We all learn things about ourselves when we move into a new phase in our lives – and parenting is no different. I, of course, have learned a lot of “deep” things about myself – like the type of parent I actually am versus what I thought I would be, but I want to document the top 10 things that have REALLY surprised me about myself.
10. I really enjoy being a SAHM. I never planned to stay home – that decision caught me completely off-guard and made me uncomfortable at first. But I really, really love it! I love spending every day with Matthew and watching him learn new things. I love hanging out with him and talking to him all day long. I don’t miss much about work because we still get lots of adult interaction with daily activities – and he and I are constantly interacting. We’re best buds!
9. I am an incredibly patient mother. For those who know me IRL, I am not a patient person – at all. I am not patient with myself, with others, with gadgets, or with certain situations. But I am so patient with my child. Very little gets me riled up and even when that happens, I shake it off almost instantly and can laugh out loud about it.
8. I have no control over so many things. Being a control freak, this has surprised me a lot. However, I think our IF experience prepared me for the lack of control I have in motherhood. Sure, I can control our schedule (for the most part), what Matthew eats, etc., but I can’t control when/how he gets hurt, when he’s fussy, when he can’t sleep, etc. I accept this and welcome it. I wasn’t always this way – Matthew’s sleep caused me much distress before he was sleep trained (and B and I had many conversations about how Matthew was not a robot and couldn’t sleep on demand – and I needed to accept that) but once we got past that, the lack of control I have as his mother is a non-issue.
7. I handle stressful situations much better than I ever thought I would. Matthew has been hurt a few times (fell down the stairs, fell out of the car, almost broke his ankle, tried knocking out his teeth two days in a row) and each time, I have not freaked out and I have kept it together. When he started choking twice, I knew exactly what to do and did it, without hesitation. When he had his ear infection, I knew right away what the problem was and how to help him. The only time I really felt helpless was when he was having what we think was a night terror and there was nothing to do but wait it out (but it was so sad to watch).
6. I am not a yeller. I was raised by yellers – we were yelled at all the time. I worried this would become a trait of mine because it “runs in the family,” right? My sisters are both yellers and there were clues early on in my childhood that I wasn’t going to be, but I wasn’t a parent yet so I really had no idea if I would become one or not. I have not. Whew! The only times I have yelled are when Matthew is in danger (about to put a power cord in his mouth that’s plugged in).
5. I can function on very little sleep. I am a night owl – if I could stay up until midnight every night, I would. In fact, most nights, I do. I’m changing this now because it’s just not healthy – but I like being up at night and sure there are moments that I’m tired after only 6 hours of sleep, but I’m never flat-out exhausted. Even pregnant, I’m not exhausted at the end of the day.
4. I still love my cats as much as I always have. I expected this to change – because everyone told me it would. But it hasn’t. I still worry about my old girl, Lily (who is diabetic), every single day. I still obsess over her behavior and have actually become more regular at giving her her insulin twice a day. I am just as in-tune to her now as I’ve always been. I still snuggle with Jackson every night when I climb into bed (sorry, B!). He and I still snuggle periodically throughout the day while Matthew naps. I still make sure to seek out Janie who tends to enjoy time alone and not on our laps. When I seek her out for one-on-one time, we both enjoy it so much (she’s in my lap right now as I write this). My kitties are still my 3 little besties – I just now have a fourth bestie as well.
3. I hate putting Matthew to bed. This is not because he makes bedtime difficult (he does not), but because I just hate the idea of putting him to bed and not being able to play with him anymore. I struggle with this for every nap and every bedtime – and it’s caused me to be the primary problem in getting him to bed on time. We are fixing that this week – he needs more sleep and I need to stop standing in his way of it. But it makes me sad.
2. I am a softie. Sure, I have my rules and Matthew is good at following them – but when he wants another Cutie orange, I can’t say no. When he wants more milk, I always say yes. When he wants to drive around to look for school busses or holiday lights, I oblige. I like him to be happy, and I tend to go over the top sometimes.
1. I love, and I mean LOVE, whole milk! I always thought whole milk was gross (because I was told it was – HA!). I always thought it would be like drinking cream. It’s not. It’s divine. It’s wonderful. It’s the best stuff in the world! I love to finish Matthew’s cups of milk that the straw can’t reach anymore. I love pouring myself a little bit when he gets his cup of milk in the afternoon. I love sipping it from his cup, in an attempt to get him drink more. I just love it – and I love yogurt that is made from whole milk.