I went through a cycle of Baby Fever recently. I thought I wanted another baby. As it turns out, I am nowhere near ready for another baby. I don't even like most kids who are not Lily Ruth... Oh well. Whilst in the grasp of Baby Fever, I couldn't think of much else beside babies, so I started this post. Since my opinion is paramount (this IS my blog, after all :-P)... and sometimes publishing your moments of folly is just as important as publishing your milestones and proud moments... I'm going to include this post after all.
I asked a lot of questions of my family and friends before I decided that I was ready for a baby. I find that I am asked the same types of questions now that I am a mama. I think I am comfortable with my answers...
I was 'anti-baby' for a lot of years. I wasn't even happy for my friends who decided to have babies! I'm pretty sure that I 'ruined' more than one announcement from a good friend with something along the lines of 'OH, wow. Is this something you really want?!' Then one day, I wanted a baby... or I thought I might... so, 'How do you know if you want a baby?' This was a really tough issue for me. Was it just hormones or biological clock or did I really want a baby? For me, when I thought of having a baby as a positive thing more often than a negative thing, I realized that I was about to be ready for this. The more time that passed, the more positive I was, and then I was ready. Of course, as soon as I decided that I was ready, and we decided to start trying, then I became obsessed - but I think that's pretty typical :-)
The biggest worry for me before Lily Ruth arrived, was 'How do you know you're ready to handle a baby - I mean REALLY handle the day-to-day?' My answer - you just are. It's like any other aspect of life. You make your decision, and you follow through. You decide that you want a baby, then you move forward. The rest is just living. There are days when the baby is crying and you're exhausted and frustrated and freaked out and you may even be thinking 'there is no way I can do this!', but you do. You take a deep breath and you do it. There will be days when that's the best that you can do. There will also be days when that deep breath will lead to some of the most amazing moments in your life.
The thing that my child-less friends ask the most is 'Where does the patience come from?' Let me tell you, this is my biggest struggle every. single. day. I guess my answer is that it is a conscious choice. I am not magically patient because I gave birth. For example: a snapshot from a recent week: a scream-fest (possibly due to teething). On Monday, I had to load my baby in and out of a Mini Cooper (opening and closing the top each time or wrenching my back by loading her in from the driver's side - ugh!) every time we wanted to go somewhere because Daddy needed my car. Lily Ruth accidentally broke my cheap but sentimental Hawai'ian bracelet during a public display of will, and I was so hot that I was sure I was about to melt. I wanted to rant, scream, shake her, and maybe even march her out while holding her arm in an angry manner. But I did not. I squatted down, told her that I loved her, cleaned up my beads, and walked out cuddling my baby. My original reaction wouldn't have accomplished anything positive, and it would have modeled inappropriate behavior for my little sponge. Plus, I love her, why would I want to hurt her? It was a very focused choice to behave positively - and it was a hard one. Do I make the right choice every time? Uh, no, but I think that I'm able to so so more often than not... and more often than I used to. The patience comes because you decide to use it.
So there you have it. Mama Rachel Explains it ALLLLLLL. That's right, I know everything. Ask me a question... no, not that one... pick another one... an easier one...