One More Cuddle
Tonight, as I sit relaxing on the couch, I hear him cry out in his sleep. Most nights I would just leave him be, allow him to fall back asleep, then watch him from the monitor as he lays peaceful in his crib. But tonight, I go to him. I need to hold him, my dear blued eyed little boy. I need him to remind me of my strength and purpose, because tonight I feel consumed by guilt and low self-esteem. I’ve pigged out on junk food. I feel bloated and lazy. I wonder if I’ll ever be the mother, I always dreamed I could be. Will I ever be good enough, will I set a proper example? The pressure is often hard to bear. How can I possibly be a healthy role model for him when I can’t even take care of myself?

The struggles of healthy eating, proper exercising and most importantly, positive self esteem are what many men and women face every day, world pandemic or not. But as a mother, I fear it is even harder to achieve the goals you want to reach. It is no longer just your bubble that you live in. It’s his or hers’ as well. You make up a huge part of their bubbles, just as they are a huge new part of yours. As moms, we no longer come first in our daily routine. We must always be sure their needs are met, long before we can even begin to start thinking of our own. This is a responsibility that often is misunderstood. Often, I’m asked “Can you do this for me”, or “can you come to the gym today” or “let’s go grab a drink.” Our responses are no longer a simple “yes no problem, be right there”. They look more like; “Ya okay, just let me get Johnny dressed in his snow suit and I’ll be right there”, or “No sorry I can’t Joe is sick” or “No sorry I’m too exhausted to stay on my feet any longer.” Being a mother is truly one of life’s greatest blessings, but life’s greatest blessing can often take its tole on our social lives, our daily activities, and our self esteem.

Being able to take a full year off to spend with your new loved one is wonderful, but it’s not a vacation like some people may think. I’ve adjusted from working forty plus hours a week away from home and my spouse, to being full time at home, completely responsible for another extremely vulnerable (and adorable) tiny human, a new home that is still under renovations, the expectations to have three meals a day planned and prepared, the house cleaned and laundry done, etc. Going from a full-time employee for two different jobs to a full-time housewife and mother is a huge adjustment for someone who just likes to eat a quick salad for lunch and a bowl of cereal for supper. However, I wouldn’t change the adjustments I’ve had to make for the world, but contrary to popular belief, there are very few hours left in a day for “me” time. It’s hard to find “me” time for things like exercising or relaxing in the bath. I was bad at making time for any of these things before, and it is even harder to get motivated to do it now, especially during a time of quarantine.

So, when I hear my little guy cry out tonight, I go upstairs to hold him in my arms. I need to see his sleepy smile as he lays his head down on my chest, feel his warmth as he curls up in my arms. I rock him back to sleep, as I take in how much he’s grown and changed in such a short period of time. We see more of his happy, easy going personality every day. He already seems to have a love for kicking a soccer ball around and I love how he’s constantly looking over his shoulder when he knows he’s getting into something he’s not supposed to. But the best moments are these quiet, calm ones, where I can pick him up and hold him close. All the guilt melts away and the motivation returns. I am not failing you; I am merely failing myself. If I want to be a mom who can keep up to her kid in sports, who makes sure he eats healthy, stays physically active, and enjoys every bit life has to offer, then I have to achieve this all for myself first. But as long as I keep getting to have moments like these, in our rickety old rocking chair, my most important goal has been achieved.

I lay him back down, not very gracefully because he’s getting so heavy and I blow him a kiss goodnight for the hundredth time. Tomorrow I will get up, make my bed and start the day with a smile. Starting each morning with a smile and a made bed always seems to be a good start for a positive day.