A friend asked me last week how motherhood was going. I get this question a lot, so I had my answer ready to go. “Oh, it’s great. She’s so much fun now and she’s getting really big.” Most of the time, the conversation moves on to something else and that’s all I have to say.
Not this time. Not this friend. “No, I mean, how is motherhood really going?”
That’s a great question. We are seven months into this whole thing. She’s seven months into being a person, getting bigger and more alert every day. It’s starting to feel normal. This is us now – we are a family of three. We’re parents. I haven’t had a moment when I’m startled by a baby crying (like, whose baby is crying? Ours? Oh right, we have a baby now!) in months.
So it’s more normal. But it’s also still hard. As I write this I’m running on my fourth night of less than five hours of sleep because teething is hard for babies and harder for parents. The novelty of new baby things has worn off. We cloth diaper and washing and stuffing them was fun for awhile. Now it’s a chore. I want to pause time right this second and keep her this age forever while simultaneously pressing super fast-forward on the next five months so I never have to pump again. Washing what can only be a billion pump and bottle parts every night? I’m over it.
Parenting doesn’t get easier, you just get better at it. I am better at knowing what she needs and when she’ll need it. I’m making fewer tragic mistakes—you know the ones I’m talking about. Scheduling shots the day before you stuff your baby into a Halloween costume, not making naptime a priority on Thanksgiving Day, giving a bath at the same time of day that baby is likely to poop. Yikes. It’s still hard.
But then there are amazing parts. She’s more fun than she’s ever been. She can sit up on her own, which might be the cutest thing in the world. She gets incredibly excited to see us at the end of the day. She gives “kisses” that involve opening her mouth on my cheek and leaving a disgusting amount of baby spit behind. She laughs when her daddy blows raspberries on her belly. She is the only person in the world who appreciates my singing voice.
So, that’s how motherhood is really going.