The realization that you’re a mom seems to sink in over time. When you find out you’re pregnant you “know” you’re a mom, if not then, when you hold your baby for the first time. But feeling like a mom, or viewing yourself as a mom takes time, at least for me it does. My son is going to be two soon and this whole mom thing is still new to me. There have been little things along away that remind me of my mommy status. Fading stretch marks on my abdomen, bathing a poop covered baby at 2am, finally seeing the inside of a mommy/baby nursing room at the mall, yelling “stop putting raisins in your nose!” in the middle of a crowded room, etc. Although the most pleasant reminder is waking up to my happy little man calling “Mommmyyy” at 7am.
For myself, and many other moms I know, we can get caught up in the day to day duties of being mom (or a dad for you dad’s out there). Cooking, cleaning, play dates, running errands with kids in tow, and some days just praying to make it to bedtime. I faintly remember those first few months with Cohen, the sleepless nights, painful breastfeeding, attempting to a console an unconsolable baby…to be fair these memories are fading and replaced with memories of cuddling my tiny baby. I think we’re wired to forget the torture we underwent during the first six months, so that we become crazy enough to want another baby whenever we’re around newborns, strollers, or baby clothes. Despite what good or bad memories I have I still know it’s worth it.
I knew my life had changed forever, not when I held my son for the first time, but when I realized that my priorities had changed. Everything began to center around my son and what is best for him. As a mom I’ve been given an amazing gift but also, I believe the hardest job anyone can have (this goes for dad’s too!), and I only get one shot to do the best I can to prepare my little man for the real world. To be a man of a God, a man who contributes to society, a man who stands up for his rights and the rights of others, and a man who might one day become a father and raise kids of his own.
I know he’s only two, and right now our days consist of playing, eating, and sleeping. I know life will change as he gets older and begins different stages in his life, but here are eight points or promises that I want to make to myself and my son (when he can understand them) that I hope will not only get us through our day to day lives right now, but also prepare him for his future.
1. I will always try to be quick to listen (really listen) and slow to speak when you’re telling me about a problem or expressing your opinion. Easier said than done, especially for me, but an important step to practice every single day.
2. I will never intentionally put you down or make light of your problems or interests. What matters to you, matters to me and I am your biggest fan no matter what your age.
3. I will attempt to always discern whether you need a listening ear, encouragement, a hug, some time alone, or advice (which could be in the form of parental guidance when needed).
4. I will encourage you to be silly, pretend, and have fun, without saying the words “grow up”.
5. When I make a mistake or wrong you in any way I will acknowledge my mistake and say I’m sorry and ask for your forgiveness. Parents make mistakes too.
6. I will try and teach you certain values that your dad and I hold close, and show you how important they are by example. I have always hated the saying “Do as I say, not as I do.”
7. I will let you fall, be rough, get hurt, and make mistakes even though my instinct is to want to protect you from Everything. Experience is the best teacher.
8. At this time you’re only two, and your father and I are your whole world. Eventually that will change and you will need us less and less, and when that time comes I promise to let go.
Son, if you ever read this list you have complete permission to remind me of all of these promises when I need to hear it. Until then, Happy Birthday Cohen. Your dad and I love you more than you’ll ever know, although I think you’ll have a pretty good idea of how much we love you when you have a little one of your own someday.