My ten-year-old cousin asked me today what the hardest part about being a mom is. I have to admit, those higher-order questions make my palms sweat a little. I think it’s because it’s my goal to deliver the most idealistic, Miss-America-Pageant answer; but in the heat of the moment, I usually struggle to come up with anything definitive or succinct.
I was first stumped by one of these blanket questions when a close relative of mine asked me, “How is it being a mom?”, when my baby was all of three weeks old. At that point in motherhood I felt as though I had really just taken on the role of a sleep-deprived, on-call milk maker for my baby. She had her days and nights mixed up; she would sleep all day and need to be held all night. And because we were told that using a bottle would lead to “nipple confusion”, we were abstaining from utilizing this ingenious invention. Therefore when duty called, I was the only one who could answer. I was a first-time mom and had no idea what to expect; I also didn’t know when I could expect to sleep again. But I felt uncomfortable replying with such candor, so instead I gave him the blanket answer: “It’s awesome!” (It is awesome.)
After some reflection, and some sleep, I would have to say that being a mom is surreal- and I’m not sure if that feeling ever changes. Every day I make time to just look at my baby and soak it all in. I look at her in awe, and can’t believe that my husband and I created something so wonderfully perfect. From ultrasounds to six-months-old, I love her more with each passing day. She has changed every microscopic part of my life, and not one part of me yearns to go back to the way things were before she entered the world.
With that being said, what do I think is the hardest part? I would say it’s a tie between always trying to make her happy, and having to be one-hundred percent selfless all day, every day. I’m new to this, so it still breaks my heart every time she cries. Even if she is fed, changed, and devoid of discomfort, my mommy gene still kicks in and I want to make it better- whatever it is.
I know at some point my baby is going to have to adjust to not getting her way. But for now it is my sole responsibility to take care of her, and to me that includes keeping her happy. So if she is grumpy about me doing my midday workout, then I will pick her up and finish my squats with her in my arms. If she is upset about me putting her down to take a shower, I will cut the routine short by getting out before I’ve entirely scrubbed away the sweaty residue from aforementioned workout. And if she has a meltdown in the car while I’m in the drive-thru at Starbucks…well she’s just going to have to deal with that one. Mamma needs a treat every once in a while. Okay, so maybe I’m only 99% selfless.