"Being a mom to a baby is hard. It's hard physically. Being a mom to teens and adults is hard emotionally."First, I really appreciated how my friend made her comment. She wasn't trying to belittle my current situation. She was sharing where she was, without trying to say "oh, my difficulties are so much worse than yours."
But it's continuing to make me think. So here's what I think.
First, being a new mom is hard physically. Especially for the first 3 weeks. Wow. That part isn't so bad now, at 3 months. To me (aside from lifting heavy strollers up stairs) the physical difficulty is being tired: being up late in the evening her wide awake when we're all ready for bed; getting up for her early morning feeding.
But it is hard emotionally too. I am learning to love a brand new person in a way I've never loved someone before. I'm learning to deal with a new level or worry that plagues me at an hour of the day or night. I'm learning to relate to my husband again, now as a mother and he a father. I'm learning to relate to other moms in a new --and wonderful-- way. And I've got to learn to re-relate to women who aren't moms. My identity is changing in becoming a mom more than any other life experience, and I'm still muddling through that. Not that I don't love it -- but it's hard!
But here's the hardest part: being a mom to a new baby is so hard because I'm learning in a whole new way what it means to serve and to put others first. I had not realized how much I had the opportunity to be selfish before. Getting married challenges it a little bit a first; having a child brings it to a whole new level.
And this dying-to-self is hard. It's not that I don't love Julie and love taking care of her. It's that I love myself a lot, and Jesus is working on me.
You see, the feeding, diapering, laundry, etc. isn't the hardest part -- the hardest part is not getting to do what I want. I love sitting andnursing my baby - love it ever so much. But I also love sitting in a clean house, and daily I have to sacrifice my wants over her present needs.
So what I'm saying is that for me what's hard is not getting to clean the house, bake cookies, write work emails... What I'm substituting my time for is completely wonderful and worth it. But I'm sinful, and so not getting to do what I want to do at any given moment is hard. And oh so good for me.
I just read this fabulous blog post: "To the Mother With Only One Child" by Simcha Fisher. She hit the nail on the head, and I needed to hear this so much. I strongly recommend following the link.