Less than 6 months into motherhood and I already feel what other moms says as, one of the most beautiful feeling as a woman. For me, there is something so inexplicable in having a baby who longs to be with me all the time, depends me so much for their life (milk specifically 🙂 ), distinctly recognizes my face then smiles, finds comfort in having me around, and likes me more than her father (haha!). I don’t know about other moms, but this has, so far, gotten me fall in love at motherhood.
Being a new and stay-at-home mom feels to me like I’m in a new corporate role and the first three months is my learning curve, so much learning to do and getting used to. Each day seem to happen too fast that as soon as you go into labor, you finally take the full mother hat on and hit the ground running. Rest is oftenly missed. So far, this new job title that I have called ‘Motherhood’, though undeniably rewarding, has gotten me stretched in just four months into the role.
Please do not get me wrong here – I love being a mom to my little girl. In fact, I wouldn’t want to miss a moment seeing her accomplish her ‘firsts’ with delight on her face. At times I think of going back to my corporate career but entrusting her to other people (other than my husband) to care for her just don’t sit well with me, for now at least. I’m happy to have the opportunity to be a full-time mom. <3
So yes, I have been officially a hands-on mom to Oona for 4 months now. Hoooray! The longest that I have stayed home in my whole life. But I tell you, no time is ever boring and without work when you have a newborn at home. Everyday is just full of action in our house – from poopy explosions, to newborn outrage and cries, to playtimes, and a lot more – a full day with a baby can go by very quickly.
What did I learn in so far as my three months of full-time motherhood? A LOT! And I’m sharing those personal nuggets of learning here in my blog post. If you happen to have additional mommy need-t0-learn items that you think would be of great help to me, please please go ahead and comment. I need all the mommy learning I could get.
1. Motherhood is a 24/7 role and it does not come with breaks – heard of this countless times but only knew what it is really like when I became a mother.
2. It takes a village to raise a child – I realized early on that I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed help from my husband, my mom, and a helper especially when I give Oona a bath.
3. Sleep is precious – I wish I had listened to my friends when they told me to get plenty of sleep before giving birth. Honestly, I haven’t had a sleep lasting more than 2 hours since I gave birth. But no complaints, I love feeding Oona. 🙂
4. A hands-on mom doesn’t mean an overly obsessed mom – as how our Pediatrician would put it, “I can see even the tiniest speck in my baby’s body,” hence my frequent SMS consultations. But I realized I couldn’t be too obsessed about every single thing about Oona. I can’t obsess about numbers in terms of weight, height, head circumference, not about every single change in her body, every milestones, and all others. Since motherhood is something I’d be doing my entire lifetime, I have to keep it manageable and relaxed. And besides, I do not want my daughter to feel that I am too uptight and all by the book as a mother.
5. Motherhood is not a one-size-fits-all thing – what works for others may not work for me and what may have worked for me may not be the case for other moms. I realized it just does not work like that. Yes, mothers can exchange notes for all they want but in the end, I am my own kind of mom. The same applies for motherhood books/articles, I believe – it may work and it may not.
6. Being a mom makes you strong in many ways you have never imagined – specifically in scenarios where – you need to watch a needle being pricked on your baby for vaccine, hold a baby in your arms while sleeping because she wouldn’t just sleep in any other position (this has been definitely a challenge for me), wake up in odd hours only to cut short your sleep and sooth a wailing baby, keep up with the household chores while running on just a few hours or no sleep at all, endure the pains of breastfeeding, tolerate the pains of post-partum body just as if nothing happened, and the list goes on. All because we’re mothers, and we’re made to be strong for our children and family.
7. It makes you do things you never did before – getting exploded on countless times of the day and still change nappies patiently, making up your own lullaby just to soothe the baby, sleeping with one breast out (for hourly breastfeeding), sleeping on cramped space because such a tiny baby has conquered a huge part of your bed, not being able to take a bath for an entire day because baby is soooo clingy, or taking a bath for a quick 10 seconds before baby belts out a loud cry again, while on the flip side, I have never adored such a tiny creature and watch her for long hours just because my heart is full of love for her, I have never researched that much to look up on ways and means to be a better mom for her, and never imagined I can stay home and be a full-time mom for her. Being a stay-at-home mom used to freak me out before but having Oona entirely changed my game.
8. Motherhood is instinctive – prior to giving birth, I have read so much on parenting such as bathing, cradling, soothing, feeding, and a lot more. But none of those best described the actual thing – it’s just different in real life . I say motherhood is instinctive because as a first-time mom, I knew my way around Oona by just being with her. More than the concepts, knowing my daughter as a baby helped me be the mom that she needs me to be. With me knowing my baby well, I could give bathe her the way she prefers, I could cradle her in positions that she likes best, I could feed her following her hunger cues, I could play with her in means that highly stimulates her, and a lot more. Books and references are definitely a great help but if you’re a new mom, you don’t need to fret about motherhood and its intricacies. Trust that a woman like you can be a mom to a baby, it’ll sure come as the situation calls for it. Ask for God’s wisdom too in this new season in your life as this will sure be your greatest arm as a first time mom.
9. No comparing, Mama! Never. Many times, as a new mom, I fell into the trap of comparing Oona with other babies. Why did she weigh lighter than other babies? Is she at par with other babies in terms of milestones? Did it help me? Absolutely not! I knew as a mom that comparing wouldn’t really do me any good. Either it would make me appreciate Oona less or belittle other babies. At one point, I had to make an effort to stop (this is honestly and seriously challenging) this whole comparing thing because it steals me the joy of motherhood. On the flip side, I also feel that I have to respect other parents by avoiding comparisons especially when it’s just so tempting to do it just to brag or affirm my parenting style. Mothering is a challenge of its own so I have to give it to mothers who selflessly devote their life to their children. This kind of effort does not deserve nonsensical comparisons from me.
10. Love is spelled as T-I-M-E I am blessed to be given the privilege to be a full-time mom to Oona. I say privileged because I understand how the need to go back to work is pressing for most families right now. I say blessed because my husband, Otap, ensures that he provides financially (by God’s grace) for our family while I have to put my work on the side. I’m basically with Oona 24/7 and knowing that I have all the time in the world to watch, care for her, and attend to her needs, allows me to give her the kind of security she requires at this time. I love how I am able to personally attend to her. Nothing against mothers who work – it is certainly a much greater challenge. I don’t know if we can sustain this kind of set up – I’m not sure how circumstances would present itself in the future, but for now, I want to cherish each time I spend with my daughter and be the mother that she needs me to be.
11. Motherhood is purely by God’s grace – I just could not emphasize any better how God has been my greatest help in this motherhood thing. As a new mom – you can expect me to suck at it most of the time, and I tell you I’ve already had quite a number of boo boos to date, but only by God’s sustaining grace that I am able to get pass each day confidently and and affirmed that I’m doing just the right thing. Each night I go to bed, I thank God for letting me go through another day as a mom and a wife. Every completed day is like a huge milestone for me – that I am able to be an okay mom for another day. I say ‘okay’ because I have yet to learn a ton about being a mom and gain expertise for it. Motherhood seem less daunting and stressful knowing that I can turn to God for wisdom. James 1:5 affirms that if anyone of us lacks wisdom, we can directly ask God for it and He will give willingly. This new season in my life allowed me to come to God in humility to help me handle varying mom concerns, both minor and challenging, like bathing, vaccines, developmental milestones, breastfeeding, major child-impacting decisions, and trust Him for His sovereignty in everything. With only 4 months into motherhood, I know I have more to deal with as Oona grows. I can choose to obsess about my future mom life, but I want to make an effort to put my trust in God alone – that He alone can help me become the mother that Oona needs, one grace-filled day at a time.
I have always agreed with various speakers when they say that Motherhood is the best job there is to do for a woman. No further questions and validations needed for me – it really is so far the best role I have taken. The challenges it brings do not equate the heart-warming joy it brings to our family, more so to me. So if friends would ask how it has been with me for the past 4 months, I say with all honesty that it’s a complete challenge for me but with all might I counter with “it’s all worth it, trust me.”
Please pray with me and for me as I journey into motherhood – that I will continue to seek God in all that I do, say and think. I pray that I will be able to give God the highest praise and glory as I go through this new season in my life.
Need prayers, mama? Feel free to comment and let me pray with you. <3