October 19 is here once again! Today is Aiden’s fourth birthday and, if I thought that I couldn’t even believe it last year when he turned three, well….let’s just say that this year is no different. I am sure that every year that he turns a year older, I will be experience shock/uber happiness/excitement/sadness all at once. There’s really not a name for this feeling (well, not one that I can easily just Google to find) and it’s weird, but great all at the same time. It’s probably one of those things that you’d have to be a mom for in order for you to figure out what the heck I’m talking about. lol Anywhoodle, perhaps that’s a post for another time. For today, I’d like to talk about the four things that I wish I could have whispered to myself four years ago after giving birth to my beautiful baby boy:
1. YOU GOT THIS. Being a single mom is no easy feat. (You can read my thoughts about that here.) But, THIS is the #1 thing that I wish I would have said more to myself whenever I thought I was going to die from lack of sleep/not knowing what to do when Aiden did certain things/trying to live in Manhattan with a baby on my own. Throughout most of Aiden’s first year of life, I was seriously depressed. People I thought were my best friends were no longer around, money was super tight and sleep was nowhere to be found. However, I made it though and now, when I look at old pics of myself during that time, I remember holding on fast to the idea that nothing happens by accident. My son is here for a reason and, since his father was M.I.A., it is up to me to care for him and make sure that he has everything he needs. No matter how down I felt about the order of life’s events, I should have been more confident in everything that was happening and known that I would not have been chosen to be Aiden’s mom if I weren’t already equipped with everything needed to care for him. (Don’t worry….I totally realize all of this now!)
2.Life will change, but it will good. B.A. (that’s Before Aiden) I really did think that I had life all figured out. (Or at least most of its major points.) I was secure in my job, my friends and life was extra awesome because I was doing what I loved (writing). Not that I’m bragging here (alright, maybe I am just a little bit hahaha), but I’ve been to some of the hottest events in NYC history and I can honestly say that I spent all of my 20’s LIVING. There were (and are) no regrets. I am grateful that I had this special time all to myself. But, A.A. (that’s After Aiden) things changed and I was unsure as to what/why/how everything was happening. My life had completely spun on its axis and absolutely nothing was (or would be) the same again, but that’s ok. I’m only four years into this motherhood thing, but it’s all been such an amazing journey despite everything else watching my son grow and flourish.
3.Your happiness and health is just as important as your child’s. I’ve always thought that once a woman has children, that should be her main focus and nothing else. Yes, part of this is true. Your children can easily become your life, but I don’t think you should let it. Yeah, I said it: your life is just as important as his/her life. Although I lamented my old life after giving birth, I didn’t do much in the early days in regards to self care. Yeah, I still got my hair done and went to the occasional yoga class. But, I wasn’t doing the things that really made me happy on a regular basis. I was so busy caring for a newborn that I just figured it to be ridiculous to read a book (I love reading, btw) while he was napping because shouldn’t I be napping as well?! Now, even if I have to wake up at 4 a.m., I always make sure that I take time to do the things that make me happy and keep me centered. Self care is important when you’re not a mom but once you become one, it is EVERYTHING.
4.Nothing else will even matter. After you have a child, your own life is all of a sudden magically put into focus. There are no more blurred lines or distortion. I feel like B.A., I always knew what I wanted to do in life, but I wasn’t focused enough to get it done. Being that I was so young, I figured that there would always be time to do all of the things that I wanted to do. But, having Aiden has been a serious reality check for me (in a good way!) and I am so focused on achieving my personal goals that it is scary sometimes. For example, I’ve always and forever wanted to publish an opinionated feature story in The New York Times and BOOM, here it is. I’ve also always wanted to have a byline in Cosmopolitan and then BAM, there that is. Having a child has forced me to see what really matters in life. Outside of my personal goals, I can slice and dice through b.s. so fast, it’s scary. I have also learned to cut out of my life anything that isn’t going to help or push me forward because what’s the point in dealing with all of that negative, draining energy?! I can clearly see what’s most important in my life and the rest? It doesn’t even matter.