It hit me the other day, as I sat on the sideline of a volleyball game feeding my son, that motherhood has really changed my life. I knew this already, of course. But as I sat there on a beautiful summer day watching my friends and family run, jump and play in such a carefree manner, I realized how little freedom I have. The idea of doing whatever I want, whenever I want, is a distant memory. And you know what? I’m OK with that.
I have to sit out when my family plays yard games because my toddler would try to steal the bean bags, would get knocked over on the volleyball court, or would run directly into whatever body of water is near him if I took my eyes off him for 10 seconds. I’m OK with sitting out.
I have to tell our friends that we won’t be staying late at the party because my son falls asleep best when I am there with him. I’m OK with coming home early.
I have to make sure that we are either in a car or back home twice a day so my son will take a good nap. Usually when I think he will take a nap, he doesn’t, which tends to postpone our plans and interfere with just about every weekend plan we have. I’m OK with messing up plans.
I have to keep in mind how much money a baby costs. I have to consider things I once never had to think twice about: do I really need to get my hair done? Do I need that new outfit? Is it wise to go on a weekend trip? We have to live a different type of life financially, and I have to keep a tighter budget in mind so that we can pay our bills. I’m OK with a budget.
I have to limit how much I work so that I can be home with my son when he needs me and when daycare and my husband aren’t available. I always thought I would be a full-time working woman. I never desired to stay home with my kids, even part-time. I have a totally different perspective now, as I see that this works best for my family. I’m OK with changing my career plans.
I have to wake up when my baby isn’t sleeping, which for us is all the time. I haven’t slept through the night in a year and a half. I don’t even think my body would let me sleep that long even if I could. I’m OK with not sleeping.
The truth is, I’m OK with all of these things because I know these precious moments will not last forever. Someday I will get all my freedom back and I’ll be heartbroken as I reminisce on these days with my beautiful baby boy. I’ll want to hold his little body again, read him books even when it’s super inconvenient and rock him to sleep.
The funny thing is, I could easily get a babysitter so I could do these things more often. I could ask someone else to watch him while I go play, and sometimes I do. But that’s the thing about us moms. Even though the work is so draining and the freedom is limited, we want to do it. We want to do the dirty work of raising our babies. Even though the volleyball game might look fun, I want to be the one feeding my baby on the sideline. I want to be the one who stays up all night with him. I want to change my whole life so he lives a better one. Moms were made for this type of sacrifice. It’s not work, it’s love.
So I’m not just OK with these things, I’m incredibly grateful for them.