I'm almost two months into this whole "raising another human being" adventure. Honestly? So far it's easier than I thought it would be, but that's only because I imagined it being impossibly hard. That's not to say that it's been easy, just easier than I envisioned.
I'd heard horror stories of babies crying for hours on end, no sleep for parents, and painful recoveries from birth. I've been blessed with a sweet, non-fussy baby, a husband whose work let him take a full three weeks off and then go to part time for another six weeks, a mother who cooked every meal for us for the first week, friends who brought meals for the following two weeks, and a smooth recovery from birth (it helps when there is no tearing involved). We're just now settling into our new "normal" as Henry is back at work (part time, but for him that still means 30 hours plus a week--one week he worked close to 60 hours), I'm once again responsible for feeding our family, and the newness is wearing off as the reality sets in.
There are days when I feel like I've got the hang of this whole parenting thing and then there are days when it's all I can do to get us fed and make it through the day. My best days include the following:
(1) Putting on really clothes instead of staying in my pajamas.
(2) Eating a real lunch instead of snacking all day.
(3) Limiting the amount of time I surf the internet/facebook.
(4) Keeping the house relatively straightened. I always feel more productive when things are orderly.
(5) Reading a book for fun.
Learning how to use a ring sling has made our lives infinitely easier. I now go on a walk with HP every morning, which has been a great way to meet the neighbors, get some exercise, and establish a rhythm in the morning. HP isn't a big fan of the sling if I'm not moving, so he only puts up with it for so long when I'm cooking or doing other chores around the house. It's a start.
The biggest challenge for me has been finding the balance between my needs, HP's needs, Henry's needs, and our needs as a couple. I am a big believer in not having a child-centric life to the exclusion of everything else. Of course HP has a lot of immediate needs that can't be ignored, but that doesn't mean that we can't intentionally carve out time and space for ourselves as individuals and as a couple. I'm still trying to figure out how to make it all work in this season of our lives.
I'm still in awe every time I look at HP's sweet face. We made that! He grew inside of me for nine months! It's surreal, but feels so natural at the same time. I love being a mom, but I have to say I don't feel like a "mom"... just regular ol' me, only with a child. Not sure if that makes sense. I suppose I just imagined it feeling different right away, when it's felt so natural to open our lives to embrace this new little person. Maybe feeling like a "mom" is something that grows slowly over time, not something that strikes you in an instant.