I woke up this morning to the unique snoring of my little dog under my bed and the unconscious suckling of my baby girl who sleeps permanently attached to my boob these days. I stared at her sweet little face deciding whether I was ready to unlatch and risk waking her up to desperately pee. It was a rough night; her first two little teeth were working hard again to make their dramatic debut. I decided to let her rest a bit more, gently moving her little foot that seemed determined to rest firmly against my bladder.
I couldn’t help smiling as I took in this familiar scene; this small moment of my new life. I love these moments, even the battles of the baby foot and mama’s full bladder. Reflecting on how much my days have changed since becoming a mother, I understand my previous life much clearer. Besides being able to fit in my now useless collection of size 3 jeans, frankly there is very little I miss about it.
Before motherhood I was always so busy. With an active 9 month old, a dog, and husband I suppose that hasn’t changed much, but the kind of busy certainly has. I was so busy focusing on all the things I had to do that I couldn’t be bothered with the things that I loved do. Worrying all the time and complaining often, I neglected the people that I love; I neglected myself–I lost myself. Despite wanting my story to change, I repeated the same things day in and day out, running on a hamster wheel to no where. I thought that if I stayed strong and just kept going, things would get better and I would somehow earn or catch my elusive happiness. To put it lightly, that “stay strong” crap wasn’t working–I was miserable.
…maybe it wasn’t just my circumstances that needed to change, but maybe it was me that needed to be changed.
When I learned that I was pregnant I thought that maybe it wasn’t just my circumstances that needed to change, but maybe it was me that needed to be changed. I resolved that I was NOT going to pass on this cycle of practiced misery to my kid. So I practiced shifting my perspective, trying to find the good in everything. I tried incredibly hard to create happiness, but the smallest disappointments killed it. It was easy to think I was happy when my world met my expectations, not so much when things started to take a turn again and again.
The moment my daughter was born I discovered the big lie about this idea of a ‘happy life.’ As it turns out, happiness is not the real goal– it is a superficial temporary feeling, that you can never truly own or control. The true prize grows and comes from within. The entire time I’d accepted myself as a depressed person chasing happiness, I was really a woman without joy! Seeing my daughter’s face and holding her for the first time filled me with a deep overflowing peace that I’ve come to recognize as joy. The big secret is that it came from a very simple act–gratitude. I’ve carried that with me every moment of every day since.
…I’ve learned to create a life–a new story that embraces gratitude and breeds joy one moment at a time.
Reflecting on what I’m grateful for in every situation changes my perspective, reminds me of my blessings, and gives me with that peace. I’m able step out of my feelings and remember that moments of anger, disappointment, and sadness are temporary, allowing me to see situations clearer.
So, with the birth of my baby girl I stepped off–more like I got pushed off that hamster wheel of sadness. I’m dedicated to my family as a stay at home mom now. I never thought that I would say that and I’m 100% sure that I didn’t really understand what that the hell that really meant before taking the plunge. I’m learning loads of new things and have so much more to experience and grow from.
With this new life I’m forced to slow down, rediscover, and in a bigger way redefine myself and what I want for my life and what I want to add to others lives. I’ve learned to create a life–a new story that embraces gratitude and breeds joy one moment at a time.
As I laid there this morning, listening to the unique snoring of my little dog, staring at the chubby face of my sleeping baby girl as her foot stubbornly digs into my bladder again–I smile knowing that I am where I am suppose to be right now at this stage of my story. Battling little feet and experiencing the joy in each little moment– moments in mornings like these with my baby, the dog, and I.