Ten years. Ten years ago today, my soul was born. My eldest son came into the world two weeks early, keeping pace with a freight train making up for lost time–0r it seemed at the time. Everything went so fast. I was laboring at home, insisting on a “natural” birth one minute, and the next minute I was convinced that I was going to deliver our first child on the bathroom floor. Bacon Slayer called 911 to have someone talk him through the delivery, and they told him to get me to a hospital because it would be awhile before they could “get to us.”
What?! That’s not how it happens in the movies!! I guess that was to be expected at the time–living in what was once the murder capital of the country. We did make it to the hospital in our rented Cadillac. Luckily it was 2 miles away. (No, we weren’t trying to arrive in style, we had a rental because someone had stolen my Jeep the week before.) My water broke the second I stepped out of the car. (Saved the rental’s leather seats!) Fifteen minutes later, we were first time parents. I changed into a hospital gown and filled out all of the necessary hospital paperwork after Son #1 was born.
Fast! It’s funny now, because my eldest came out in a hurry, and hasn’t slowed down much since.
Prior to his birth, we had talked at great length about what we were going to do after our first child was born. We were pretty sure that I would quit my job. We were debt free with the exception of our mortgage. We had a nice nest-egg in the bank. I’ll be honest though–I wasn’t really definitive about leaving my job until almost the end of my maternity leave. I was torn. I didn’t know who I would trust with my baby. My sweet, wonderful, colicky baby. Who would love and care for him like I would? Who would put up with the endless crying and still be able to give him what he needed? On the other hand, could we really survive a 60% pay cut? But did I want to work just so that I could pay someone else to raise my child? I’m not judging here–these were the thoughts going through my head.
I was so stressed out and hormonal.
My baby was colicky and cried all. the. time. Only I thought continuous crying was normal because Son #1 was my sole reference to all things baby. Couple the crying with the fact that he rarely slept more than 45 minutes at a time, I was an emotional wreck!
I was worried about the cut in income. I was worried about whether or not I could do it all day long. At home. With an infant. Every day. I wondered what we could possibly do all day. (Ha!!) After a lot of prayer, I walked into work on the last day of my maternity leave with a resignation letter in hand. In retrospect, I wish that I would have handled that better, but at the time I just didn’t know how. If you’ve ever been a hormonal first time mom, you know what I mean; everything you thought you ever knew about the world is gone. Poof! Right out of your brain as if it never existed.
The first year was hard. I mean really difficult. I stumbled through motherhood and what I thought it meant to be a stay-at-home mom. I adjusted to being “just a housewife.” I think more than anything, I struggled internally with my own ego. I wasn’t contributing financially to our household. That was huge. I had been an educated career woman, and now what was I? Just a wife. Just a mother. Just? What about friends? I worked primarily with men. Calling them with my hormonal insecurities kind of gave them the hee-bee-gee-bees.
Suffice it to say, it was a year of great self discovery and reflection. (The idea of motherhood as a vocation came to me much, much later.) Thank GOD that I married a loving and patient man. He listened to all of my daily doubts and foibles. He smiled and hugged me. He believed in me. I remember once being reduced to tears, yet again, lamenting about all that I didn’t get done that day. He just held me and said, “Did you take care of our son today?” He knew the answer was yes. That resonated with me. That was my turning point. As long as I took care of our son, I was valuable. I was contributing.
That same night I went to a nearby Hallmark store. A flyer was posted on the door for a new mom’s club starting in the area. I was so excited that I took the flyer off the door and went straight home to call the first name listed. The first meeting was two days away. I could do that. The Mom’s Club introduced me to many women in my same position. We were all new at this. We all struggled with the same issues. It was the great women of the Mom’s Club that really cemented my confidence with my new “job.” We were in this together. We bounced ideas, kid behaviors, and quirks off each other. Those women were my lifeline to sanity in the early years. It was so comforting to know that no matter what was going on at home, one of my friends had been there. I am still in touch with many of my “first time mom” friends, and I treasure that connection.
And now I sit, ten years later, wondering where the time went. I laugh at my early insecurities. My sweet, eldest boy is such a confident, funny, intelligent, and creative young man. My soul is connected to his on a level that I never imagined possible. How can he be ten when he was just born? Has it really been ten years? For as quickly as the time has passed, it’s hard to imagine our lives any other way. My husband is amazing. He has been our sole means of financial support for ten years. In the early years, that meant working multiple jobs. He has never complained or wavered on his commitment to our family. He just does what needs to be done so that I can do my job and take care of our boys. I am comfortable in my domesticity, in large part, because of him. Our family is a team effort, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.