To Create & To Conquer: One Year as a SAHM

It has been officially one year since I began a lovely little journey called stay at home momhood. It has held many questions marks, but boy oh boy the learning experiences that have been immersed during this past year. I never imagined I would have a year like this one. If you would have told me five years ago that I would quit my job to stay home with my child, I would have adamantly denied and laughed at you, as five years ago I was all like "heck to the no" towards the whole procreating business. My perspective has changed obviously. When you marry a guy who has the cutest big, brown eyes ya ever did see, the thought can't help but pop into your head about what those would look like on a baby, even though our daughter has my baby blues, still, I couldn't help myself. So here I am a year into this adventure, still feeling all kinds of bright-eyed and bushy tailed cause lets be honest, as my daughter ages its as if my learning curve starts all over again, just as I feel like I'm getting the hang of things. God love that ever growing little girl. 

I have been asked several times by folks what I wish I would have known at the very beginning of SAHM-hood. Well, here it is. My take. 

Messiness. Ya know that feeling you get after you have completed cleaning your living room? Everything is tidy, organized, I mean you feel as thought you could eat straight off your coffee table. Its a beautiful feeling. Well...kids don't care about any of that. The moment you leave that room feeling all kinds of accomplished, they will nonchalantly find there way in that room as quickly as humanly possible, and mess it up. They can't help it, and ya know what, you shouldn't fight it either.  Now I'm not saying letting your child paint on the walls or anything but motherhood and having a pristine household are not synonymous with one another, accept it and pick your house up at the end of the day and start fresh the next. At the same time, set yourself up for success, every couple of weeks, go through rooms and baby stuff that you no longer need. Keep things functional, not perfect. Live knowing that at some point the messiness will be remedied and your household cleanliness will eventually be restored...if only for a few hours.

Make and Reach YOUR Goals. I like to work towards goals, this aspect of my personality has been honed following years and years of being underestimated by others. Thank you very much. When I began staying home full time, I mulled over what part of being at home would be for me and my time. I mean, I hope this doesn't come off too selfish but also it pretty much is. Though I love being a wife and mother, what part of my days can I set aside for things I want to pursue. Now, this means a lot of things to different people, but for me, it required a lot of soul searching, and still I have no clue what I want to do half the time. I love my family. I love to laugh and make others laugh. I love to write. I have realized that carving out a specific amount of time for me to cultivate and utilize my creativity is part of what makes me so self assured as a mother. The idea that I am working towards something I want, doing it, and illustrating to my child that if they work hard, try and fail, try and succeed, that they can do what they want in life. 

Maturity. Hmm, maturity as a parent. What does that mean exactly? Well, I can tell ya what it entails for me. Developing more maturity as a parents has been intentionally defining healthy habits and modeling the best behavior for myself and my child. Maturity, for me, means getting up at least an hour before my child does so I can actually look like I have it together by brushing my hair and not just wearing athletic clothes when I have no intention of doing an ounce of exercise that day. Maturity, for me, is checking my attitude and anxiety constantly and understanding that those little eyes aren't just gonna see me at my best but also at my worst. Although, I never want to relay any impression that perfection is what we should always aim for, I do want to encourage her to develop her best self, and therefor, I need to continue to develop my best self and be mindful of the things I can control such as my bad habits. 

Maternal Love. My love for this little girl is spherical. It is round and full, and seems to extend beyond every aspect of my being. Some days I feel as though it might swallow me clean whole. This past year I have learned that the picture of what loving her looks like evolves as she learns and continues to test boundaries and know right from wrong. For example, my girl is an adventurer. She loves to climb and she is pretty confident at it which scares the bajesussss out of her dad and me. Part of expressing my love for her is redirecting her when she could hurt herself and showing concern for her well-being. There are a lot less moments these days were we can just rock her in our arms and she just gazes up at us sweetly. Trust me, we still get plenty of sweet gazes, but now we get her playful maniacal laugh, get to hear her small flat feel run through our apartment, and I get the pleasure of reminding her a hundred times a day that she needs to look a head while walking and not gaze quickly at the many things around or, much like her mother, she will inevitably trip and fall. 

For those of us who have never worn our hearts on our sleeves, I have begun too. I guess, parenting does that to a person. I have freely expressed and imparted my emotions for this little girl, like no one else I have ever known before. I guess its just part of the cost to becoming a sold-out, love stricken, Pooh and Tigger watching, fairy-tale reading, hand holding, tear-wiping...mom. 

Photo credit: Victoria Bardega Photography

Photo credit: Victoria Bardega Photography

Travis Cooper