Though it was not all that many years ago (in the grand scheme of things) that I was walking zombie-like through the haze of new motherhood, the challenges of those early months seem part of a far distant past. Still, I can easily conjure up how those days felt, dictated as they were by the seemingly ceaseless needs of a tiny child.
A colleague has said of babies: “It’s amazing that one little baby can so overwhelm two working professionals that they can’t even find time to take a shower.” And it’s true!
These days, I don’t have to wake several times in the night to feed my sons, or figure out how to ensure that they get at least one good nap during the day so they can sleep at night. My time is much more “my own.”
So what’s to miss about the days of being a new mom? Odd as it sounds, I miss the constant reminders that my time is not really my own. I miss being forced to come back again and again to this moment. The irony is that I couldn’t appreciate living in the moment when I was living in those moments. I only wanted to get more sleep and have more “control” over my life.
For all of you mothers and fathers now experiencing the intensity of the first year of your child’s life, I won’t say “enjoy it because it lasts such a short time” (though that’s true). Instead I’ll just hope that when you look back you can remember the joys and satisfactions that came wrapped up along with the sleep deprivation and worries.
And I hope you can take the advice of my grandmother, who knew nothing about Zen philosophy but was wise enough to say, “Don’t wish your life away.”