While its enormously apparent why life can be hard to adjust to as a first time mom sometimes it is hard to identify what exactly is so difficult because really, its just a bunch of feedings, diaper changing, with a little sleep deprivation thrown in right? Not so much, we’ve

a) kissed our careers goodbye (at least for a long time if you’re like my husband and I and want to stay at home to raise your children)

b) kissed the freedom of doing shopping & errands alone,in peace, and reletively stress-free goodbye

c) kissed our youthful bodies goodbye (just this past weekend I joined my sister-in-law in a joyful chorus of ‘do your boobs hang low’)

d) undergone or are still undergoing a tornado of hormonal changes & adjustments

e) kissed our old style of social life goodbye (toodle-loo to pub nights and hello to play dates or those “our place or yours? Do you have a place I can lay my kid down?”  nights but hey I might even get crazy and have a drink….right after I’m done nursing ..because you know, I don’t want my baby to be affected and apparently it takes about 3 hours for alcohol to work through the system and well…wait,what was that ? Oh yah, yes I am a total buzz kill….)

Enough with the kissing of things goodbye for now – the reality is that A LOT changes and adjustments do and must take place. So in addition to the fairly obvious things I had two other mini-revelations as far as being a new mother is concerned.

1. Their is more have to’s and less want to’s

Yep its true. I can’t indulge myself with 2 hours of my music in my ears searching for songs that ‘speak’ to me. I can’t go to every event I want to because I have a little lady to think of. I can’t just decide to go clothes shopping at 4:00 pm anymore or meet up with friends on the spur of the moment. No, no I cannot do those things anymore, I can’t even do that in my spare time because my spare time is dictated by my child now. If Finley is hungry, I have to feed her. If Finley has a dirty diaper, I have to change it. If Finley is having a bad day I need to help her and attend to her. Kids come first, hence the stories, blogs and legendary myths (?) of unshowered moms dropping children off at daycare/school/activities in pajamas and the unidentifiable living room floors covered in scads of toys, right? All I know is that I’ve had days when I have a hard time just getting downstairs to put a load of laundry in and even then, was doing laundry on my want-to list? Nope, it was on the have-to list. So even when my baby is being good and goes to sleep nicely and naps for a couple hours I still find my time is quickly swallowed up by a long list of have-to errands and house chores before I get to indulge myself in a want to. All moms know that days can go by before you find yourself indulging in a want-to. I think that’s why we learn to appreciate smaller things in life, like having a coffee in silence or writing a blog while your baby is napping (and crossing your fingers you  will finish it before she wakes up so you won’t have to wait for 3 days to be able to finish it and post it – i’ll let you know how that goes)

2. We are emotionally drained and emotionally starved

This one dawned on me one day when I had an especially hard day with Finley. She spent the larger part of the day crying and just being generally inconsolable while I spent the larger part of the day struggling to stay patient and not burst into tears myself. When my husband came home he took Finley from my arms and told me to go take care of myself, you now, like go take a warm bath/shower or take a nap, basically he was giving me a break. It took me a bit to understand why that wasn’t as fulfilling/relieving as I had wanted but  it hit me a couple days later – I had wanted/needed Finley to just be quiet for awhile and  I wanted my husband to come find me crying in the bedroom and wrap me up in a bear hug and listen to me vent about the day, you  know, what he would have done pre-baby. I had been pouring everything I had into Finley all day and I had been digging as deep as I could to stay patient and loving. I was emotionally drained by the time my husband came to relieve me from dealing with our daughter but then I was in desperate need for some emotional support from him and simply couldn’t get it. I realized that he couldn’t give me both, he couldn’t give me a break and also come take care of me, he just had to pick the best option at the moment. I can no longer have my cake and eat it to and neither can my husband. Kids require sacrifice and your relationship has a lot of adjusting to do.

I guess if I had to throw in one more thing it would be that we are never off the clock. We never punch out and that isn’t something that we were ever bound to before becoming a mother. Yes, its true, we do enjoy some down time but I would describe a mothers down time more like being on call. You can’t totally relax or unwind because just as you let your hair down you might get ‘the call’ and be putting it right back up (literally- those little people hands have a spidy-sense for grabbing the small hairs on the back of your neck). It’s like I told someone the other day, “If you ever want the selfish slapped right out of you, have a baby”.

It is hard being a mother, its not always easy to identify why its so hard but I’ll say one thing, it makes you read the Bible differently and it really does begin to give you a better understanding of how frustrating we can be in the sight of God. The big difference is that I’m not as patient, as loving, or as full of grace as the heavenly Father. So if I have any closing advice or remarks it is that through all the changes, evident or not so evident, look to Him for what you need, its the only way.