Are you the Mom (or Dad, if there are any guys reading this blog) you thought you would be?
Not yet, at least.
The mom I thought I would be had it all together. I would know my daughter and be able to meet her every need. I would hear her cry and know exactly what was wrong and how I could fix it. The mom I thought I would be was no nonsense. No pacifiers, no white noise, no other "crutches" to lean on. I would take my daughter on walks, to the park and on errands effortlessly and efficiently. The mom I thought I would be was going to make her daughter a part of the family, not the center of it. I wouldn't bend to every demand and give in to every request. I was an advocate for date nights and vacations for just my husband and I, stressing the importance of leaving your child in the care of others (others you trusted, of course) early on so they get used to it. I knew this parenting thing was going to be hard, but "I got this" I thought.
And then I had a baby.
And reality smacked me upside the head.
Most days you can find me at home, a slave to an always work-in-progress nap schedule. Walks? Park outings? Errands?! Good luck. I still can't tell the difference between most of Kaitlin's cries. Instead I rely on how long its been between feedings, time since her last nap and that ever present blue line on her diaper to guide me as to what her cry might mean. And if none of those things are the reason behind the screaming I'm usually at a loss. I held on to my "no pacifier" rule for two weeks, until her second check up at the pediatrician. After hearing her scream for the whole appointment the doctor put her hand on my should, looked me in the eye and said, "Use the pacifier. You'll all be a lot happier." And we were. And now I can't stop using it. White noise? I've got the volume turned up and know just when to dash upstairs to press the sound button on the Sleep Sheep before it turns off (god forbid it turn off after only one 40 minute cycle. It's too soon - TOO SOON!)
I have yet to run the vacuum or drier all night long, so that's a win.
My husband and I have only been on dates when our families were in town. Finding a babysitter is on my "to-do" list but I keep putting it off. And the idea of taking a vacation by ourselves?? Without the baby?? The idea grips me with fear and yet is something that I yearn for. The reality is I don't know how to trust anyone with my baby. My baby girl. How am I supposed to find someone - a stranger - whom I trust enough to leave my baby girl, my whole world, with for a few hours (let alone a whole weekend). The biggest downside to living far away from our family and friends, no instant babysitters. I'm sure one day we will have the grandparents watch her for a weekend, maybe even a whole week, but the thought of it stresses me out. Will they know what to do when she cries? Will they keep her bedtime routine? Will she scream bloody murder the whole time that we are gone? I seem to have forgotten that they raised five kids between the four of them...I think they got this.
What I forgot to take into account when I was dreaming up this cool, calm, collected life I was going to have with a baby, was that my baby was going to have a personality all her own. She was going to have her own agenda, and for now, that takes priority. I didn't think she would be strong willed and stubborn. I didn't know that sleep (or lack thereof) would consume my life. I didn't know that it would take time, lots of time, for our two personalities to gel together. I didn't know that I was going to be a control freak (although my type A tendencies should have clued me in).
So, to make a long story even longer, no - I am not the Mom I thought I would be. I'm far from it. But it's something I'm working on, every day. And you know it, it's ok. I know that I'm a good mom, and I suppose that it the most important part.
Maybe one day I'll be that cool, calm, collected parent I always thought I would be. But for now, you can find me in the nursery begging Kaitlin to take the pacifier while putting the Sleep Sheep on repeat ;)