Messy Mama

These days I'm in a constant state of growth and I'm realizing that as a mother, I'll never stop growing. I look back at my first months as a mom when Isaiah was so small, so quiet, and had no hair. I was lost - I had no idea what I was doing. I was just loving my child the best I could and somehow I started to figure things out. Being a mother has caused not only my heart to grow enormously and in directions I didn't know possible, but it has tested my patience and strength and allowed those two qualities to grow within me immensely. I even look back at just a few months ago when Maci was first born and know I am already a completely different mother than I was 6 months ago. I'm stronger, more patient, happier, and even more blessed. And I know I'll look at this weeks, months, and years from now and think, "Wow. I have learned so much since then." I know I won't be the same person not just because life knocks you around and teaches you lessons but because motherhood helps you embrace compassion, sympathy, patience, and creativity. I knew the day I found out I was going to be a mom it was going to change me. I just had no idea how much.

And now I have advice for other new moms and new moms to be (and a few reminders for myself). It might be a little obnoxious or even mundane but there are times I wish people would have said it to me (or perhaps they did and I didn't listen!). So here it goes...

If you are pregnant with your first child, embrace it. Everything about it. Even if you hate it. Rest, sleep, look at the baby clothes in the new dresser...again. Enjoy all the quiet - all the moments you can have full conversations with your husband and speak in complete sentences without interruption. Talk about being pregnant without fear of being annoying. This is your FIRST pregnancy and you can soak up everything about it without distractions. Go out to dinner as much as your budget allows and fulfill your cravings every chance you get.

After your first child is born, enjoy the easiness of it. I know it doesn't seem easy...maybe easy isn't the right word. Enjoy the "not busyness" of it. Babies don't need much - they need clean clothes and diapers, to eat, to burp, and to sleep. As he/she gets older finding things to entertain your child grow increasingly challenging so enjoy the moments you can just sit, rest, and watch TV (that isn't Disney Junior or Sprout).

As your first born turns into a toddler, join in on the fun. If burying your child’s feet and your feet in the sand box and becoming the sand monster when they emerge is all that’s going to entertain them, do it and don’t worry about your pedicure. (Wait. You have time for a pedicure?) If your little buddy isn’t feeling good and has a moment of pure sweetness and nuzzles into you and says, “Love you, mama!” as he smears a glob of snot in your hair, don’t say it’s gross or even react in that way. Just say, “I love you too.” Don’t expect to be clean or well-kept because that’s a battle you won’t win. But you will be needed and well-loved.

If you are pregnant with a second baby, enjoy every moment with your first baby. When baby number two comes, you won’t be able to picture life without them but you might miss all the one-on-one time you had with your first. Be sure to give them one-on-one time every day after their younger sibling arrives but don’t forget to give baby number two alone time as well…they need it too.

And always, always, always remember how small they are. Remember how much they have to learn. Remember how much you get to teach them. Remember how much they truly need you. Remember how much they love you just because you’re you.  Remember to take deep breaths before reacting to stress. Remember there really is no use crying or fussing over spilled milk. Or strawberry jelly. Or paint. Or your bronzer on the carpet. Because they are only little for a short time. So let them measure the flour, play in the mud, and yell as loud as they can.

Dive in. Get messy. Love hard. Play wild. This is motherhood. We have been blessed to be called “mom.”

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