Well, first off, let’s be real here. I’m only 9-months into this whole motherhood thing, so these may be lessons I’ll unlearn and relearn a few times. That being said, a few noteworthy insights from my first foray into mommy land.
You do not need to rearrange your priorities. Your priorities rearrange you.
I worked as intensely as I always did until my water broke. Twelve hours later, my son was born. Nothing else was important anymore. And the organization survived until I came back.
The intensity and feeling of being overwhelmed comes and goes, with the emphasis here that it does go away.
The first time I left the house without my son – to walk the dog – I felt naked and that something was dreadfully wrong. I felt the same way when I got a haircut, left to go to work for the first time, and stayed out past his bedtime. Now those things feel normal. But when my routine changes – and I have a first overnight work trip coming up – those feelings come back. I try to breathe and remind myself that managing separation and independence is a huge part of being a parent.
Every single thing changes.
It was like I woke up and I was suddenly left-handed. I had to figure out how to do everything all over again. How do I go to the bathroom with a baby? How do I go to the grocery store? Eat a meal? Wash the dishes? It was like being a baby myself.
The more you have to juggle, the better you get at balance.
I sucked at balance before I got pregnant, and that it probably the understatement of the century. I just worked all the time and said yes to everything that came my way professionally. I traveled almost every week. I checked my email first thing in the morning and right up until I fell asleep. I thought about work all the time. I knew balance mattered, but I couldn’t seem to pull it off. Now I am much more deliberate about what I take on at work and still make sure that I put my son to bed at night, spend time with friends, and go out on dates with my husband. It feels like there is more space in my life.
Embrace the natural anxiety disorder of being a mom.
Yes, I called the pediatrician because my son had diaper rash and because his belly button smelled funny. I’m petrified of him choking on finger foods and getting a head injury as he learns to walk. I try to remind myself that most kids walk into to kindergarten and are able to eat the sandwich you pack them for lunch. There is no shame in anxiety, and there are lots of creative ways to manage it. I’m planning on taking some finger foods to our next appointment with the pediatrician so I can watch him eat with medical supervision!
My tolerance for b—s— has gone down.
Not because I don’t care but because I literally do not have the time. I’m usually about 5 hours into my day by the time I get to work, and there is a lot to do before I go home, so I’m just not interested in fire drills or drama. And when they do inevitably happen, they don’t stress me out. In fact, I tend to just find it all rather amusing – a new source of entertainment as my time to watch shows and read magazines is virtually zero.
I found my voice.
That’s the coolest thing. Maybe it’s the complete vulnerability and miracle of bringing a child into the world. Maybe it’s just that I’m now in my mid-thirties and that’s what happens. But I’m realizing that my voice matters and I have things to say. So I’m saying them.
Stay tuned for the lessons of the next 9 months!