A couple of months in now, Claire and I are starting to really get into a good rhythm. One where I have started to learn her quirks and how to work with her personality and needs rather than fight them. One where I am learning how to manage and balance life with an infant.
But as I look back over the weeks that led up to this point, one of the things that has helped so tremendously get to this point is one simple thing: Honesty.
Because it is hard.
So hard that I got to the point where I had to pack up and take my baby girl with me back to Ohio (where my parents live) so that I could have more round-the-clock help taking care of her. So hard that I started crying when I was at a post-baby shower for Claire at our church and supposed to be giving an update about life was going for us at that point.
As a new mom, I so desperately wanted to love this life of mine and float on clouds and mush-and-gush about my baby. But one afternoon, as I sobbed over not being able to get my baby to stop wailing, I finally couldn’t deny it any longer: I needed help. I couldn’t do this on my own. Mothering was harder than I’d ever imagined.
And so I called up my husband and my parents and told them how I was feeling, and you know what? The support I received released my fears and soothed my heart. I discovered that when I allowed myself to be honest, rather than fear appearing like a failure as a mom or like life has to be honky-dory.
With my baby in-tow, we boarded a plane and I spent the next three weeks with family, passing her off when I couldn’t soothe her and having someone else watch her while I rested. Slowly over those weeks, as I was able to get rest and watch others try to soothe her (and also fail at it!), I was able to become more of the mom I wanted to be: A happy mom. Because before I admitted how hard things were, I honestly wasn’t as happy as my daughter deserved.
But the little act of being honest opened the doors for that. It allowed me to be vulnerable and to realize I’m not alone and the façade that we see prancing around in baby stores and diaper commercials is just that: a façade. It may exist in reality for some parents, perhaps those with “angel babies” or those who are natural baby whisperers. But for the rest of us? I’ll say it again: It can be hard.
Discovering Peace and Freedom in Parenting by Learning to Surrender