Mom, as my toddler prefers to call me sometimes, is an absolute music to my soul. But let’s face it, the title and experience bears more weight than just the sound of it.
Every new day comes with a new challenge. On a very good day, it’s the most fulfilling, divinely accomplishments filled with adorable giggles, hugs and kisses. On the best of days, in one word, underappreciated.
I personally can’t remember being this challenged by something so evolutionary. I am not the same person I used to be, and I know I would not be the same person for a long time to come. Scratch that, FOREVER actually.
From as far back as the time of conception through the pregnancy of our boy Judah, then transitioning into the birth phase, and the postpartum experience, which can make up a book on its own. It’s been a roller coaster (not in the context of a picnic) of emotions.
I have laughed and cried, being confused, angry, felt inadequate, acted like a complete idiot (which I think becoming a mom naturally earns you the right to be).
I have watched my boy go from the miracle of cuddling up by himself immobile, to trying to sit up, crawling, walking and now trying to talk. The past two years have been a different kind of hard work but not without its joys and blessings. And it has opened my eyes to so many things that would have seem so ordinary without the hands on experience.
What I’ve learnt being a mom…
The uniqueness of my child.
Every single human is unique, so of course children are no different. But there is something so special about my boy who words really cannot describe. He’s not even in any way the same with his closest cousin. I mean he already has a cousin he’s most excited about when he hears her name. Beautifully, his cousin feels just the same way about him. But back to the point, there is no comparison between these two. Similarities maybe, but even the similarities are unique to each child.
Becoming everyone’s mom.
Well, not quite. But your name changes from your name to “mommy”, which for your child is perfect and beautiful. But then so does your friends, colleague, family think they can rename you to mommy somebody. Well, at least in Nigeria this is the case. Meanwhile in my head I’m begging you, please don’t call me mommy, I didn’t give birth to you! Again, please don’t call me mommy, I have a name.
Everyone expects you to be fat.
Early in the year, I wrote a post called A New Angle To Body Shaming, where I talked about the guts of people directly speaking of postpartum weight to your face, even though you’ve just clearly gone through nine months of a body altering experience and they should know better but do not, or just act like they don’t because they would prefer to throw a jab. So, speaking from experience, even when you’re not fat, people seems to hope that you are or will be. And will probably look for a part of your body that is disproportionate that they could focus on.
In addition, the prediction or rather the popular notion that fitting into pre pregnancy clothes would be impossible, is a big fat lie. It might take a while, it varies for everyone; but I have learnt that it is not true. As are most of the other pregnancy/parenting predictions.
Lacking really good sleep.
It’s not all that bad, because things actually change. The infamous sleepless nights do get better, and then bad again with some type of sleep regression, which we are currently experiencing. As a mom of a new-born, I got told by everyone, I mean everyone to go to sleep as soon as my baby goes to sleep. I don’t know how that works, cos for me I had things to do (I didn’t have a househelp, as is common in most African homes). Before I finish my chores sometimes, the little king is awake.
I recall our breastfeeding days, while I’m still doing chores and dripping in the salty liquid that soaks all clothes and coverings, you know the one popularly known as SWEAT, yeah that one, I’ll hear that familiar sound of a tiny human who feels helpless and abandoned go up in the air. And I”ll have to rush through a 2nd or 3rd bath before it’s lunch time just so I’d be fresh during breastfeeding.
Like I said initially it’s not all that bad…
The good news is that I got to sleep a lot despite everything, funny I should say so. Because, honestly may be it was the tiredness, but those early months I realized that I had developed the ability to fall asleep as soon as my head touches down. For short periods though, that lasted for around thirty minutes to one hour; the sweetest most beautiful kind of sleep. And my only care would be my baby, so I’d get baby dreams. At the same time it was like slow torture, because the sleep is so sweet but at really short intervals disrupted only by the baby’s sound AKA baby alarm.
Now at age two, we still have some sleep issues. The boy would rather stay up late and just play. God help you if you tried sleeping and leaving him by himself, he’s gonna “mom” you back to reality.
I got clarity on how role modelling actually starts.
As our baby is growing he’s picking up things from us, so much that I now have to think twice about doing certain things in his presence. He imitates almost everything we do, if not everything. Even a sneeze, a snap of the finger, a yawn, almost every gesture; the things we say too. And this just validates the fact that a school environment is just a secondary form of learning (charity indeed begins at home).
An enormous amount of patience or the lack of it.
This is mostly the case when they start growing from tiny adorable humans to bossy opinionated toddlers. The confusion on what to do sometimes when Judah starts crying for something or for feeling offended, and I’m trying to explain but to no avail is always so unbelievable. To spank him or not; or to lock myself away from the screams, preferably in the pantry, or to run out of the house? Or crawl up in a hole, because surely I have to be the world’s worst mom for letting THE. ADORABLE. ONE. cry so much.
I get so tired sometimes that all I want to do is yell my lungs out at him, but will he actually understand me? Of course not. He’s only two, plus I always remember the articles I have read about the effects of yelling at kids. Here’s a link to one of such; yelling at kids: long term effects.
The bottom line is that, raising children requires a very huge proportions of evergreen patience.
Baby number 2.
Okay, so the pressure to have baby number starts as soon as you snap back or to sound less cheeky, as soon as your little one turns 9 months. Advises begin to ring in your ear lobes like, just have another one and be done with it. The younger you are when you have them, the better. Your first needs someone to play with, and so on and so on. I can’t say they are not right but can we just let the mom and dad make the decision on their own without any unnecessary external pressures?
Raising a child is a lot of work, but as much as it requires – spiritually, emotionally, financially, and morally, we find that we really don’t mind every single experience that comes with the fulltime job of parenthood. Mostly because the joy they bring to us outweighs everything else.
I would really love to hear about the experience of other moms and dads who’ve been there and lived to tell the tale. I’m certain I would learn a thing or two or just have a good laugh; as these little ones never seize to amaze us.