Back in January, I vowed to make 2017 the year of “embracing my imperfections” and reminding myself that I am enough. It’s hard to even begin to describe how accurate this concept is for me in this season of life — as a first-time mom learning how to do this whole motherhood thing. And I’m seeing this more and more as the days, weeks and months go by. In a nutshell: the last week has been a doozie. I mean a real doozie, y’all. I’ve been tested in many ways… emotionally, physically, spiritually. I’ve ridden a roller coaster that so many of you can likely relate to; yet this seems to be my truest taste of imperfection to date in 2017.
Last week, Morgan had his first fall on my watch. There was blood, there were lots of tears (by both baby and mommy) and it wasn’t pretty. I’m fairly certain the blood won’t come out of my shirt either, so there’s that too. He fell on his face while crawling across the floor and busted his lip. His teeth are fine. There were no breaks in his skin. But it scared him beyond belief and his lip was black and blue.
Here’s the thing, I realize how small this really is in the large scheme of life. But as a first-time mom with a one-year-old running the house, this was the first experience I’ve had in which my heart literally fell out of my chest and burst into a million pieces at the sight of my son in that amount of pain and sadness. I don’t think I was prepared to feel what I felt in that moment. He was so broken up and it took everything in my power to remain calm (which let’s be honest, isn’t something I’m very good at) and problem solve (also not very good at that). Thankfully I learned very quickly that day how resilient babies really are. He went from zero to 100 in a split second then back down to zero after the storm settled and he had plenty of cuddles and a little quiet time.
I’m not sure how we both survived to tell the tale, but the good news is we did.
Fast forward a few days and he comes down with his first sickness that isn’t just the common cold. After fighting to give him Motrin (he is so strong… it kills me every. single. time.) and then having a semi-restless night followed by a trip to the doctor, we learned he had a good old-fashioned case of hand foot and mouth. Sigh. Then I started thinking: where could he have possibly gotten this? He doesn’t go to daycare, hasn’t been to playgroup this week, nothing really out of the ordinary… Then it hits me — I took him to the daycare at the gym for the FIRST TIME EVER last week. [face palm]
I know what you guys must be thinking. Hello, your kid is going to get sick! Cut yourself some slack! It’s fine! Guys, I know. I get it. It’s good for his immune system. He needs to be exposed to germs. I know, I know, I know. And here’s the thing: I’m really not crazy about things like this. I’ve taken him pretty much everywhere… I let him crawl around at the airport, eat straight off the table at restaurants and regularly give him things that fall on the floor because it’s just easier to keep him happy than it is to clean it off or get a new one. Let’s be honest, there likely isn’t a week that goes by when he doesn’t gnaw on the handle of a shopping cart, too.
But watching him go through both of these things over the last week broke my heart.
Seeing him go an entire day without eating broke my heart.
Listening to him cry uncontrollably for me to fix his pain broke my heart.
Again, I’m not sure how we both survived to tell the tale, but the good news is we did.
The moral of the story?
I’m not perfect.
I’m far from perfect. I don’t always have my eyes on him even when I’m in the same room. I don’t always stay calm when he cries. I can’t always tell when I should take him to the doctor or just give him some cuddles, a dose of Motrin and let him sleep it off. I don’t always understand what he’s trying to tell me. There are days when we don’t do anything overly fun or active. There are days when he only sees the sunshine from our front porch. There are days when he eats more Cheerios than I care to admit.
I’m not perfect.
But over the last week I’ve been a pretty damn good mom, and I’ve actually surprised myself in the process. I often remind myself that God gives me what he knows I can handle — and while it wasn’t super scary or dangerous or life-threatening or really, truly unbelievable, I think I needed this week to remind myself that I am enough.
Like many of you reading this, I’m guessing pretty much all day long, 99% of the time. And what I’ve realized over the last week is this: being enough for myself and my family (no matter how perfectly imperfect I may be) is our kind of perfect.
There’s no doubt that it’s heartbreaking to watch your little one cry and hurt when you are his lifelong protector. But I’m learning that these new experiences bring so much opportunity to learn and grow as a parent. Life as Morgan’s mom is just getting started, and I know that there’s so much ahead for us when it comes to imperfect days, bumps and bruises, sickness and tears. My patience and strength were certainly tested over the last week. Yet it’s reassuring and comforting to know that while I’m not sure how we both survived to tell the tale, the good news is we did.
If you can relate to this on any level (whether you have fur babies or no babies or a million babies!) I’d love to learn how you power through those trying moments as a parent and person. What keeps your head above water? How do you embrace your imperfections? Have you surprised yourself in the process?
PS, I can’t believe that Morgan was ever that little… Wishing time would slow down!