Friday, August 19, 2011

The sacrifices of a mother

Over the past couple of days, a few things have happened, and Jason and I have had a few conversations, that have me thinking about the sacrifices you make as a mom (or a dad, but, honestly, I think more so as a mom). They aren’t necessarily huge things, but it’s funny how motherhood makes a woman sort of morph into this person who puts this other person first, without even necessarily thinking about it. I honestly never thought I’d become one of those people, but I sort of have.

Today, I gave up the chance at about 3 hours alone while Michaela should’ve been at her Mom’s Day Out to do the right thing – which was to put her back to bed when she got up in time to go because she was definitely still too tired to be awake yet. She just started the MDO program on Wednesday - about three months after we originally planned to get her into something like that – and I was definitely looking forward to my second day of being able to do what I needed to without having to drag a toddler along. But it wasn’t to be for today. In fact, another one of the things I gave up was more time alone over this past summer because I (we) chose to spread out Michaela’s vaccines a bit so she had to wait until the Fall term instead of doing the summer program like we’d originally planned. Then there’s the money that’s spent on cute shoes and clothes for her instead of me, the hours spent in the pool when the last thing I want to do is swim again but it makes her so happy, the endless loop of the “First Nursery Rhymes” CD in the car, the… well, you get it. And, really, these aren’t conscious decisions to put her first. They really just happen. And honestly I’m a little surprised to realize how often I do this stuff!

One of the biggest reasons why we waited so long to have a child was because I was totally not ready (read: unwilling) to give up a lot of the things that I wanted to do for myself. We were enjoying unencumbered travel. We were advancing in our careers. We were dropping everything at a moment’s notice (or as “moment’s notice” as you can get when trying to coordinate two military schedules) to go away for a weekend, or just to head out in the morning and not come back all day. We were enjoying two paychecks and only two people to spend them on. We were having FUN.

And then one day, having a kid seemed like a good idea all of a sudden (ask me about my favorite red wine analogy on being ready for a kid sometime). I think I finally realized that giving up some of those things would be ok. Because I knew from the start that motherhood would mean giving things up. (Ever met someone who didn’t realize that? It’s a sure sign of not really being ready, if you ask me… thinking that your whole life will go along like it was!) But I don’t think I realized how far the “giving up” goes.

Like I said, it’s not necessarily the big things. Really, with the exception of the unencumbered travel and the second paycheck, we haven’t really given up a whole lot of big things. It’s just all the little things… the things that made me even think about this in the first place. The things that make me wonder where this mom in me came from. And the things that make me wonder why I’m ok with all this sacrifice as long as it keeps my kid happy and healthy.

Who the heck is this me and where did she come from? I have to say; I don’t hate this me, though. I’m pleasantly surprised with myself and the fact that all of that not being ready (again, read: willing) to have a baby for a really long time (for the love of Pete – we’d been married for 10 years when she finally got here!) all disappeared as soon as she got here. I’m not going to say I don’t have my own little internal tantrum every now and again when I can’t do something I want to do just for me, but for the most part, this is just the way it goes – the mommy sacrificing - and it’s all good in my book.