How My Baby Reminded Me That, No Matter What, I'm Enough
I think it's pretty normal for new moms to have a crisis of confidence. I mean, not a day goes by when I don't think, "What the hell did I get myself into?" or, "Who thought motherhood was a good idea?" Fortunately, as hard as motherhood has been, it's been pretty awesome, too. And even though I don't always think I'm doing a very good job, there have been so many times when my baby reminded me that no matter what, I'm enough.
I will be completely honest and say I'm totally not the "world's greatest mom." I'm actually a hot mess most of the time. I have learned that it's OK to make mistakes, though. It's scary to be completely responsible for a tiny, fragile human, to be sure, but they actually don't need much — food, clothes, a safe place to sleep, and above all, your love — to be healthy and happy. Even if you aren't a "perfect mom," or you don't have energy, ability, or will to give it your all every single moment of every single day, chances are you are most definitely enough.
There will be moments when you think you are failing, moments when you don't get things right, and moments when you are totally a hot mess. But if you pay attention there will also be moments when your baby will tell you that they don't need "perfect," they just need you. It seems like when I am at the end of my rope, scared out of my mind, or think I am completely screwing up, my baby will smile or his eyes will light up when I walk into the room or I'll be the only one who's able to diagnose his cries, calm his tears, and even turn them into giggles. That's when I know I'm doing a great job. I might not be the best mom in the world, but I am to him, and he's the only one whose opinion matters on the subject. I am enough, and he reminds me I'm enough every single day:
When My Baby Finally Fell Asleep
I used to joke about my mommy pheromones being the only thing that worked to get my baby to fall asleep. It was awesome, exhausting, and reassuring all at the same time. I remember wearing the same pajama shirt for a week straight, all so I could leave it with my baby's dad to trick her into thinking he was me. Magic.
When My Lullaby Worked
When my older son was a baby he would cry during every car ride, unless he heard my voice. I couldn't remember any lullabies, so I sang Let It Snow, instead. It worked every time. I sang that song hundreds of times in his first year of life. Sometimes I still sing it when he is upset. Of course, now, instead of calming him, he responds in his defiant 4-year-old voice, saying, "Stop singing, mom."
When My Baby Started Gaining Weight
Our youngest was born with food allergies, which has made feeding him and him gaining weight a challenge. We went through elimination diets and five different formulas before we found one that worked and before he started gaining weight. The first time the scale at the doctor's office showed that he had gained a few ounces, I knew I was enough.
When My Baby Got Sick
When my oldest was about 6 months old, she got croup. Sick babies are the worst, and you can't always do anything to help them feel better, which is so frustrating. She would only sleep if I put her in a baby carrier and walked with her up and down the block in the cold, winter air. When her cries turned to snores against my chest, I knew I was enough.
When My Baby Smiled At Me
When I Successfully Calmed My Baby Down
My youngest son is pretty attached to me. I mean, he totally cries when I leave the room and seeing me is enough to literally change his mood from crabby to cheerful. It makes me feel like a million bucks to have that effect on him.
When I Couldn't Breastfeed
After my daughter was born, my milk didn't come in right away, and when it did it was not enough. I was literally starving her without knowing it. I felt like I had failed when she had to be readmitted to the NICU for weight loss, jaundice, and dehydration. When the nurses fed her formula and she started perking up under the bili lights, I knew she was going to be OK. I also knew I was enough, even if I couldn't breastfeed exclusively.
When My Baby Calls For Me
My youngest has just started to reach for me and call out to me. I would probably do anything for him in those moments. When he says "mama" all I hear is, "You're all I'll ever need." At least, I think he's saying mama. He might actually be asking for M&Ms.
When My Baby's Eyes Light Up
When my older kids were babies, taking them to day care was so bittersweet. One part of me wished I could stay home, but the other part loved my job (plus, my family's financial situation made staying home impossible). At pick up time my babies' eyes would light up as soon as they were able to focus on me, and that it made it so much easier to leave them at the beginning of every day. I just knew they were looking forward to seeing me again.
When We Are Enough For Each Other
It was hard to transition from a having a full-time job to staying at home with my baby. I often have moments when I feel like I should be doing more. Then I kiss my baby's head (that still smells sweet), and am grateful for the snuggles. I am enough for him, and being his mom is enough for me.
We are enough for each other.