Last October, I (Anna writing here) posted ten of the many questions I had as an expectant mother. So much has changed in the nine months since I wrote the original post! This post will tell us if all those anxious questions I had during my pregnancy were actually worth worrying about. Below are the things I've realized, just as all those moms who have come before me have.
1. Will I still love my work?
Yes! I still absolutely love teaching and researching. Finding the time to conduct said work is another story. While I was pregnant I thought that having a baby would change me so much that I wouldn't enjoy the things I did before baby came. In terms of work, this has not held true. Now I just need to learn how to accomplish my work while also being a mom. Trickier than I once imagined.
2. Will my husband and I struggle to find our joint parenting style?
Not yet, at least. The biggest struggle is probably with time management. Do we clean up the house, or relax and watch Mad Men? Mad Men has been winning the past couple of nights. We try to never have the tv on when Thomas is awake (and unfortunately, he's awake more than he should be! The stinker fights his sleep). Sweeping can wait.
3. Will I experience the love everyone describes they have for their children?
Yes, instantly, yes. Carol told me not to worry about this one, but for some odd reason I still did. One thing I have learned, however, is that even though the love is unconditional and so very, very strong, I still get frustrated with him. When his razor sharp nails claw me or he pulls my hair, I get a little peeved. When people kept saying, "it's different when it's your own kid," I thought it meant that these things wouldn't bother me. Wrong-o. But then he giggles and it doesn't matter anymore. Maybe that's what they meant?
4. Will my view of the world change? My thoughts on politics or religion?
Nope. I haven't experienced a shift in either of these views. Perhaps, though, my opinions have more depth to them these days.
5. Will I still like my regular tv shows?
Yes and no. I miss having the time to watch them. But if I missed an episode of my shows, it doesn't bother me. I didn't finish the seasons of several of what my favorite shows used to be. And I don't really care. I never thought I'd say that!
6. Will I finally feel like a grown up?
Absolutely not. I still look at Thomas and think, "could this seriously be my child?" Aren't I still 18 years old? Not by a decade, but it feel doesn't feel that way.
7. Will I remain connected with my friends?
Yes, I have definitely remained connected to my friends. One thing that has changed, however, is that I cannot just pick up and go anymore. It takes a long time to pack the little guy up. And as soon as we're ready to head out the door...whoops...someone needs their diaper changed again. My friends definitely accept my role as a mother and the best of friends even help out with Thomas. I love my friends for loving my baby.
8. Will my baby be as fun(ny), cute, and smart as my nephews?
He is, objectively (ha), the cutest, smartest, most fun baby that ever lived. Ever. Right up there with my nephews!
9. How will I ever survive without sleep?
Well, Thomas was an excellent sleeper for the first 4 months of his life. So, I think he eased us in quite gently. The past two months, on the other hand, have been more challenging. But each day we keep on going. Somehow. It must be one of life's little mysteries. It helps to hear people say, "this is just a phase." And I'm certainly trying to not wish away this very sweet phase of his, just because I'm not sleeping as well as I used to.
10. Will my husband and I still laugh multiple times a day? Will we adapt our rituals?
I can finally understand why, time and again, studies have found that the years with young children are some of the hardest for married couples. Yes, we laugh multiple times a day. But the laughter that was once directed toward each other is often focused on Thomas. He'll make a cute face or noise and we'll laugh. One of us will do something funny to make him laugh and then we're all laughing. Our house is full of joyful moments. But it is definitely much harder to have in-depth conversations with our new addition and work schedules. We always loved to take walks and talk together, and this ritual has only become more important to us. Only now, our walks have several purposes: getting or keeping Thomas sleepy, chatting, and exercise.
I admit, there are times when I miss the ease of my childless life, but I cannot imagine my life without my little pumpkin. What would I do without him? I never want to find out. Were all these things worth worrying about? I'm once again reminded that it all works out in the end, just the way it should.