I read this a little while back...and it is still with me. These are Linda Wyatt's words. Just beautiful....
Before I had my first child, I had nearly zero experience with very
young children. I read a lot of books, but really had no idea what
life would be like, or how much time and energy a child would take.
I also did not know what it would feel like to be a mother.
When you pictured motherhood, what did you see? Is that what you see
I in no way imagined the chaos that young children can bring. I
absolutely did not expect it to be so all-consuming. I remember
telling people that I couldn't even go to the toilet without first
having to consider the needs of someone else!
Did you anticipate being exhausted?
I firmly believed I needed at least 9 hours of sleep per night. Ha!!
I don't think I have slept 9 hours in a row since having children,
and my oldest will soon turn 24.
In general, do you adapt to change easily and quickly, or is it a
challenge for you?
When I was pregnant, everyone I worked with told me that my life
would change, that things would never be the same, that I would never
have any time for myself, that I would be exhausted all the time, and
that parenting would be very difficult.
NOT ONE person told me it would be fun, and exciting, and
interesting, that it would be ME who changed, that I would not want
things to stay the same, and that much of the exhaustion would come
because there was so much to do, so much fun to have, and so much to
I was woefully unprepared to be a mother. I had almost no experience
with young children, and certainly not with babies. I had to call for
help to change that first diaper.
I was stunned by how all-encompassing it was to care for such a small
At the same time, I very much wanted to be the best mother I could be.
I grew up primarily without a mother. I had one, but only lived in
the same house from the age of 7 to the age of 12.
I never had a mother/daughter relationship with her, not really. We
had a relationship, later, and it wasn't a bad one, but it wasn't the
same as it would have been had she actually mothered me.
Because of that, it was very, very important to me to BE THERE for my
To actively be a mother.
To be someone they could rely on, relate to, be comforted by, etc.
It was very challenging at first, especially because my oldest child
did not sleep anywhere near as much as I had been led to believe that
It was very challenging because I was trying so hard to do things
"right," according to various books I had read. I didn't have friends
with babies I could ask for advice. The internet didn't exist yet.
The first, most important thing that happened is my child forced me
to look at HIM, and do things that worked with HIM, rather than what
the book or well meaning grandparents said. Once I was able to let
go of trying to meet anyone's expectations, things got a lot easier.
Co-sleeping was a very important part of that for us.
Going to sleep, and waking up, with a happy baby made a world of
I read to him all the time. Played with toys. Made messes. Learned
to see the world anew, from a child's eyes.
I quit my job after going back to work for about three hours.
Decided that that I wanted to do, to be, for then, was to be a Mom.
I let go of most of my previous "hobbies" as I started new ones.
I learned to do all sorts of things. Sewed baby clothes. Learned
about nutrition. Became a La Leche League Leader. Sold baby slings
and taught people how to use them. Started a food co-op.
Played with blocks. Puppets. Mud. Legos, later on.
Played pretend. Made up stories.
Went for walks. Played in puddles. Fed the birds. Built snowmen. Sang
As my first child grew older, and the others were born, I spent my
time with them. I reveled in the child-world, being able to play and
explore things as I had not done since I was a child. I focused on
providing for them, and through that, for myself.
We cleaned together. Cooked together. Shopped together. Played
together. All of it intermingled as we made our way through the world.
As they grew still older, there became more space for me to expand my
interests. New things I wanted to learn.
Time when I could focus on things they were not particularly
I found interests I had never dreamed of before having children.
And I found a way to do some things I had wanted to do since I was a
child, but never had the opportunity for before.
I've never gone back to the way things were before children, but an
interesting things has happened in the past few years.
I find that I am once again taking up some of my old interests. My
old hobbies. They have been dormant for a while, but some have
remained, and here we are, years later, and what do you know? I've
found them again.
Only now, I get to do those things WITH my kids, not trying to find
time to get away from them. My children have grown INTO some of the
interests that have been on hold, so now that I can redirect myself
to some of them again, it is something we share.
My point is that people, like everything else on earth, have seasons.
There is so much in this world that we can't possibly do all of it
all the time. Things, interests, will come and go.
Enjoy this time of focusing on your child, of being in that world.
Find THOSE interests, and run with them. Be the best Mom you can be,
and feel the rewards from that throughout the rest of your life.
You may go back to your previous hobbies later on, or you may not.
You may find things you love even more.
Your child is still young and still needs a lot of your time and
attention. It will not always be so.
The one thing that helped me more than anything else was something so
simple that people often miss it, I think.
There is huge cultural pressure to do things "for yourself," to find
time "for yourself."
Nearly everyone tells you that.
But just as no one told me how much fun being a mother would be, no
one told me that what I do for my children IS FOR MYSELF, as much as
anything previously ever was. Providing for and loving my children
has made me stronger, made me more compassionate, made me more
giving, more loving, more considerate, more trustworthy. Made me a
better person. Made me who I am today.
I still don't get much sleep.
But I am VERY good at waking up quickly, and getting back to sleep
quickly, when I get the chance. :-)