These are posts from my previous blog, http://blogs.parent24.com/jessicaviljoen/ that I wanted to share on this blog.
Contemplating the First 6 Months of Motherhood – 27 April 2011
Now that Mia is well into her 7th month, I feel I can sit back and reflect on the first six months of being a mom. Honestly. Because I know, you forget the hard times – the good memories remain. Which is a good thing – but I do want to remember my honest account of the first half-year of being a mom, too! What a rollercoaster ride it’s been! Motherhood is a hostile takeover of your life – and nobody told me this beforehand.
I knew that babies are helpless little beings, that cry, that wake often, and that need you 24/7 – but I didn’t ever consider a reflux baby who wakes every hour and is so clingy there’s sometimes no time for a bathroom break, never mind a lunch break. I knew I would sometimes feel overwhelmed – but I didn’t ever consider feeling so thrown-in-the-deep-end that I sob and scream into my pillow. And then – I knew… I was going to learn what unconditional love was – but I didn’t ever consider that it was so tender, gentle, amazing, inspiring and precious, that my heart feels like it could just burst with trying to keep it all in.
I often hear that people say, when they’ve had a baby, it’s the best time of their lives. I wouldn’t say that. It was too up-and-down for me. Too extreme. Too big of an adjustment.
You hear of the sleep deprivation… you imagine it… And then, you’re in the middle of it – and it’s hard! But I managed. I coped. I felt frustrated – but it never affected the tender love for my little girl.
You hear of the 24/7 duty of being a mom… you imagine it… And then, you’re in the middle of it – and sometimes you need an escape. It’s OK! I go to the gym, I leave baby girl with Cecelia the domestic worker and I see clients, I do grocery shopping, I meet my sister for lunch, and I go to book club once a month – and I breathe a sigh of relief as I savour my escape. Then, I miss my baby girl so much that I can’t wait to get back home and hold her, hug her tight, smell her, and kiss her.
The first six weeks, especially, I found very trying. You’re doing so, so much for this little stranger that has invaded your life – and you’re not getting much gratitude or reward in return. I felt silly, talking or singing to this tiny person who could barely focus her eyes or lift her head. Then, slowly but surely, things start changing – baby starts smiling, coo’ing, reacting to your voice and face, touching you, looking for you, laughing, hugging, kissing – and wow, everything is right in the world again!
Motherhood did not come as naturally to me as I thought it would. It’s a journey filled with so much emotion, my heart can sometimes not bear it. I have gained so much new respect for my own mom, and mothers the world over. I have wished so many times, that my mom lived in the same town as me!
There were times in the first six months, that I would think to myself, “what have I gotten myself into?” or, “how did I think I was ready for a baby?” or, “I don’t think I want another child!” or, very often, “I don’t know what to doooooo!” It passes. It gets easier. If I had known what I know now – I would still have wanted a baby. And I do still want another child – although the timeline of a two-year gap has changed to a three-year gap!
There will always be something new to deal with. Just when winds and cramps ease, teething starts. Just when you think the reflux is under control, solids start. And so it goes on. And it’s an amazing, exciting journey, my baby girl is teaching me so much every day – each day is filled with awe and wonder – I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!
I have been truly blessed with an amazing husband who does his fair share and more. My soul mate, my rock. He took to fatherhood so well, it suits him, he inspires me. We have a wonderful extended family, filled with our parents and grandparents and siblings who offer so much love and support as well.
Tonight as I put little one to sleep, I said a prayer, thanking the Lord for such a blessing in our lives, asking God to keep her safe and happy, and asking that I be a good enough mother.
There is still so much ahead of us, in this journey of parenthood – this rollercoaster ride is far from over! But I will hold on tight, keep this smile on my face – and enjoy the ride!
BEING A GOOD MOM AND A GOOD WIFE
3 August 2011
My goals RE being a good wife:
- I love the way our dinner time is "our time". We always sit at the table, with music on so that the tv doesn't distract us. This is how we catch up on each other's day, chat about what's ahead of us, etc. We must always do this.
- I love how we go to bed at the same time - and before we switch the light off, it's more chit-chat time.
- I want to strive to be happy and smiley when Wyn gets home from work. And I want to have a mug of coffee waiting for him.
- I want to cook meals that hubby enjoys - a variety of meals, and including things that we both like.
- I want to keep the house neat enough. This keeps me happy too, and provides a general happy energy.
- We do hug and kiss often. We must do so even more!
- I must really try and be finished with my internet time and BlackBerry chats by evening time as much as possible, so that I don't come across as "I love you, but I must be online now", which I seem to be doing a lot lately.
- We must try and do our date lunch more often.
- We must do family outings often.
- I think I should invest in a sexy nighty to surprise hubby with. Haven't done that since our honeymoon 4 years ago!
- We do communicate very well - and we must always keep these channels open and remain on the same wavelength.
- We must always be a team when it comes to our children.
- We must always reach a compromise whenever there is a disagreement.
- Never, ever go to bed angry, and never, ever leave the house angry.
- I must surprise him more often. Be it with a little love letter, a little treat, dessert after supper... I should do this more.
- I am very good with thanking him for the wonderful things he does for me, Mia, around the house, etc. I must make sure he really knows how grateful I am.
- If I'm having a bad day, I must really concentrate on the good things, and make a conscious effort to not be bad-tempered or irritable.
- We must go to church more.
- I am in the process of reaching my goal weight. I want to feel good and look good, not just for myself, but for my hubby too. Therefore I take care in my hair, my skin, my clothes, my scent.
- My husband must be happy. He must know that he is so loved!
My goals RE being a good mom:
- I love how I am able to spend so much time with Mia. I love that she knows I am here for her.
- I want to ensure that our children grow up in a safe, happy, loving environment - and they must know it!
- I hope to instill kindness, honesty and a passion for life in my children.
- Life is exciting, I want my children to dance and sing and enjoy! And Wyn and I will do the same with them!
- I want to ensure that my children get a good education.
- I will always kiss bruises and eina's better.
- My children must be able to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad.
- Good manners are so, so important.
- Birthdays must be made a HUGE fuss of!
- I must stay fit and healthy, so that I can run and play with my kids.
- I want to spend lots of time with family. My kids must love their grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.
- I must not take my bad mood or feelings of general irritation or frustration out on my kids, like I sometimes do with our poor doggy.
- My children must know God. They must walk a path with Him.
- We must pray.
- I want my children to have a really balanced life. I love the motto, "everything in moderation is fine!"
- My children must know what a special bond our family has.
- My children must know that they can come to me and Wyn about anything in life, we're always here for them.
- I want to teach them that disappointment and failure are part of life, but that standing up, dusting themselves off and carrying on is what's most important.
- Car trips must be fun! I must pack snacks, toys and games to ensure this.
- My kids must be happy. They must know that they are so loved!
These are my goals. I will strive to reach them. I will review this list every so often, to remind myself, or add to it. Hopefully always patting myself on the back! :-)