Friday, September 14, 2007

Molding into a Mother...

One year ago, I knew that Troy and I were in for a surprise with the arrival of our firstborn. We had been living the married life with no kids for four years - enjoying trips to Costa Rica, lazy days at the beach, after-work dinner dates, movies, a double income with few restrictions, and late nights with friends. It was a blast! Freedom at its finest.

I think back to conversations about how we were "ready" to have kids. "Ready" to start our little family. "Ready" for an adventure of a lifetime. Not at all realizing what the word "ready" entailed!

Now, a year later, a year wiser, and the mom of an adorable little son, I am quickly coming to realize that being "ready" to be a parent does not really exist. Everyday, as a mom, is proof to me that I couldn't have prepared myself for this job. Instead, I am trying to learn as the challenges approach me until I can feel like a bona fide, skilled mother. Here are some things my journey has taught me so far:

1. PATIENCE (or lack thereof) - I always thought of myself as a patient person, but come to find out, my fuse if kind of short (ok...really short). When you are a mom, your patience is tested everyday. Your test may come in the form of a temper tantrum, the sound of splashing from the bathroom as you are trying to get out the door for the day, a big, bomby blowout diaper at Disneyland, or a nap cut short by an hour. Whatever the test may be, I have learned to ask myself "Which way am I going to let this affect me? I can blow up in rage and frustration, or I can bite my lower lip and move on quietly?" Then I just pray for strength to choose the latter.

2. HUMILITY - Come to find out, motherhood requires a great deal of humility. Prayer is essential! It was a low point for me to admit that I did not have the human strength to be the next "Mother Teresa" or to win the National trophy for "Mother of the Year". But when I pray, I know that God is helping me be MY best as a mom.

Humility is also important when embarrassment strikes. CASE IN POINT: Today at Michaels Craft store, I let Jack hold a bottle of blue tempera paint, sealed tightly in a plastic bottle. As I was perusing the ribbon selection, he throws the bottle down in a fit of anger and in slow motion the blue paint splatters down 7 feet of the aisle. With paint up my pant leg and splattered across multiple shelves of ribbon, I stood frozen in the aisle wondering what to do. Panicked, I pulled out my baby wipes and began cleaning (well, smearing) the paint. I looked up and saw an employee. Timidly, I apologized and asked for a mop. Luckily she told me not to worry about it, and she would take care of it. Mmm...humble pie for me.

3. I NEED FRIENDS - what would I do without my advice lines? During the day, when Troy is busy at work, it is so good to know that I can call up any friend for advice. Many times I just need positive affirmations that I am not totally screwing up. Is this normal? Am I being too hard on him? What are the symptoms of an ear infection? Is this just a phase? Can we have a playdate?

4. WORRY WART - I kinda knew this before I was a mom, but now I really know that I am a worry wart. Things keep me up at night. Like after the earthquake, all I could think about was the positioning of Jack's crib. Was it away from hazards? Did we fasten his pictures to the wall with screws and chains? What if his glass closet doors shattered all over him? The list goes on and on. I am not sure that this motherhood thing will ever allow me a restful night's sleep.

5. CONTROL FREAK - I want things my way or the highway. yeah. Try telling that to a one year old! I have a hard time giving in. Every time I 'give in' to something Jack wants, I hear this little boy voice in my ears saying, "Ha, ha...I won!" I need to relax. Choose my battles, right?

6. SUPPORTIVE HUSBAND - I learned that I married the right man. I am so grateful to have Troy as a spouse and a dad to Jack. He is the BEST! After I've had a long day with Jack, Troy comes home from his stressful day of work and takes Jack for a walk, or plays with him so that I can get dinner on. He is very involved in his life, and I love that. My hat goes off to single mothers. It is a job for a SAINT!

Wow...this is a long, boring post. Sorry. In conclusion I would like to give praises to all the mothers who do their job well. You are inspirations to me.


Amy said...

I couldn't have said it better. Everything you said was great! Thanks for your (not boring) post!

Amanda Jane said...

Nothing boring there, life as a mom is full of surprises (or is it chaos). Very well said, Thank you.

kelly southwell said...

Ali...loved it. It's not boring at all, but true and from the heart. We've all been there, and we're all helping each other through! So glad you're close!

rockkinrobbins said...

Your an awesome Mother Ali and you have a wonderful family, and a sooo not boring blog.

Katie said...

Thanks Ali I loved everyword, and give your self some credit you are a great Mom, and not a boring post at all you are a great writer and inspire us all.

merideth said...

so funny how we are all so much alike yet different. all that you said goes through my head everyday.
it is such a day to day thing with lots of prayer....we all just want to be doing it right. right? which is what makes it so hard!

rob*sheena*jonah*lucy said...

Ali, you're not supposed to make me cry! You said EVERYTHING that's been on my mind lately...I guess it's been one of those weeks.

Thanks SO much--you put all my exact thoughts into words PERFECTLY!!

Heather said...

Couldn't be more true. I think we all feel the same way at different times and some days, all at once.

Troy said...

I think you should all get together...cry...let it all out.. and sing that old song "I love the way you love me" to one another.
Seriously-I'm so happy Ali has you girls. Thanks