I went into motherhood knowing it’d be all about the lessons. I was here to guide my son about how life works, but he was here to teach/remind me how life really works or should work. I didn’t realize gems would get dropped so early! Here are new things I learned and a few things I had to be schooled in again:
- Strength: If I could fathom what pregnancy, birth, and being a mother so far meant before I experienced it, I would have said I wasn’t strong enough for the changes, pains, and decisions. My son is a reminder there’s more strength to me than I give credit for.
- Name Him What Feels Good: Unless I’ve told you personally, my son’s name isn’t public, but I’ll call him Z for short. It took us about a month to feel out what feels good to call him and as many people pointed out, it’s an “out there” choice despite its significance. He reminded me everybody’s name was weird at some point before it became “normal”. Even with a “normal” name, people will still find a way to call you out of it for the lulz (I’ve been called Narnia and Canadia, for example).
- Simplify My Desires: I’ve been saying I practise minimalism, but I’ve been slacking on keeping my desires at a minimum, too. The more wants I have – better yet, the more misaligned wants – the more unhappy I am. His desires are basic, such as food, comfort, sleep and to be held. He doesn’t fuss about anything else much and is easily satisfied, meanwhile I fuss about a thousand wants instead of my core needs with a side of passive aggression.
- Self Care: It somehow feels better to take care of Z’s needs, partly because they’re more simple and easier, than mine (not to be confused with time consuming and sometimes stressful). My needs has roots that run so damn deep off course due to conditioning and reinforcements that belittle their insignificance. I don’t know what they are sometimes without digging. That’s why #3 is important.
- Take Naps: Kids nap because they’re growing which entails getting stimulated a-l-l t-h-e t-i-m-e because everything is new. As grown folks, we don’t realize how we’re constantly being stimulated (like on social media) and need time to process old and new shxt, especially the more subtle (unconscious) things we don’t even realize we’re downloading.
- Unconditional: I don’t want to say “love” because I don’t feel babies love or hate exactly, but when they encounter strangers, they demonstrate curiosity and the desire to connect, which makes them unconditional, not conditioned to use prejudices. Rarely someone will have energy babies don’t respond unconditionally to. Z reminds me to assume best intentions.
- My Body Is Enough: I will battle feelings about my body, but for my son, my body is more than enough and that’s perspective. The body is made to do what it do and if it don’t do, I must find a loving way to do what needs to be done if it can be done. It’s not about my body being unnatural things the world demands it to.
- Trust My Instincts: Everyone has something to say about how to mother. I quickly realized I can blame no one for any advice I do or don’t take. Something can work for one parent and child but not another. Following my own guiding system for better and worst outranks all other voices. I’m solely responsible.
- Embrace the Unexpected More: Did I more so expect I wouldn’t be a mom? Eeyup. Did I more so expect my child to obviously look more like me? Undoubtedly. Did I expect to be in Hawai’i? Of course not. Yet hello, here I am in cahoots with the unexpected. I always wanted my life to be different than the version in my head. Though it worked for years, I no longer wanted to experience exactly what I already mentally did. I was bored of the expected. My challenge was and still is to let go of what I’ve mentally practiced instead of what is and what can be.
- Work More On Myself: I’d love to be a perfect mom, as in do everything right wherein Z is perfectly adjusted. Virgos are notorious perfectionists, but that’s a trait that can create a sense of not good enough in anyone. I’ve done it up myself to my own detriment. I don’t want him to feel like he’s anything but enough so yah girl gotta work more on herself to break this and other cycles.
- Human Potential: Newborns remind me of what’s humanly possible and of the true human form. They can be Liquidarians (breastmilk), according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, for up 6 months after birth. I don’t know about you, but that’d be hard for me to do knowing how food tastes. Among the first recommended foods are bananas and avocados. They are incredibly flexible, have a swim reflex, and even with immature systems, babies breathe from their stomachs rather than chest like many adults. I’ve been teaching myself to breathe correctly for years.
- Magic: If you don’t believe in magic, even just a little bit, I can’t trust you. Everyday still feels surreal having a child. It keeps me in this wondering state of imagination and creativity, which is great fuel for writing.
Kids are excellent teachers. They’re great at unapologetically being. I believe kids are born to expand parents’ consciousness by showing them exactly what they need to do to become their truest self. Here’s to learning everyday by checking that constructed ego.