August 3, 2011

Expectations

Soon after the birth of our first baby, a neighbor asked me if I thought motherhood was easier or harder than what I expected. 

I thought about it for a minute. I thought to myself in that brief moment. How DID I envision motherhood? Was what I was doing easier? Harder? 

I responded that for the most part, motherhood wasn’t easier or harder, but it was just as I expected it to be.

I told her that of course the first couple of weeks were difficult getting very little sleep and learning to feed a new baby, but other than that everything was as I expected. 

It’s not ‘hard’ for me to be a mother, I love it in every possible way.

But lots of new moms I think say that caring for a newborn was harder than what they thought it would be like, but for me I don’t feel that way. I think that it is this way for me because I spent so many years just thinking over and over again about being a mother and caring for a newborn that I was mentally prepared to do so when my turn came. 

When I think of motherhood, images come to my mind of children laughing, rocking a newborn to sleep in the middle of the night, wiping peanut butter and jelly off a toddler's face, placing a band aid on a fresh scrape. 

Most of those things are still to come for my own motherhood story, but in that moment I was looking at the long term expectations I had as a mother. Those are the things mothers do. We comfort our children. We play with them. We teach them. We cry with them and laugh with them.

Of course there are hard things mothers do. We do them everyday. But honestly, did we not expect that? All mothers expect to change diapers, clean messy faces, deal with tantrums, put away toys, get glasses of water in the middle of the night, cook meal after meal after meal. That is an expectation of motherhood. 

Too often we focus on the difficult parts of motherhood. I don't want to call them negatives because I do not see them as such. Every experience helps us grow, to learn. 

I choose to focus on the positives. I choose to expect great things from motherhood. Before I became a mother, I would dream of those exciting moments as a mother when you got to change your baby's first 'blowout'. And it made me kind of excited! 

I wanted to become a mother so badly, it hurt my heart to think I may never have that chance to change a 'blowout'. 

So yes, I expected to do all those things that may seem mundane or unpleasant. But I enjoy every diaper change, every messy face, every spoon thrown on the floor, every cry in the night, every scratch on my face from those tiny little fingers, every hair pull, every wardrobe change.

Because that's what I expected.

What did you expect? Were your expectations different once you became a mother?

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