"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Six Months Later, I'm Me Again

If someone asked me how long it took for me to feel like a real person again after my baby was born, I'd say six months. Six months to figure out whether or not the person I was before the baby was appropriate as a mother. Should I act more "mother-y"? Are my poop jokes and inappropriate comments "un-mother-like"? Should I ditch trying to dress cool or wear cute shoes? Should I start keeping my house completely spotless with floors you can eat off of? Dust-free? Try new recipes? Wear an apron? Our baby came just over a year after our marriage, so I was still trying to find myself as a wife.

Six months to feel like I could finally leave the house. Six months to feel sociable again. We moved into a new subdivision a few months before I got pregnant. But once I got pregnant, I grew incredibly unsociable which only escalated after the baby was born. People were always asking me questions, how will you handle this, will you breastfeed, what's your theory on this that or the other. I didn't know yet, so I felt stupid. Even though I seemed to know what I was doing on the outside, I was flailing out of control on the inside thinking everyone else had more answers than I did about how to take care of this little guy. I didn't want to meet the neighbors. I broke brunch dates and hangout dates with friends. I stopped returning phone calls. I didn't hang out with people from work, or keep in touch once I decided to stay home. I saw my mom, my husband, and my baby. I went to Target and I went grocery shopping. Maybe the mall. That was pretty much it, but at the time, I was ok with that.

Six months to have more energy. After Aidan started sleeping, I had more energy to expand my horizons and get to the gym. Before, if it were a choice between the gym and sleep, you know which one won. So, about a month ago, I started working out 5 or 6 times a week. I need another knee surgery (I had one already when I was six months pregnant), so besides wanting to fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans, I want to be in better shape for surgery, for recovery. Plus, I don't want to be a fat pregnant person, should we decide to have a baby sooner rather than later. Even though I haven't shed all of it yet, I'm down 7 pounds, and I don't look much different but I feel much better. If that counts. My husband compliments me. My huge sizes feel a little baggy. Not there yet, but maybe some day. I keep trying on my old jeans "just in case".

Six months to feel pretty again. This may be a no-brainer because of the work-out thing. More energy, yada yada yada, who knows. But would you believe, it also took six months for me to get my pre-pregnancy hair back again? I have long hair which is usually kind of nice, but I'm telling you when I got pregnant, Aidan sucked all the moisture out of it and it became a frizzy uncontrollable coif. Not a good look for someone who already feels big and fat. At least you can have your cute hair if everything else seems to fail. But not me. And it's back, baby, and boy am I happy. Also, no more maternity clothes. I've packed them up and let a friend borrow them so I can't be tempted to frump myself up. And no more big old nursing shirts and ugly 18-hour cross your heart nursing bras. Sweet. I'm back in cute shoes. And I've decided that for me, being a mom doesn't have to mean not drying your hair because there's no time and wearing it all wet in a ponytail holder anymore. It also doesn't mean I have to wear mom jeans or ugly shoes or go without makeup. It's ok to have a camouflage messenger bag as a diaper bag because it's just as functional, but more importantly, it's cute. Yes, it took me six months to realize this.

Six months to feel like a wife AND a mother. My husband and I are totally in sync right now, and even though I know life changes that all the time, right now it feels real good. He understands me, us and our family unit. We're respectful of each other. We give each other an "out" when we need it. We are in unison and I've never been happier.

Six months to feel like I've finally hit my stride. I've gone out enough times and met a few other new moms to know that I am doing the right thing with Aidan. My choices are ok. He's doing well. He's behind some kids, but he's ahead of others. That's just the way the world works. And it's ok to be me. I don't have to have all these parenting theories and I don't have to judge other people's parenting in order to justify my own. I don't have to defend myself, either. What works for us, works for us, and that's that and it's been pretty good so far. I do keep my house cleaner, and I work up new recipes and host family gatherings, but it's come natural and it's fun and I'm not trying to force it. If I go a day with dishes in the sink, I'm still an ok mom. So there.
Over the past week, I've received two of the best compliments I've ever received from my husband, which makes me believe he sees me coming out of my shell too. He told me one day that I look "sexy." And another day, he told me I look like I have it together. I feel funny about the sexy part (sorry any relatives reading this), because I've never considered myself that, ever. That seems like an awfully grown-up term. But I'll take the other compliment hands down. I finally feel like I do.


connietator said...

I'm so happy that you're feeling good about you again. I know exactly how you feel. I'm still in nursing bras, but I've stopped wearing those nursing tops. I'm also back to shopping at my favorite stores. Hang in there. The weight will come off. Just stick to a plan that works for you and don't beat yourself up when you have a day where you eat the bad stuff or don't workout. There's always tomorrow to begin again.

Harry said...

"Take baby steps" pardon the pun,
You're doing good.

Kim said...

Amen sista! I cut all my hair off when my son was two months old- and I so regret it! I want pretty hair again!!!