this list as every mom’s to-do list is different, but seriously, can we just stop and celebrate how resilient a woman’s body is?
You allow your body to go through so much and experience the joy of giving birth (whoever says that by the way never had to go through it without the drugs), then you bring the baby home to experience the “New Normal”.
Let me just say that after 5 months of this new normal I think that WE – The Woman – are pretty freaking amazing. Let me just stop for a paragraph and tell you – husband, girlfriend, sister, co-worker – go celebrate your woman, especially if she is the mother of your offspring. Let me stop and tell you that if you’re not celebrated and you’re too exhausted to ask for it and demand it – you are amazing, you are resilient and you are beautiful. Your every effort will not go in vain, even though dishes in the sink and the pile of laundry on top of the dining room table remind you of the better version of you there once was. Be the best you today. Be the best version of you for your baby and for your husband, but most of all – be the best version you can be for yourself.
The new chapter of life where quiet frankly you – the mom – are the hero, the lifesaver is a great kind of normal, not a punishment.
Today, I will let the dishes sit for a little longer so I can hold my baby in my arms and take in every sigh, smile and every cuddle he will give me. Today, I will not let the Instagrammable world of expectations become the reality for my life. I will let the love of God allow me to love myself for who I am, and my every imperfection to be able to truly love on my family and friends.
p.s. if you are a new mom, kudos, you did it. Not feeling me on this one yet? Just wait until month 4 – after three months of cluster feeding and growth spurts, I really think it gets a LOT easier!