I am a new mom and I am tired! Boy, I thought that by 5 months things would have settled down, and by things I mean sleep! But then, I have chosen not to do “sleep training” at this point and so I embrace the joyful exhaustion and grab a cup of coffee. As much as I have learned in the last five months about caring for a baby, I’ve learned a disturbing amount about myself. Have you heard of the Johari window? Its a theory that says there is stuff about you that everyone, including you, knows about you. Then there’s stuff about you that only you know about you. But there’s also stuff about you that other people know about you that you don’t even know about you, a personal blind spot (I know, I have such an eloquent way of describing things!). My blind spot has gotten just a bit smaller through this process called parenthood…I hope!
For example, I’ve recently learned that I am, sigh, no longer blonde. Blonde-brained maybe, but not blonde-rooted. That’s what happens when you highlight your hair for 15 years and suddenly can’t get to the salon! I’ve also learned that I have a lot of anxiety about pretty much, oh everything. I’ve always considered myself fairly easy going but just realized how much stress I create for myself and others around me trying to do things the right way (pick a pediatrician), or not trying doing them at all (housework). Its a new disorder they call, “the perfectionist”. If you know me you’re probably shaking your head and thinking, “Thank God! She’s finally getting it!”.
Last night as I struggled to put my ‘roo to sleep and later as I got up to nurse her and rock her and comfort her, it occurred to me that this is what it means to “die to self” and to put others’ needs ahead of my own. That’s why I’ve been so cranky and whiney and tired (although getting up several times a night might have something to do with that!), because I have wanted to have my own personal space and my own time and to do my own thing with the freedom I used to have. In other words, I have discovered how selfish and self centered I am. To be sure, personal independence is not necessarily a bad thing, especially in our north American culture. But its not what this season of my life will look like as I start to raise my children.
And so I join a thousand generations of mothers who have gone before me building and birthing their babies, nursing and answering a hundred midnight calls, lovingly discipling and fiercely loving, crying and laughing, staying up late worrying, and learning how to simultaneously hold on and let go. I am grateful that I am not the first and will not be the last.
And so I grab my cup of coffee (ahem, let’s be honest, its a Coca-Cola), put Roo in her sling, and carry on.