My Nine-Month-Old Has Made Me...


Being a mom has been a dream of mine since I was a child. My mother stayed home with us four kids - yikes, 4?! Hers was the first face I saw in the morning. She cooked us breakfast, drove us to school, and picked us up at the end of each day. She watched our week-day sporting events, brought us forgotten projects, was there for every afternoon concert, and cooked us a home-cooked meal every night. She was so happy to do it; and it showed. It appeared effortless for her. It was her calling, for sure. Her joy in it was infectious. We were thick as thieves, and I always knew I wanted to be there for my own daughter in that very same way

So, I guess more specifically, I've always wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom. Just like mine was.


But, turns out, it's harder than she made it look. Being a SAHM is hard- particularly when your family isn't close by; which was the case for my mother as well. It can be lonely; it can be exhausting; it can be thankless at times. But being a mom is also filled with joy and love; successes and growth. Being MM's mom has forced me to step outside my comfort zone in order to succeed the way my own mother did; to create the kind of happy childhood for her that I had. Changing at 31 can be hard too- but it's possible. And these changes, while making this job all that much easier, have consequently made me a better version of myself along the way.

Here are five ways my daughter has made me a better person:

1. Extroverted-Introvert: I'm shy. I'm an introvert. I can spend hours by myself- I sometimes make myself laugh out loud when I'm alone. But being home all day, most days, with a little human that is not yet verbal can get lonely. This has encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone- introduce myself to other moms carrying babies on hips, participate in music classes and play dates. I do this part for my sanity, but mostly because it's for the good of my daughter. And, turns out, being social isn't so scary after all. Yes, my nine-month-old has turned me into an extroverted-introvert.

2. An apple a day: I've mentioned before how motherhood has made me aware of the importance of taking care of myself. I've always been a dieter, but since she's arrived I've been focused more on eating healthy rather than skinny. And now that MM has started on solids, I've become even more educated on what exactly eating "healthy" entails. In my pre-baby life this would include skinny cow ice cream cones, Diet Coke and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Would I give this to my kid? Heck no. So I probably shouldn't eat them either. My nine-month-old has made me a little more inclined to grab a banana over Baked Lays.  Because of my nine-month old, I {try to} eat an apple a day.

3. Get up and move: I'm always amazed when I meet people that have a Peg Bundy impression of stay-at-home-motherhood; just a gal, sitting on the couch watching Netflix and chilling. If I'm being honest, I thought it would be more Netflix than it actually is. But no, it's just not the case. In fact, I don't think I've been so active in my life. If I'm not crawling on the floor, walking up and down stairs holding a human weight, or dancing the Hot Dog Dance, then I'm walking around the park, pushing a stroller, hoping she'll take a nap. Yep, my nine-month-old has made this mama get up and move.

4. Don't sweat the small stuff: I thought I was beyond the phase where I got pissed on in the middle of the night while changing a diaper? Not so much, kid. My nine-month-old requires me not to sweat the small stuff- I'd go crazy if I did.

5. I wanna see you be brave: Nothing has tested my courage like motherhood. It has forced me to face some of my deepest fears- about my strengths, my health, my intuitions, my limitations and my boundaries. In situations both mundane and critical- I'm asked to be courageous daily. But I don't have time to worry about fears or be scared; I have a little girl to raise. And my nine-month-old needs me to be brave.