As a kid I burst out crying when I came home to find my mom had rearranged the furniture in the living room.
As an adult I burst out crying when I came home to find my roommates had rearranged the furniture in the living room.
I like to know what to expect!
Not every moment of change makes me cry, but I absolutely struggle internally.
Moving, new jobs, losing friends, travel delays...all stress me out. I want everything to stay the same. Only the people very close to me know this fact, because I attempt to overcome my hatred of change with optimism.
...yes, I'm moving, but we'll stay in touch!
...yeah, it's a pay cut and more work, but I like a challenge!
...no, we aren't close anymore, but we'll always be close in heart!
...sure, we missed our plane, but we'll catch the next one!
Optimism helps me stay level. Even when everything around me is changing, I am still the same. This mantra has gotten me through a life full of changes.
Until I had my little boy.
When he was born, everything changed. And for the first time in my life, I could feel myself changing! That scared me.
Before he was born, I had all these grand ideas of what I would be like as a mom. I would still go out with my friends whenever I wanted--I would just bring the baby along. I would still be ambitious about my career--I would perfectly balance motherhood and my job. I would invest time in my hobbies and be a super mom who baked and kept a spotless house and raised chickens or something. I would basically be myself, with the ability to time warp among other various super powers, and have a child who wanted and needed nothing from me.
That's not what motherhood looks like on me.
I rarely go out with my friends. My friends who don't have kids lead very different lives than I do. They aren't having to constantly multitask between holding a conversation and making sure their kid isn't choking on a Cheerio or throwing his sippy cup at the next table over. They aren't thinking about how those spicy buffalo wings or glass of red wine might affect their breast milk. They say something like, "I'm so tired," and I have to concentrate incredibly hard to keep from rolling my eyes. It's different. I'm different.
I decided to stay home full time with my son. I never thought I'd want to do that. I have a college degree, for Pete's sake! I loved my job, I loved the people I worked with, I loved getting out of the house, I loved having a double income, but at the end of the day, I wanted to be with my son. The Kara of two years ago would have called me a fool to choose to live on much less when I could be providing more for my child (I battle that voice in my head most days), but I don't need as much as I used to, and I know my son has everything he needs with me staying home. I'm different.
It look me a full year to conquer the baby blues. Forget learning to crochet or can vegetables...I was trying to get more than four hours of sleep a night, get dressed even though I had no reason to leave the house, and stop myself from falling into a downward spiral of anxiety and loneliness. Oh the guilt of feeling this way during what was supposed to be the happiest time of my life! That part was so very different than anything I'd felt before. Even though, praise God, I'm through the worst of that emotional roller coaster, I'm different now.
Motherhood has changed me, and sometimes I don't like that.
Sometimes I reminisce about being that carefree girl, rarely serious, available at a moment's notice, running out to do errands or meet friends without having to pack snacks and diapers, rolling out of bed at 10 a.m. on a lazy Saturday, living a blissfully self-centered life.
Most of the time, though, what makes me feel so different is that I don't miss that old life at all. Things then were easier, but they were never so meaningful. My days were full of fun times with friends, but I have never felt so captivated as when I have a silly dance party with my family. I sought validation constantly, but I have never felt so important as when I rock my son to sleep. I worked so hard to make other people like me, but my baby loves me from the second I wake up, groggy and stumbling with gnarly morning breath, to the second I lay him in his bed, covered in peanut butter fingerprints and feeling utterly exhausted.
Motherhood has changed me and most of the time I love that. It's made me care about the little things less. It's helped me recognize what the important things are. I feel like I am a great mom, not because I have it all together, but because I let motherhood change me for the better.
Life is full of changes, and I know I'll go through many more. I hope I always remember this feeling of coming out on the other side. I would hate to let fear be the reason I dig my heels in, and therefore fail to live up to the better, more abundant life ahead of me.
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity