It is hard to believe that my daughter Sofia is almost 6 months. People say that becoming a parent is changing your life and it does in a sense of how much presence having a child requires from you. I also found that having a child brings out a lot of knowledge about yourself – I found my daughter to be a wonderful teacher for me. I wanted to document here a few lessons that I learned so far before the time flies by and all these things slip away from my memory.
I think one of the biggest things that I discovered within myself is having this hidden well of patience. I was always a patient person but I never suspected how far that patience would go. There were a lot of fussy hours, some crying in public, some more fussiness but I have rarely had a desire to explode. I don’t know what it is but somehow I was always able to say calm and manage the situation which is a pleasant discovery for me.
So Much Change
Babies are all about change – they do one thing for a week and two weeks after, they are completely different. They change so fast! If you know me a bit, you are well aware that I don’t handle change well. I like having things planned and knowing what is happening next which is hard with babies. I found that my daughter is teaching me to embrace change and become more flexible with I think is a good lesson. I am still not great at handling change but I definitely got more easy going with all the things shifting.
I recently wrote to a friend that my daughter has been my greatest productivity booster. I now am able to do all the tasks that I did before so much faster. Two minute shower? Not a problem! Get ready in 5 minutes to leave? Sure! Whole house cleanup in 30 minutes? Mission accomplished. I am now often wondering what I used to do with my time before. I had so much of it! Don’t we often realize how precious something was before we lose it?
Focus on priorities
I am not really good at focusing on priorities as I want to do many things at once. But with babies, you have to choose what is the most important at the moment. I try to choose one thing per week or so – some weeks, I prioritized my Canadian citizenship applications, some week worked on different courses. I found it refreshing in a sense that I can’t start many projects at the same time so I have to complete one before starting the other and it, in a way, keeps me organized.
Learning to Love
I wrote “learning to love” deliberately there. I know it might sound horrible but when my daughter was born, I did not feel immediate “love”. This is a bit that is hard to explain but I will try. I read somewhere recently that first few months with a baby is like being a slave to a stranger. And it is absolutely true – it is trying, exhausting, challenging and you don’t get anything in return. The work is absolutely selfless (especially, when you like us, do not have any family close so you are doing everything on your own). But then your baby gives you the first smile when she sees you, or the first laugh when you tickle her, or stretches your arms to you after you have been away for a few hours. And this is when you feel love. Like in any relationship, you learn to love them.
Just before my daughter smiles at me, I see her eyes first registering me and then her face extending in the warmest smile. Just seeing me makes her joyous. She smiles at the simplest things – she hears Sherlock barking and that makes her laugh, or one of us making tiger sounds or imitating animals or dancing. Is it not the way to live life? Being joyous for the smallest things. Truly joyous!
Loving the way you are
Every morning, when I pick Sofia from her crib, she gives me the sweetest biggest smile. When we are in a group of people, she would notice my face and would smile back if I make funny faces. She is happy because I am there, just the way I am. I am good at self-criticism and not good at self-compassion and I should definitely work on that. There is a creature that loves me just the way I am and I am grateful because it makes me feel like I can climb mountains.
In just a few weeks I am going back to work but I am returning part-time. I did not have to switch to that option as we can afford a daycare or a nanny but I don’t want to. I decided to spend time with my daughter. I want to do things together, create memories, spend precious moments that will slip away in a blink. I know she will grow up before I realize it and I want to live as many of these moments as possible before that happens. Because isn’t it the way to live life? Being joyous for smallest things?