Monday, June 25, 2012

On adapting {What the baby books don't tell you}

I am relatively new to the blogging world and I have to say so far I am absolutely loving it. I started blogging because I want to have something for my boys to look back on when they get older. A journal of sorts to keep track of all the happy, silly, funny and not-so-funny things we get into.  I stumbled upon Jeannett's blog, LifeRearranged when I started my blog. Her blog quickly became one of my favorites. I love what she stands for. Plus, she hosts instafriday, which I participate in weekly. I digress... she is currently hosting a series prompting fellow bloggers to answer the question "What the baby books don't tell you." I've read each post and because motherhood is a topic near and dear to my heart I thought why not answer the prompt myself. Here is my take on what the baby books don't tell you...   

Growing up, I never wanted to be a mom. It's hard to admit that now that I have two littles but its true. I never babysat. I had no desire to interact with children. In fact, I was that girl who would see a baby crying while shopping and roll my eyes and mutter under my breath. I simply did not have the mama gene. And I didn't want the mama gene. The truth is, kids scared me. The responsibility scared me and I was too selfish to even think about taking care of someone besides myself.  Instead, I imagined traveling around the world with my husband and living in a condo downtown. Children were never part of the plan.

Then, bam. I was pregnant. (because, you know... that's how it happens) I lived in a house with five other people, I was 24, still in college and couldn't even pay my cell phone bill. Not to mention Tommy and I had only been dating for a year. How in the world were we going to have a baby? To say I was scared would be an understatement. I wish I could remember everything that went through my mind at that time but I don't. I just remember knowing with absolutely certainty that I HAD to go through it. There was no other option for me.

So I stopped going to school to work full time. Tommy and I moved into our own place. We did the best we could to prepare for our new arrival. I remember crying to my OB from 32 weeks on until I delivered Aidan because I had no idea how to be a mom. Over and over I repeated I can't do this. I don't know how and he looked at me and said "Kristi, you just know. You just do it." And he was right. It didn't matter that I read out there in order to try to grasp some sort of knowledge to prep me for the journey ahead.  Of course the books helped with the basics like, things to try if your baby won't stop crying, how to swaddle, when to start solid foods, how to change a diaper and more. But to me, that isn't what this little thing called motherhood is all about. In fact, you could read all the books out there but nothing can convey the immediate bond you feel with your new baby. Or how you would quite literally do ANYTHING for them. Nothing can prepare for those first smiles. First coos. Or the first time you get puked on. The first time your toddler falls down and scraps his knees. The first time someone hurts his feelings. Or how your child will start to take on some of your characteristics, even the ones you hoped they wouldn't. Or the first time you have a diaper blow out (I know that wasn't in the baby books!). Or how you will sob like a baby when your son has his first Spring Sing. Or how happy you are when he makes a goal in soccer. The books don't prepare you for how to answer questions like, "is there t-ball and squirt guns in heaven" or the standard "why is the sky blue."

At 24 I learned very quickly that you have to be flexible and adapt. Nothing is by the book and just like my OB said, you really do "just do it." You roll with the punches. You figure out it. And the best part of it is, there really is no right or wrong answer. You do what is best for you. You breast feed or you bottle feed.  You use cloth diapers or disposable diapers. You co-sleep or you don't. You rock them to sleep or you let them cry it out. You make your own baby food or you buy it in the jar. It doesn't matter. What matters is that you do what works best for you and your baby.  What works best for you might not be what what works for your friend or your coworkers and there is nothing wrong with that.

Thinking back now, its funny to remember the time in my life when I thought I never wanted kids. I can't imagine life without them. I am a better person because of my boys. They have taught me things about myself I never knew existed. Patience. What it means to sacrifice. How to love unconditionally. They have made me more aware of the plight of others. Like the fact that 4,500 children die each day because of water related diseases. Clean water, something we take for granted every single day, still affects thousands of people each day. Can you imagine not being able to give your little one a glass of water? Me either. So donate to the cause: Charity: Water. Lets help support those out there that don't have access to clean water.

Now, I look at the mom with the screaming child in Target and have sympathy for her. There is no more eye rolling and muttering under my breath. I smile because I've been there. We all have. And I wouldn't trade this little thing called motherhood for anything. 

life rearranged

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