1.11.2011

Lessons from the First Year

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children


This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


***


I could say my son has taught me to be patient or to be truly grateful or to live in the moment and all those things would be true. But in reality he hasn’t taught me two or three specific things, he taught me a whole new way to live. My son was born in January so 2010 – all of 2010 – has truly been the most pivotal, life-changing year of my own 28 years on earth.



Before having my baby I lived a life of least resistance. I took the easy route for most things. There was a lot of laziness in my pre-baby life. I mean, I finished college, got a job, paid the bills, all of those traditional adult things – but I’m not a great homemaker, not very organized and no one would ever describe me as a real go-getter. I just kind of coasted. My very boring life stayed in auto-pilot.


When my son came along the responsibility of protecting, raising and teaching a brand new little person crashed down on me like a tidal wave. His very existence has made me conscious of every decision I make. Everything I do now relates back to my motherhood -- the books I read, the causes I support, the way I spend my money, all of it. Everything affects him. Everything is important. 


It sounds really na├»ve, but I had no idea parenthood would change me as much as it has. I expected to be the exact same person I’ve always been – just with a baby. But being a mom has made me so much more than I was; so much better. I’m a better daughter because now I’m beginning to understand what my mother went through with me. I’m a better wife because I want my son to grow up in a happy, healthy family. And because once you’ve been through the drama of pregnancy, birth and infancy with your partner you come out with a bond that’s stronger than ever. I’m a better housekeeper because my little guy crawls on the floor I clean, wears the clothes I wash and breaths the air in the house I am responsible for maintaining. I’m a better citizen because the decisions and policies of today will affect what kind of world my son will inherit. 

This first year of mommyhood hasn’t been all thoughtful introspection, kumbaya and positivity. It’s been full of trial and error, ups and downs, but mostly just hard work. Sure, there are times when I long for my old life of lazy Saturdays filled with sleeping in, take-out food and Project Runway marathons, but those kinds of days do nothing to teach my son or advance my family. It's hard to be "on" all the time. It's hard to feel like you always have to be at the top of your game. But kiddo deserves it.

I know there’s no way to really put into words what it feels like to become a parent – all the joy, pain, love and fear. When my childless friends ask what it’s like, if it’s hard, if it’s changed my life I tell them this – being a parent isn’t a good thing or a bad thing, it’s the only thing.

***
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

12 comments:

  1. Greetings from Malaysia! Hopping over from the Carnival!

    I love your statement on 'being a parent isn’t a good thing or a bad thing, it’s the only thing.' Yes, totally agree that being a parent changes everything, your perspective towards life and all!

    Cheers!

    ~ Jenny @ http://www.imafulltimemummy.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. great post - thank you! I too thought I'd be the same person, just with a baby on board for the journey - WRONG! I loved this line "His very existence has made me conscious of every decision I make." That is SO true; it's no longer about 'me', it's all about 'us'. THanks for sharing a lovely post :)

    Mrs Green @littlegreenblog.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. It really is all-encompassing. I'm astonished how much parenting has changed who I am and what I find important. It's definitely something my pre-child self would have found hard to understand, and that I would find hard to explain to her. And, yet, it makes perfect sense to me from this side.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You and me both! I have changed so much since having a child. Last night I was eating a candy bar - which I do about 2 times a year now (or however often I make it to the movie theater - ha!) - and thinking to myself, "wow, I used to eat candy all the time. And drink soda. And use all kinds of harsh chemicals on my body and house. And, and, and, and..." It's amazing how different we can be once we stop being so self-centered!

    Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

    ReplyDelete
  5. I remember well that first year of parenting. Bliss in so many life-changing ways.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love your last line, but your whole post is spot on. It's like the "me" before kids and the "me" after kids are two different people. Your whole perspective shifts when children enter the picture.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Following from MBC. Nice Blog :)

    http://seriousmrse.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I loved reading this post. It's beautiful how a baby can change our lives in positive ways. Continued blessings for the journey.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love this! Even though I swore it wouldn't, becoming a parent really changed me and my life in big ways. I also do think I am making (gradual, in my case, not dramatic) progress towards a better me because of it, too!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yes! It is amazing how radically they motivate us to grow. <3

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't think it is so naive. It is impossible to understand just how much parenthood changes you... until it has.

    I have read (in several places, I think) that parenthood is like taking your heart out of your body and letting it run free in the world. Your fears for its safety and well-being are at so much more risk, but the rewards are also indescribable! I love that description.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am in complete agreement that parenting establishes a new way to live for many - and what a blessing that is! :) Thank you for doing your best to put into words the indescribable. Kids are calling us forward!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting!