Welcome to the Hood, Part 2
Out of everything I thought might compete for being the hardest part of becoming a mom, I was surprised that it was none of those things mentioned already. The hardest part actually has nothing to do with my baby. This season of life is primarily spent at home. I’ve never minded being at home during my free time—reading, cooking, writing, movie-marathons with the husband—all those things can happen at home. But I’ve never been so bound to my home before. I’ll go the entire day without interacting with an adult—because text messages and Facebook don’t count, I’m sorry to tell you. Blake comes home from work, and he’s ready to just chill while I’m jumping at the chance to socialize. This circumstance is tough for two reasons.
First, I have always been someone who craves affirmation. I wish I didn’t depend on it like I do, but it’s a huge love language in my life. A stranger could say something encouraging to me and I’ll begin to wonder if we have the potential to be lifelong best friends because she affirmed me. Or someone I love could hurt my feelings, and I’ll question the entire relationship. Before I had Collins, I worked in a community so full of affirmation, it would almost seem fake in description. My job was incredible because of the people I got to work with and the reason we were all there (this was a Jesus-filled place). But then my husband and I moved, and we had a baby. My community was out of reach. (Let me just take a quick second to say I am so thankful to stay at home with my baby. I truly wouldn’t want it any other way. But good change is still change). I realized how much I was craving affirmation when I wasn’t getting it anymore. At least not like I was. And as much as I secretly wanted it from Blake for every tiny thing I had done that day, I knew it was not his job to fulfill me in that way, and I didn’t want to get in the habit of expecting that from him. I’ve been meaning to write down Colossians 3:23-24 on a note card and taping it to my mirror—or forehead, depending on the day. It says,
“23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
I may do certain things for the benefit of my family, but everything I do is for Jesus, and He provides all the affirmation I could possibly need if I will just accept it from Him. This is something I will probably continuously learn for the rest of my life.
Secondly, when Blake and I would have a conversation, I found it difficult to talk about anything other than the baby. I mean ANYTHING! I had always strived to be a person with multiple facets within my identity. I had my work, books, relationships in and out of work, and other interests I could talk about at length. I felt like I could relate to many because we shared common ground somewhere, somehow. But all of the sudden, I searched my brain for something non-baby related and found NOTHING. ZIP. ZERO. How on earth could I have lost the ability to communicate unless it was baby related? Was this my entire identity now? “Hi, I’m Collins’ mom. That is all you need to know about me because that’s all there is.” What? No! Surely not. And just like the I-will-only-nap-in-my-wrap phase, I knew this would not be eternity. One day, we wouldn’t need to be at home all day, she would have friends, I would get to be more social, and more opportunities would arise to involve myself. But we’re not there yet—we’re here. So I started carving out more time to read. It’s a start. Reading stirs the imagination and prompts new ideas. I suppose that’s a lot of what people talked about before the television?
Community hasn’t been the easiest thing to establish since graduating college. I loved the people I worked with, but the majority weren’t my age or in the same stage of life. Blake’s and my best friends didn’t live in the same city as us, and our college church was hours away. We never found a church we felt like we could call home, but since our move, we have found a new church and community within. That was one of our biggest prayers when we knew we would be moving to a new place—community. We knew we needed it and would need it even more once we had our baby. Without the new friends I’ve made over the past few months, I think I would be going insane right now. Friends are essential to life no matter what your status or stage of life is.
Change is hard—even good change. If you don’t embrace it, it’s even harder. Being a mom is my favorite part of life aside from being married to Blake. It’s only been four months, but I feel like a part of me that has been dormant for my entire life is now alive and able to shine. Spending the day with my girl is wonderful. Watching her learn new things, dancing around our kitchen with her in my arms, and talking to her about all the awesome things we’ll do together one day is nothing short of satisfying and beautiful. She is not my whole identity, but I do know I was created to be her mama—and for that I am forever grateful to Jesus.