Parenting

What I learned in my first year of motherhood

I have always been known as the one who speaks her mind. My parents still remember when my 8th grade teacher told a story at Jr. High graduation about how I bluntly inquired after observing his eating habits, “Doesn’t that give you the runs?” I don’t remember what it was that he was eating, but I do remember it was a valid question.

As I continued to get older, I continually felt as though my openness was a negative quality. After all in James 1:9 it says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. I’m ok-ish at listening, super patient, but oh so bad at being slow to speak. So while I daily work on my filter, I instead often think on the verse , “for of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). My biggest desire is to know God and to make Him known, so though I often fail, I still want my words and actions to speak love & life. Because, well, God is love and life (although at times, life just sucks and it doesn’t seem like any of that is true). My second biggest desire is probably to eat cake, bread and cheese everyday.

So while I have matured enough to know it is not appropriate to casually ask people about their bowel movements, I still appreciate open and honest conversations. So I am about to get even more real with you all… I have been blessed with the toughest year of my life and blessed with the most growth ever thanks to a handful of people that carried me through. (Christians can we stop using #blessed just because something goes right please? Overuse of this hashtag makes it seem as though God still isn’t present just because our life isn’t all cake, cheese and bread with no weight gain.) Notice how I used blessed for both good and bad? That’s because God’s favor was with me through it all.

God was with me:
– when I had a crazy delivery; 28 hours and 2 hours pushing only to watch the hospital staff struggle to get her to breathe
-when I had no clue what I was doing with a newborn
-when my baby cried constantly, nursed 20 hours in a day and barely slept (At 11.5 months she finally slept all night!)
-when I realized all my years of working with children (over 10 years folks) didn’t make me any less clueless with my own
-when I sobbed as I returned back to work full time
-when I had to quit my job that I had loved a few months later; and cried even more
-when I became a stay at home mom; and cried
*I’ve seen both sides, working or not, being a mom is still tough
-when I finally started to enjoy motherhood, probably around 6 months into the gig
-when I finally stopped thinking about myself and how parenting has changed my life and noticed my husband again and saw just what a pillar of strength he had been and is for me
-when I got the privilege to share a house with my sister; who is even more open than me and so much wiser (I learn SO MUCH from her)

So that was my year in a nutshell and trust me, there is so much unspoken craziness within those events. In general I have had a pretty average life, so this past year felt like a whirlwind. Yet, with my 1 year old, almost walking whirlwind in the house, I have found myself in the best place ever because this year has taught me so many lessons that simply need to be learned the hard way. Parenting has a steep learning curve; childbirth sometimes changes your body in ways that “9 months on, 9 months off” just won’t fix, and accepting that I am not enough but God is- it’s so freeing.

If any of you are reading this and have a child that is more difficult than you had anticipated, all I can say from my experience is; you are not alone, so don’t be afraid to reach out to someone for help. Take time for yourself. It’s easy to push your needs aside, but you’ll be a better parent if you take the mom hat off for a little. And perhaps one day, when you aren’t even noticing, everything will just gradually get better. It did for me.

After showing a glimpse into my motherhood journey, I’d enjoy hearing from you. Feel free to comment below on what you’ve learned from being a parent or what surprised you the most about being responsible for another human.

-Val

 

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4 thoughts on “What I learned in my first year of motherhood”

  1. I love you, always have and always will. Thank you for your honesty Val. I didn’t realize things were so tough for you. We miss you! You are always welcome to our home. ❤

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  2. How beautiful!!! I’ll never forget Zoe’s delivery time that took days and that 1st day you went back to work. That was rough!! You are a trooper and we pray the next year is smoother for you. Thanks so much for sharing.

    P.S. I think it was a tomato sandwich that Mr. Carl ate every day that made you make that comment. 🙂

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