I’ve said before that I have always wanted to be a mom. That was always part of my master plan, and I am so grateful that it worked out for me. But there’s something that I don’t think moms talk about enough.
The first year of life is pretty darn one-sided.
From the moment you bring that baby home, you spend every spare ounce of energy caring for them, making sure they’re fed and clothed and comfortable, and that every possible need is met. And in exchange, you get to lay on the couch with a sleeping baby on you and that seems like a pretty fair trade…at first.
Then, at some point, they stop wanting to nap on you and that arrangement ends, but you still have to keep your side of the bargain. Seems a little unfair, if you ask me. You still have to cater to their every need, only now they won’t snuggle and they don’t seem very aware of your efforts.
Thinking about it logically, if any other person approached you and said, ‘I have a deal for you. You do everything I ask, when I ask for it, no matter what, and I don’t do anything in return.’ Nobody would ever take that deal. It’s crazy! But for our kids we do it, and we take those first little smiles and giggles as repayment for all that we do for them.
Now that my daughter is a little older, I can look back at that first year, remembering mostly the good parts, like the exciting milestones I got to watch unfold. But while I was in the thick of it, there was a whole lot of feeling like I’m not getting much return on my effort. That’s not to say I regret becoming a mom, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat, but those first months were hard. Real hard.
Her needs categorically came first, before my meals, before my showers, or even my bathroom breaks, and that felt just the tiniest bit unsustainable. I know she’s a baby and all, but still. That whole year, she never once actually said the words, ‘thank you’ – kind of rude… Luckily, things didn’t stay this way forever.
I mean, I still haven’t gone to the bathroom by myself in 2 years, but at least I can now eat a meal while she eats hers too, well…sometimes.
After her first birthday, and as she moved into the teen months, things started to feel more like a two way relationship. She learned about giving hugs and kisses and clearly began to show signs of caring for my husband and me. In case any new moms reading this are wondering if it gets better, it gets so much better.