How becoming a mama has made me feel beautiful.

My kids have shown me to see the beauty within myself.

My transition to mamahood hasn’t been an easy or smooth one but it has given me so much in terms of personal growth.  Mamahood has changed my life in many ways. It has especially made me unapologetic of myself – flaws, quirks, and all.

I was one of those awkward girls growing up.  It seemed to be especially apparent during middle school and high school.  I know a lot of people say this, but I really didn’t feel that I fit in. Thanks to genes I was skinny, very light skinned compared to my peers, and shy.  Add being mixed race in a community where there were a handful of us – it made me feel self conscious.  I didn’t look like anyone else and people made sure to point it out.  When I would receive compliments, I would just have a blank stare or laugh it off.  I never saw myself as beautiful, pretty, gorgeous, or anything closely related.  Probably the hardest things for me was trying to navigate through life and accepting the person I was – quirks, strengths, looks, etc.  Even writing this post has taken some time to be able to verbalize my thoughts.  It’s been sitting in my drafts for almost a month.

Becoming a mother changed that for me.  It was no longer about myself or worrying about how I looked.   It was about this tiny and fragile human that was delicately handed to me.  I see pieces of me in each of my children.  The same pair of lips and skin on my first and the same large eyes and smile in my second.  I see the silly sense of humor I have budding with my first.  Then there is the determination I have that I’m beginning to see with my second.

Tee from: parentees.co
Tee from: parentees.co

 

I’ve had my ups and downs with accepting myself.  The one thing that has been constant through out all of this is God’s presence.  I would find myself feeling so low but managing to pull myself out of it once I poured my heart and thoughts to the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6New International Version (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.[a]

Placing that trust in Him, with all my heart, has given me the blessing of my beautiful kids.  Being blessed with both my children has only intensified that faith that I have.  Time and time again He has given me tests to show me my worth, my own beauty, the beauty that he has given me.  My children have been able to open my eyes and extend this further. They have shown me that they love me and see the beauty in me.  This is regardless of what I’m going through, what I’m trying to over come, or how I may see myself sometimes.  My children have pushed me – with God’s help.   There will no longer be apologies regarding who I am.  I am moving towards accepting my flaws, embracing what makes me unique, and starting to look at myself as beautiful – as God has made me.

 

Life Lessons I’ve learned in Mamahood (so far).

I haven’t been in a Mama for too long but having two kids fairly close in age has been a real learning experience for me.  So far it has been crazy, humbling, and empowering all at once.  I know I have a lot more to learn and many of this has been said before but they’ve been replaying in my head more often as of late:

You have no one to impress.
With my first, I always felt like my every Mama-move was being watched. It isn’t a competition over who gets to milestones first.  For me, it’s about how can I keep nurturing my child for his benefit.  It’s also about understanding that children are individuals that learn at their own pace and time.  I’ve learned to go with the flow with certain things. Not necessarily give my son full reins in this parent-child relationship but listen and watch him for cues on how to communicate and connect with him.  My focus is my children and not impressing anyone.

Taking a stand is important.
Everyone seems to have the “right way” to swaddle a baby, hold a baby, feed a baby, etc.  Not to say that some of the advice offered doesn’t work but it’s all about taking it under consideration.  It’s one thing to have advice offered and another to be told how you should parent.  I’ve learned to take a stand for what I feel is best for my child.  This has made me appreciate everyone’s motherhood/parenthood journey.  Everyone has something that works for their child.  It may not work for you but that’s okay.  Just because someone insists on a particualr technique does not mean you have to so it.  In this sense, becoming a mama has made me some what of a stronger person.  I know my babies well, and so far have had pretty darn good intuition on what works and won’t for them.

Everyone is going through their OWN mamahood journey.
I think it becomes easy to judge a Mama with the kid having a meltdown at the store.  I’ve had my fair share of meltdown moments already with my toddler at the store.  I have had a mixture of the frowning Mamas to the nod of sympathy.  Everyone’s mamahood journey is different and while it is easy to make assumptions, it’s better to lend an understanding hand.  It’s hard to say what exactly a Mama is going through that very moment a publicized meltdown occurs.  They could have had a teething baby that didn’t sleep the night before,  a partner that is deployed, dealing with PPD, or a combination of so many other things.  Honestly, who has not experienced their child have a meltdown at least once at the store or other public area?

Asking for help is more than okay.
Sometimes you can’t do it all.  As someone that was so accustomed to doing things on her own and in her own terms, this was a large humbling pill to swallow once I became a mama.  This was something I really has to accept during my last pregnancy when complications occurred.  Mamahood can be very lonely, especially when it’s your first child, being surrounded by supportive people often helps. Asking for help does not make you less of a person and there will be people more than happy to help.  It will be a testament to how many people not only love your child dearly but you as well.

Whatever is going on, it will pass.
I’ve had too many nights where for whatever reason one of the kids does not want to sleep.  Nap time seems non-existent, everything I do doesn’t seem to help stop the baby from crying, or sometimes the only way I can get my toddler to do anything is talk like a pirate (the entire freakin’ day).  It’s hard to remember, during the moments of pure exhaustion or helplessness, but it will pass.  Sure you’ll have a new set of things to worry over or become exhausted from but it usually leads to some pretty great moments.  Currently, we have a teething baby and it’s leading to some pretty exhausting days and sleepless nice.  I’m reminding myself that a smile with some cute little baby teeth will be approaching.

Forgiveness is needed and more than once.
Sometimes you just mess up. You forget to buy baby wipes and diapers. You didn’t wash any of the bottles. An extra change of clothes was not packed in the diaper bag.  You spilled 6 oz. of breastmilk you just pumped. Okay, maybe the last one is a little hard to forgive yourself for but things happen. It isn’t always a perfect motherhood journey. You end up googling things and scaring yourself. Doubts creep into your thoughts and can leave you questioning everything.  The thing is, your baby loves you no matter what.  That smile they give you once they see you tells you everything you need to know.  You’re doing a good job and they love you dearly.  Be gentle with yourself because honestly you are doing the best you can.

Unplug and detach.
Sometimes you don’t need to have your phone or camera ready to document things.  Not everything needs to be shared on social media. There are certain things that seem so much sweeter when in the moment.  It’s a nod to being more present and less attached to devices.  As much as I love documenting a lot of moments with photos and videos, the times I remember most and always seem to look back on are ones where my phone or camera is not in my hand.

I’m sure I’m going to add to this list sooner rather than later.  It’s a nice reminder for myself as I type this all out.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned so far in mamahood or parenthood?