Exactly one year ago today, we announced to the internet that a strawberry-sized lump inside me was making me crave Shake Shack. (Thanks for the reminder, Facebook.)
My thoughts on motherhood have changed so much over my lifetime, but having Arlo has been the most surprising change of them all. I’ve thought about this for the entire seven months of his life (and pregnancy), but I still don’t think I’ve come to the perfect conclusion why they’ve changed.
I loved my other babies, I just don’t think I ever loved being a mom to them. Being a mom was something I figured I’d do one day because that’s what women I knew did, but it wasn’t something I ever really found myself wishing for. I never understood the term “baby hungry.” WHY would anyone crave having a baby? They keep you up at night, they cry, they barf, they poop, they stop you from being productive.
My easiest answer for these thoughts is that I never had to want a baby, but I’m not sure that’s all of it. My babies came when I was young, and they also thwarted my then-goal of finishing college. My 20’s basically went like this: full-time mom, then full-time employee, part-time employee, full-time mom, part-time employee, full-time single mom, full-time student/part-time employe single mom, and back to full-time employee mom. And over all those different scenarios I’ve always liked the employee part better than the mom part.
I never understood moms who were sad when their child started kindergarten, the parents who wanted their kids to sleep in bed with them, the times people talked about just wanting to rock a baby to sleep.
Then came the idea of having another child, and the semi baby-hungry thoughts…total gateway drug.
Now most nights before going to sleep I hold my glowing phone up to Arlo’s sleepy little body so I can just stare at him. I love his little toes that peak out of the bottom of his blanket, the way he sleeps on his belly but scrunches his bum up just a little bit. I think of how awesome it is that his whole body reacts when he’s happy–from beaming eyes to flailing limbs. I find myself looking at photos of him on my phone when he’s not around.
IT IS SO WEIRD to have these feelings! Tyler sometimes still expresses shock at my thoughts towards Arlo. I still shock myself most days.
Now let us not get too carried away with all this, I’ve not gone completely soft. I still love the employee side of my life; I still get tired of the barf and the baths and the baby food being spit back at my face.
But I guess I’m just proud that I finally kind of get it–that thing most parents seem to have at the first child. And while I don’t think everyone should be a parent (because I know lots of awesome people who don’t want kids), I would happily give anyone who’s considering it a little nudge closer to the “just do it” side. Having a baby feels like a combo of that video with Kristen Bell and the sloth, how Gollum feels about his precious, and that Japanese island filled with bunnies.
Plus the teen years aren’t so bad either.