Motherhood: 10 Things I’ve Learned

Eli_Bike_11 Months

As we approach my sons 1st birthday, I’ve begun to contemplate what I’ve learned as a new mother. It then occurred to me that possibly I haven’t learned anything. This couldn’t be true, right? So I humbly offer you my Top 10, hoping that these will resonate with you.

  1. Poop does come in many different shapes and sizes
    Not to mention smells. You can learn a lot from your little one’s poop – what they’ve eaten, how much water they’ve had, and if they’re sick. I’ve learned to love my baby’s poop.
  2. Scary mommy happens
    I like to think of myself as a patient person, but I do have scary mommy moments. One example of this is the many ways I can say no. Nooooo. Okay, no. That’s a no. NO!!
  3. Watching your child walk for the first time is golden
    Before I had my son, I thought I would forever want him to be a baby. The idea of him growing up, filled me with anxiety. Now, I’ve realized that watching him grow is perhaps the most amazing process I’ve ever witnessed. When he took his first steps, excitement filled me and as a I watched him lumber towards me, I couldn’t wait for him to run. Okay, then he fell over and scraped his nose.
  4. It’s the little things
    Socks, toys, books, and shoes oh my. Before bed there is the ritual of gathering all the little things scattered around the house and putting them back into place. Finding the diaper cream, having been sucked on and discarded in the corner, and then puttin it back to its rightful place on the changing table. Organizing the chewed on books on the shelf from smallest to biggest. Taking the time to re-place all the tolietry bottles and bath toys in the bathtub, so that when I shower I don’t accidentally fall. Plunking all the balls, stuffed animals, and puzzle pieces from the floor and back into the toy box. Gathering all the discarded bobbles and sighing. Not a short sigh, but one that resonates throughout the body. Being a mom is definitely about all the little things.
  5. Alarm clocks are so 2000’s
    There was a time when an alarm was necessary. I needed the annoying whine to drag my weary body out of bed. Without an alarm clock I would be late for work, late for yoga, or just plain late. Now, my sons gurgles or calls wakes me up at exactly 6:00 am. If he sleeps longer, I worry. Is he alive? Did someone snatch him? Still I set an alarm. It’s the old me resisting the new me, even though my new alarm clock is ten times more efficient and cuter.
  6. Sloppy hugs and kisses
    There was a time in my life when hugs and kisses didn’t mean a smear of saliva and forgotten biscuit. I keep wipes handy and when my son reaches up with his gooey hands, pulls my face to his, and smears drool all over my face, and gives me his wet tongue, I resign myself to the fact that kisses are still warm, just full of germs.
  7. Nana is banana
    Babies have their own language. And I wouldn’t have believed it before I was a mom that you can in fact understand them. Sometimes it’s easy, like when you say banana, he says nana. Other times you can decipher that na da means where’s dad? And nu huh means, well, I haven’t figured that one out yet. But when you do for sure understand those moments of nana means banana makes you realize that you’re in this together.
  8. You can’t protect them enough
    This is something that scares me the most. I can protect my son from all the horrible things that do and could happen in life. I worry that I will make a mistake by leaving him with the wrong person or forgetting to close the bathroom door. There are a million different things that could go wrong, and the realization that I’m not enough fills me with dread.
  9. Cute and annoying
    Yes, it’s true. You love them. You think they’re the cutest being on the planet. You count their new teeth, proud of their appearance. When they sleep you compare them to a Roman Emperor. Those empanada hands and feet are soft and delectable. Yet, they’re annoying.  What do you mean you found the remote control hidden away under two blankets and three pillows? Hey, get out of the trash, that’s no place for a baby? All I want to do is take your temperature. Wiping your nose won’t cause you to have a seizure. So yes, they’re cute and annoying.
  10. Love is a never-ending onion
    I never realized there are many layers to love. I assumed that love is an emotion that is complete, not something that grows. For me, my love for my son keeps peeling deeper and deeper and when I think I can’t love him more, I do.

    Please post in the comment box what you’ve learned about being a mom or a dad. I would love to hear from you.  

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Thoughts on Motherhood

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It’s been a long time since I’ve written. My only excuse is that I had a baby and suddenly there was a new boss in town. Elijah George Troncoso was born on September 1st after 26 hours of labor, followed by a cesarean. Needless to say the physical recovery took longer than expected, coupled with the reality of taking care of a newborn. I spent my entire high-risk pregnancy being worried every day that something would take this little guy from me that I never planned for how I would take actually care of him. I don’t come from a big family with lots of children, nor had I ever been around any longer than a few hours, so my skills in this area were pretty comical. I’m also have an obsessive and perfectionist personality and as most people know this does not mix well with a brand new little human.

The learning curve the first few months was huge. I think I must have cried almost every day. Of course the raging hormones didn’t help and the huge struggle I had with breast feeding fed the fire and not to mention the not sleeping part – I was a hot mess. I remember the first day I was going to be completely alone with him was the scariest day of my life. I practically begged my husband not to leave me. I seriously did not know how the population continued to increase after the stark realization of being a mom became clear to me. Sure, I adored the little guy, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. And yes, as many have reminded me, it’s worth it (a phrase I’ve learned to loathe) and yes, after many years of trying I should not complain, and I’m not; I’m only pointing out that being a mom is emotionally hard. I really had no idea! 

But my husband did go to work and there we were – just the two of us. By the end of the day, I thought, well, that wasn’t so bad. Perhaps, I could do this. That one day was followed by two then three, and then I realized that I needed to leave the house to buy food. Leaving the house seemed like a daunting task. We live on the second floor and the stairs alone intimidated me. How was I supposed to carry the car seat with a baby and a diaper bag stuffed with every possible thing you might need (I was a new mom, okay!) all the way to my car through the courtyard and then around to my garage. I did manage to do this. I got to the store and realized that the stroller would have to be the cart. Eli has never liked carriers, so I could only buy what could actually fit in the space below the stroller. Surprisingly, you can fit quite a lot.

Once home I had to carry the groceries, along with Eli in the car seat, and stuffed bag at the same time. I did this in stages, taking long pauses along the way. By the time I did get everything back home the kid was screaming for hunger and for a poopy diaper. Baby screams, especially when they’re your kid are unbearable. I always became frantic. Now, I’m better at tolerating his cries but as a new mother it was literally the worst sound of my life.

But we survived! 

I suppose that is the point of the phrase, ‘It’s worth it, right?’ The reminder that despite the tears and fears, this little human is yours. And you’re his. Rubbing the baby soft skin and kissing those wet lips make it all worth it. So it’s true, it’s worth it.

But this Facebook, idealized version of motherhood that’s propagated on posting the cutest baby pictures everywhere (have you seen the ones I just posted of Eli. Egads, he’s cute) and making every non-mother believe that new motherhood is this land of baby bliss is false.  And by saying this, doesn’t make me a bad mother. It makes me a real one.