This post doesn’t need much of an intro: motherhood changes a lot. Here are three things I never, EVER saw coming in my life.
1. I never thought I’d purposefully sing horribly to my child.
I have a decent singing voice. I grew up singing in show choir and concert choir and church. When I pictured motherhood, I always imagined myself sitting in a rocking chair and singing to my baby while I fed him/her. Our bond would be unbreakable, my music beautiful.
In reality, my voice puts Zoe to sleep immediately.
SOOOO during our feedings, I have to sing to her like Gloria from “Modern Family” to keep her awake. Here’s a snapshot:
Avoid our house at mealtimes unless you have ear plugs and an internal well of patience. If you’re tone deaf, on the other hand, feel free to stop by.
2. I never thought I’d drive with my newborn on the Interstate.
The Interstate is my personal nightmare. On occasion, I will very begrudgingly hop on, but the entire time I pray GODPLEASHELPMENOTGETHITBYTHESEIDIOTSOHGODPLEASE, maniacally sing songs trying to ignore my fear, and take deep breaths to try to stop my hyperventilating and sweating. It’s a roller coaster ride for me, one I thought I’d avoid with my children. Because generally, adults should seem calm and in control around kids, right?
But last week, I piled the tiny love of my life in the back of the car for an Interstate drive. To pick up breast milk.
Yup. You read that correctly. We are supplementing Zoe’s formula-based diet with donated breast milk from two healthy friends. One of them had her baby 9 days ago and messaged me when she got home from the hospital last week: I have about 10 ounces of rich yellow transitional milk. If you want it, it’s yours.
Of course I wanted this precious milk. The only problem: our friend lives about 45 minutes away by Interstate, an hour plus by alternate routes…and Zoe eats every 3 hours. If we wanted the milk…I had to face my fears.
So my baby and I set out on a terrifying Interstate adventure. For breast milk.
Never thought I’d write that sentence.
It ended up going okay. I sang Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” over and over and over again, hoping Zoe couldn’t sense my nervousness as I defensively drove like our lives depended on it. BECAUSE THEY DID. (Florida drivers, would it kill you not to read the newspaper while driving 70 mph?!!)
3. I never thought I’d become a stay at home mom.
I NEVER in a million years thought that I would claim this job title. I loved my job and was thrilled to have the opportunities that I did there. But having Zoe has changed so much for me.
It’s you and me, kid. Get used to it.
I could talk about this decision for hours (and I did.) But the main point is this: God led me to this decision.
Staying at home was definitely not my starting point, definitely not in my plans, and definitely not something I really WANTED to consider, to be honest…so for me to even begin considering it was a miracle. For me to feel peace and joy about it was truly God’s direction in my life, His gentle whispering of better plans than my own, His gentle question: will you surrender to me?
The stubborn part of me would like to say I fought Him hard, but I didn’t. Instead, I followed his direction to think about the kind of mom I want to be.
I want to be present, non-stressed, joyful, and energetic—a mom who has time to answer all the “whys” and to play and to smile. I want to be the one who teaches my child about God and how life works—because I don’t know if someone else will teach her what I want her to know. I want to be consistent for her, available to her—not just home for breakfast, dinner, bath, and bed. I want to give Zoe rich experiences with her extended family—which is difficult to manage with two full-time jobs when none of our family lives within driving distance.
As I honestly surveyed my life, I knew that if I continued in my level of position, I would not have the energy or time I want to spend with Zoe or my family. Many women can work full time and be great moms, but I care so much about my work that I end up sucking at managing my work-related stress and pressures and setting boundaries. David’s summer travel schedule and school schedule are not conducive to me working full time with a daughter. Our family would have to sacrifice too much just so I could be “professionally fulfilled” and so that we could have a little more money. Zoe deserves better. David deserves better. I deserve a better experience as a mother, and honestly, my heart yearns to be with her.
So last week, I resigned from my position.
Thankfully, my boss was open to me continuing with our organization in a very part time consulting role! So I will be working 5-8 hours/week, mostly from home, doing some public speaking/training, some program evaluation, and some grant writing. This means I can obey the pounding in my heart, but still stay involved with the organization I love and keep my toe in the “professional water.” I couldn’t be more pleased.
I was talking with a friend on Friday and she said she had been praying almost every day for six weeks for my heart to be open because she felt that I needed that prayer, whatever it meant. I know what it meant, and I am just so thankful for the power of prayer, the loving act of people praying for me, and God’s quiet, gentle grace as He makes us into the people He wants us to be.
Motherhood has been full of fantastic surprises, and I’m excited for the next batch of surprises to come.