I'm thankful for what Sadie has taught me about myself in the last 2 years...even before she was born. All my life I've wanted to be something I'm not...athletic, artistic, skinny, rich, organized, etc. and I've put various plans in place to become these things. But really, none of these things are me. Instead I'm high-strung, impetuous, physically weak, and messy. And I'm finally able to accept that.
I'm realizing that I have to be a mom now. And not just a mom, but a mom of a child with special needs. It's different than being a mom of a typical kid. Not better, not worse, just different.
Lately, I've been struggling with the fact that I don't get a day off. Ever. Sadie has to start her day at 7:00am, and there are no "weekends". Someone has to get her up and get her medicines and start her feeding schedule...and that's usually me. It doesn't matter if I'm cozy under my covers or need another hour of sleep. I don't get a day off. It's not about me anymore.
Someone has to take care of Sadie all day long too. She cannot feed herself. She cannot play by herself. I can't just turn on the TV and get an uninterrupted hour to do the dishes or fold the laundry. She doesn't nap (unless I'm holding her or laying down with her). And often she needs to be rocking in her chillout chair, which requires physical effort and attention. All of these things require me to split my attention from whatever else I'm doing. I don't get to just do whatever I want anymore.
I had been feeling sorry for myself. I started thinking this was too hard, that I was somehow cursed with this over-needy child. I felt like nobody else understood me or had ever gone through this, so nobody understands. Then I found a couple of different mommy-blog posts that just randomly showed up on facebook (God knows what we need to hear, right?) that were about the struggle that it is when you have kids and you go through this identity crisis as you transition from woman to mom.
WHAT??? This is normal???
Everybody goes through this identity crisis when they have kids, apparently. It's about leaving your old self (no matter how much you tried to improve that self all those years). It's about shedding that cocoon to become the beautiful butterfly that is called "mom." It's a time of rediscovery...and it can be painful. It's a struggle, but struggle makes you stronger, right?
All of these other things all of the sudden don't matter as much. I've left them behind with my chrysalis, and I've emerged even more beautiful than I was before. Still not athletic as I'd like to be, still not as artistic as I wish, still stressed out, still messy, but now I'm mom.
I'm Sadie's mom.
And that's who I want to be.