1. Extreme, unconditional, uber LOVE.
I fell in love with the “idea” of Asher Wade the minute I received confirmation that I was pregnant. I continued to fall more and more in love with him as he grew inside of me. When he was born, I thought my heart might burst with love, and that has amazingly just continued to grow every day. It’s crazy how it usually takes a while to fall in love with someone, but with your child, it happens at a whirlwind pace. I’m not sure that you ever fall in love as fast and as hard as you do when you have a baby. It’s also constant and unconditional. There’s nothing that he could ever do that would make me not love him. It’s just like how the Lord loves us, his children…steadfast, unconditional and unwavering.
2. Levels of worry that I never imagined.
I am somewhat of an anxious worrier by nature. Having a child has increased this tenfold. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but there are many nights where I just lie in bed and come up with crazy scenarios of what could possibly happen to AW and then I come up with solutions for how I can prevent them. Sometimes I have a trigger (like if he’s already not feeling well and my mind starts goes to the extreme as far as what could potentially be wrong), but sometimes I just think of off-the-wall things. I worry constantly. The one good thing about this worry is that it’s caused me to grow closer to God. I find I pray a lot more and bring my worries to Him, where I used to hold things in and let it consume me. For example, one of my worries is being in a car accident with AW, so the first thing I do when we get in the car in the morning is say a quick prayer that God will protect us. It sounds silly, but it helps to ground me. Whenever I am overcome with worry throughout the day, I try to remember to stop and say a quick prayer. There’s just something about handing my worry over to God and letting Him take on my burden that brings an immediate sense of relief over me.
3. I can handle way more than I ever thought I could.
B.A.W. (Before Asher Wade) I thought I had so much responsibility and often thought I was at my limit. Ha! Try multiplying that by three now. The thing is, I don’t know that I really feel any more stressed than I did B.A.W. It’s like my expectations adjusted when he came along, and even though my responsibilities multiplied, I accepted it as my new normal. Or maybe it’s that I have given up some responsibilities for new ones. My responsibilities have obviously changed, but so have my habits, commitments and priorities. For every two things I’ve added to my plate, I’ve removed one from it, so although I technically keep taking on more, at least it’s not the fire hose effect where it’s become impossible to control. I imagine this is just typical of being a parent…the garden hose effect;)
4. I can also function on much less sleep than I ever thought I could.
No need for much explanation here. I’ve mentioned before that I used to need a solid 8-9 hours every night or I couldn’t function well. Now I’m pretty excited if I get 6 solid hours, or 8 choppy ones, and I can function perfectly fine, albeit with the help of some concealer.
5. How to insert my foot in to my mouth.
“Oh I’ll never let my child ride in the awkward car shaped grocery cart at the store.” “I’ll never let him eat a Happy Meal.” “I won’t let my world revolve around him.” “My baby will not watch any TV.” “No way am I going to let him cry-it-out ever.” “Nope. No processed snacks at all.” Umm, yeah. Open mouth. Insert foot. I’ve become at pro at doing this.
6. Laughing about things is way more productive than crying about things.
I often find myself wanting to cry. I’m on the verge of tears at least once a day. During those first few
weeks months I cried pretty regularly. Parenthood is hard, hormones are crazy, and some times crying is just necessary. I eventually realized something though – laughing is much more fun and usually more therapeutic. Matt and I have learned to laugh about the crazy rollercoaster of parenting. Sure things don’t always go our way, AW some times makes us want to pull our hair out, and more often than not, we are just trying to make it through the day. The chaos is actually pretty hilarious though. I remember early on when AW was so colicky and we would just look at each other like what in the heck is going on and what do we do, we would find ourselves laughing about the whole situation. True this may have been delirious laughter…you know where you are just so exhausted that you start doing this weird, kind of creepy hahaha laugh, circa Jack Nicholson in The Shining…but it was laughter nonetheless. It helped when we could just take a stressful situation and find the humor in it all. Just try it. When you feel like crying, start laughing instead. I guarantee you will better.
7. I can’t control everything.
This kind of goes with the “open mouth insert foot” mentality. Every baby is so different, and you really don’t know what you are going to get until you get it. You may think you know exactly how everything is going to go, and exactly how your baby will be, and then you get a total 180. Many things are out of our control and we have to learn to let go, trust God, and roll with the punches. This has been hard for me to accept, but I get a little better every day.
8. What’s happening today will likely change tomorrow.
“This too shall pass.” Quite possibly the best thing you can say to yourself. Make it your mantra. Every phase is just that…a phase. This goes for the good phases and the difficult phases. Kids are finicky little creatures and are rarely the same from one day to the next. Just a few days ago AW loved waffles. This morning he threw the whole thing on the floor and about gagged when I tried to give him a bite. A week ago he was waking multiple times during the night and I didn’t think it would ever pass, but for the past few nights he’s been sleeping soundly. Friday he hated having his diaper changed, but yesterday he giggled the whole way through. No point in getting too worried about what’s going on today, because chances are it will be different tomorrow.
9. My body is flippin’ amazing.
Not because it looks amazing. Far from that anymore. But rather because it grew a human, birthed a human, nourished a human and now withstands the physical and emotional stress that comes with raising a human. I mean, c’mon! I am a mother…hear me roar.
10. It’s no longer all about me.
Every decision I make has the ability to affect Asher Wade to some degree. He’s an intricate part of our lives now and he’s affected by the choices we make, practices we follow and values we teach. It’s our responsibility to make sure he develops and grows in to a decent person, with strong morals and values, and a good heart. I know I’ll never be a perfect mom, but I want to know I did my best and that I had his best interests at heart. This means not necessarily doing what I want, or what seems easiest, but rather what’s going to benefit him the most. He’s watching me already – how I behave, what I say, how I react to things. I want him to see and know that I’ve given it my all to set an example.
11. It does change you. Mostly for the better, but to be honest, a little bit for the worse.
And you know what? That’s perfectly fine.