It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that my maternity leave is nearing its end. We are so, so fortunate in Canada to be afforded a full year to spend at home with our babies – never take that for granted, my Canadian-parental-peers! What I have been able to witness because I have had this time with my son is nothing short of amazing. He went from being this smushy bald wee nugget to a strong, curious, and happy – so, so happy! -ginger-haired little guy whose daily mission it is to explore as many parts of his world as he possibly can. And lucky me – I had a front row seat to his show 🙂
To say the past year has been a learning curve would be a ridiculous understatement. Amid the many, many lessons I expected to learn about caring for a baby, the year held some unanticipated lessons, too. For example, did you know that prunes are dried plums??? Er, so did I…
On a more serious note, I learned a lot about the various relationships in my life. Being a mom has strengthened the bonds I have with my girlfriends who have been mothers for awhile. I finally understand why I didn’t hear from you much the year
Mr. P was born, Mel. It only took 8 years…but I get it now! And other friendships have deepened because of the support and compassion offered to me while I navigated the ups and downs of new parenthood. I made some amazing new friends – other mamas on maternity leave who shared many ideas and resources with me, not to mention added a lot of laughter and fun to our days.
On the flip side, not all of my relationships were strong enough to withstand my neglect, or my anxiety. And that’s ok. Some relationships have expiry dates, and we have to let them go .
Perhaps the most important relationship lesson I learned has to do with my husband. If you were to google ‘control freak’, I wouldn’t be surprised if a picture of me popped up in the results. Having my son put my controlling tendencies into overdrive. (Thanks for pointing that out, Dad…) I wanted everything done a certain way (uh hem, that would be my way). This approach to parenting – the ‘Mommy is the only one who knows best’ way – seriously undermines a dad’s intelligence and innate ability to keep his child happy, healthy, and safe. Learning how to hand over the control to my husband has shown him that I trust and value his abilities as a dad. Which I always did and made sure to tell him…but this is definitely one of those times when actions speak louder than words. Don’t get me wrong…sometimes I literally have to bite my tongue to the point it bleeds so I don’t point out the
better more logical way I would do it, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
I also learned that I need to be more than a mama. That lesson was a hard one for me to process…admitting it made me feel guilty, like I was somehow betraying my son, declaring him ‘not enough’ to sustain my happiness or fulfill me. But you know what? I was other things before he became my world. I was a wife, and a teacher, and a runner, aspiring to be a good cook with the most organized closets on the block. I had ambitions beyond learning how to make baby food (btw – turns out you just stick regular food in the blender and it comes out as baby food). I may never be able to run another half marathon or return to 100% plant-based eating, but I owe it to my son, and more importantly, to myself, to recognize the calmness and happiness those things bring to my life, and make time for them. Ultimately my son wins from having a happy, fit mama who doesn’t define her existence by his every move.
I learned this year that there are a lot – a hella lot – of amazing bloggers putting their expertise out into cyberspace for consumption and critique on a daily basis. Many of them have a lot more to say about teaching/organization/mamahood/fitness/etc than me, and they say it really, really well. Those writers are investing a lot of time and creativity, working hard to build a brand for themselves and carve out a niche as the ‘go to’ blog for whatever it is they preach and practice. And as much as I have opinions and ideas and experiences to share, I am also protective of my family’s privacy, somewhat shy, maybe a little attention-challenged, and I go to bed at 9pm. Suffice it to say, it’s doubtful I will ever invest enough time or energy to become anyone’s ‘go to’ blog. I can accept that.
I still consider my brief foray into the blogging world a success though, even if only 20 non-family members follow me (and I appreciate every single one of you!). My mom is a talented artist and my dad creates beautiful things with wood and concrete; I often wondered how I didn’t get the creativity gene. While this blog is not a piece of art, this year of blogging has reminded me that I am not actually creatively-impaired. Writing it has been a creative outlet during a year when I really needed something that was just for me, and while I may not continue to write so publicly, I will definitely continue to write.
My sincere thanks to those who took the time to read a post or two or thirty.