From one mother to another

The US presidential race has as a special place in my heart (others might call it indigestion). Two election cycles ago, I remember sitting on the edge of my couch waiting, counting the minutes, as ballot totals rolled across the bottom of the television screen. One way or another, I knew my life would never be the same. It was the evening before my eldest son was born.

I won’t go into the details too much, but suffice it to say, Kiddo wasn’t particularly interested in leaving the mothership.

After an incredibly long day over which I convinced myself more than once, I must be dying, a rather loud pink thing lay in the room with me. The whole process had given my immediate family ample time to fill the waiting room, (did I mention how very long of a day it was?) and though my mom was never far, soon my hospital room became a revolving door of other well-wishers.

During one visit, my sister smiled at me as she commented with a hint of disbelief, “you’re a mom now.”

I suppose, I technically was by the definition of the word, but I sure didn’t feel all that different, well any more different than being exhausted and more than a wee bit bloated (understatement of the year). My dad likes to tell us about how when my brother was born, time simply stopped until my brother’s eyes (and lungs) opened. I didn’t have that moment, I didn’t experience that new parent glow. I will admit, I felt a little cheated. And tired. And disgusting. And maybe even a bit of a fraud. I felt a lot of I’s. Weren’t moms supposed to be self-sacrificing? My mom sure is. She’d taken the last week off work at the hint that Kiddo might finally decide to arrive with nothing to show for it. Shouldn’t my first and foremost thoughts now be centered on that wailing, hungry, pink thing and not about how none of this day had gone to my plan?

Please do not think I didn’t want my son. I very much did! I just sort of thought that being maternal would be, oh I don’t know,.. more instinctive. So I read parenting books. I did all the things that moms were supposed to do, and my son slept, pooped, and cried without so much as a thank you. I told myself I didn’t need much. A simple coo would do! I read more books, watched how-to videos and solicited recommendations. Kiddo slept and cried some more. People used to tell me I’d make a great mom some day. I was beginning to suspect they were wrong. I wanted to cry too. My mom had made motherhood look so easy. All I wanted now was to be was to be just a little like her (and sleep, lots and lots of sleep).

“After I lost, I slept like a baby: Sleep two hours, wake up and cry, sleep two hours, wake up and cry.” – John McCain to Stephen Colbert on losing the presidential election.

Then late one night, some days if not weeks later, as I sat with Kiddo in a rocking chair, humming the melodies of songs my mom used to sing to us before bed, I suddenly realized I was no longer hesitant to return him to his crib because I feared he might wake. I simply did not want to let him and this moment go. Perhaps I was still being selfish, but there are worse things to be selfish about. But it did make me wonder, when had the transition happened?

I decided it was best not to question it. The exact hour of the change didn’t matter, only that I finally felt like a proper parent (even if I still don’t always feel like I know what I am doing). At the same time, I became even more in awe of my mom. Going through the whole process with one child had been exhausting, but somehow she’d managed to survive it more than once.

One day, quite some time later, my mom confessed that she was never much of an infant person either. It turns our early days weren’t all that different after all. But she also told me that as much as I adore my children now, it just gets better. What she may not realize is the same can be said about her.

Mom, I still wish I might one day learn to be half as good a parent as you. Love you.

Happy mother’s day.

me and my mom

me and my mom

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38 thoughts on “From one mother to another

    • I remember watching the interview with Colbert and wondering where THAT McCain had been.

      LT’s story is quite a bit different, but my mom was there to help me through those days too. I’m pretty lucky.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I started out reading this out loud in Gma’s hospital room so her roommate, Gpa and the nurse and nurse’s aide could all hear it after I bragged on you. However, by the time I got to the end I was bawling so I couldn’t finish right away. You are an awesome mom and a super mom. I love you very, very much! Xox

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    • I do worry about how Kiddo might react to this story, but then again he’s probably already picked up that mommy likes her sleep. Does this mean he’ll actually let me sleep in on Sunday? I am pretty confident that will be a no.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. What a great post! It took me right back to the day me eldest son was born. I don’t think my wife felt much in the way of a warm fuzzy glow immediately afterwards either. Turns out having babies is hard! A little later, though, everything fell into place. Of course, we were much better prepared the second time around. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It is nice to know I’m not the only one who needed a little extra time.

      I was much more prepared the second time around, or so I thought. It turns out, much like characters of game of thrones, I knew nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A lovely post, Allie – really beautiful 🙂

    Oh yeah, I remember those first few days – I was scared to pick her up in case I ‘disturbed’ her, plus it was all such a fog of changing, feeding, bathing, sleeping. I think it’s quite a shock, to be honest, even though you know it’s going to happen, you really don’t know what a profound life change it’s going to be until you get to the other side.

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    • No kidding about the fog. I had a schedule posted on my refrigerator. Change between x and y. Nap between y and z, etc. Really basic stuff, but everyday I had to review it because I could not remember what I was supposed to do next. And Kiddo proved to be my easy one.

      I don’t know what I would have done without my mom (or my other pseudo moms, as I was raised by a village) to call on for help.

      I can, however, say at this point that both my kids were worth it. No question.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it’s just an eat, sleep, poop repeat sort of thing, isn’t it? Sounds simple, but is so much harder when you’re not sleeping. My mum went back to Canada (I was living in Aus at the time) when my daughter was two weeks old and I was in a complete panic about it. Still, we got through 😀

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      • I was physically on my own after the first week. Lamont had to travel a lot for work back then and my mom burnt up most her vacation time waiting for Kiddo to show (we learned the truth of the phrase: a watched Potts never boils) but mom was always just a Face Time or Skype call away.

        Was that a 14 hour time difference for you? I would have panicked too. What doesn’t kill you…

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      • It was some ridiculous time difference like that, but we did a lot of Skype nonetheless – I think the gorgeous girl thought her grandparents lived in the computer for a while! Still, as you say, what doesn’t kill you… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great Mother’s Day post, and happy Mothers Day!
    I have kept everything I ever got from all seven of our kids for Mothers Day. I love looking at the cards, crafts, clay creations and breathing in that smell of ‘I must be doing okay. I’ve got some awesome kiddos.’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy Mother’s Day to you too!

      Seven? *gasp* My brain can’t even comprehend the level of sleep deprivation you must have gone through. Your husband isn’t the only brave soldier in your house. Your kiddos have an awesome mommy too.

      I’ve kept a number of their mementos although my favorite keepsake is a macaroni necklace Kiddo made for me shortly after his brother was born. There is a whole story to go along with it, but I’ll save it for another day.

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  5. So beautiful, Allie. Funny how parenting is something that no matter how many books one reads and how much advice one gets, it can’t possibly be grasped until one goes through it. Somehow most of us figure it out through on-the-job training and a little help from grandma. The picture of the kid with the foot in mom’s face was my house Thursday night – the grandson’s slept over. I don’t think I slept two hours with those feet poking me all night 🙂 Happy Mother’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy Mother’s Day! I often think back to when my first born was an infant, and how difficult it was to get up in the middle of the night when he was crying, feed him, and rock him to sleep. I’m not sure how I managed that and also going to work, shopping, cooking dinner, and the million and one other little odds and ends that are a part of daily life. I didn’t think that much of those bleary-eyed nights back then, but now? I’d give almost anything to experience them again.

    Hope your day and weekend were wonderful.

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  7. I’m sorry. There are so many great lines in this. Beautiful post. But,really, I think this should be the parenting mantra: “I decided it was best not to question it.”

    Happy Mother’s Day 🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My world was turned upside down after my first was born. I knew life would be different, but . . . I couldn’t prepare for what I didn’t know.

    Your book reading and first days sound strangely familiar to mine. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The problem with the books is that there is so much conflicting information out there. I had to just keep changing tactics until I found what worked for us. Unfortunately, my second wasn’t a carbon copy of his brother and so when he came around it was back to the drawing board.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Same with me. My favorite books were usually those that said, “Babies and families are different. Do what works for you.” Which made me feel better . . . But sort of defeated the purpose of reading the books in the first place. With my second, I had so much more confidence I didn’t have a problem doing what I wanted. It took a while to gain that confidence when I had my son, though. I was always second guessing myself.

        Liked by 1 person

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