My goal for 2015 is to do a weekly portrait of someone in my life, be it family member, friend, acquaintance, or someone I haven’t officially met yet. Of course, the easiest place to start is with the tiny person I spend most of my time with.
Adelaide is over five months old now, and showing us more and more of her personality every day. John and I are in awe of how sweet-natured she seems to be. I often wonder how her cheeks don’t ache from smiling so much (I know mine do).
She’s recently discovered that she can put her feet in her mouth, and she’s absolutely delighted by it. Her feet have become her favorite thing. When they are zipped away in her sleepsack for the night, she looks at me with a perplexed expression…as if to ask me where they have gone. When I unzip her in the morning, and she rediscovers her two, pudgy-toed companions…the look on her face is like someone who has been reunited with a friend she’s been separated from (for much longer than she intended to be).
Adelaide loves to study things…I can see such determination in her bright, blue eyes.
These five months with my sweet girl have been challenging, in a sleep deprived, life altering kind of way. Becoming a mother changes pretty much every aspect of your life in some regards…and no matter how prepared you are for it, it’s hard. But, for every hour I’ve lost in sleep, every shirt that’s been spit up on, or every dinner out that has now become a dinner in, I’ve gain so SO much more…
This baby of ours is worth every hard thing. Every. Single. One.
Adelaide will be ten weeks old tomorrow! Where has the time gone?? I have absolutely no recollection of August, which is fine with me. August is always my least favorite month. The heat, the humidity, the increased traffic when school starts back, everyone pushing scarf and boots weather when it is still in fact VERY MUCH shorts and tank tops weather…
………where was I?
For the past ten weeks I keep meaning to blog more. There’s all this pressure in my head to start something like a weekly or monthly letter to Ada…or to take a specific series of age progression pictures…or come up with some other Pinterest-worthy idea and carry it out to fruition. A friend recently said to me that she hadn’t officially revealed the gender of the baby she is expecting because she hadn’t come up with an idea of how to announce it that seemed good enough. Isn’t it sad that we live in a world where everyone feels pressure to make every single thing a thing?? Social media and mommy blogs can make you feel like an inferior mom if you aren’t doing something spectacular to document every second of your child’s life. But, like Eleanor Roosevelt said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
I’m choosing not to consent.
The thing is, before she was born, I swore I wouldn’t be that mom who suddenly bombards people with pictures of her baby. I pretty much blew that abooooout two days after she was born..can you blame me? Look at this FACE.
However, I’ve also stepped back and tried to evaluate how I feel about the culture we live in that makes us feel as if a moment isn’t complete unless it’s documented and shared on some form of social media. I’ve recently made it a point to put my camera and/or phone down more often than not…to relish interacting with my sweet baby girl and not focus on the next photo op. Pictures capture memories, but I don’t want the only memory of the moment to be all about the picture…if that makes sense. And, I don’t want to write a letter to her or any other blog post just for the sake of sharing it with others. I want certain things to be just for her, just between the two of us and her daddy.
So, I’ve been pondering how to proceed in sharing my baby girl with the world at large (at least when it comes to the internet and my group of “friends” on various social media outlets). I’ll continue to blog…but I’ll let go of the feeling that I need to. I will most definitely still overshare on Instagram, because my mom would kill me if I didn’t. (Hi Mom!) It’s all about finding the balance of public versus private…in parenting and life in general.
And, I’m not saying that what I choose to share or not to share is what’s right for everyone. Just like how I choose to parent may or may not be how you would do it, or how your mother did. Etcetera, etcetera.
Let’s all give each other a little more grace as fellow mothers. You may never post a single photo, you may write an eloquent monthly letter to your child that is bound to make the rest of us cry happy tears or laugh hysterically, maybe you’re the type of mom who fills out the baby book completely and in a timely fashion. I may barely get around to a post a month…which may be short enough to have just been a tweet… The moral of the story: to each their own*.
So, if you feel like you’re not documenting your baby’s childhood enough…and, like me, you start getting “mom guilt” for whatever reason, be it the lack of professional pictures taken, blogposts left unwritten, journal entries never finished, baby books with blank pages.. Or, if it’s something else like heaven forbid a store bought Halloween costume (gasp!) that you buy on October 31 at 4:30pm because you never got around to crafting one of the 50 or so from your Pinterest board… take deep breaths and realize that it’s all going to be ok. We turned out just FINE and our mothers didn’t have Pinterest or Etsy or the ability to take a picture every second of every day or constantly compare their mothering to hundreds of other mothers on social media.
I could go on and on, but I bet everyone stopped reading this a paragraph or so back, am I right?…
* The only exception is if you update your Facebook status every two minutes with what you and/or your kid is doing that second (to which I must jump in and suggest that you DIAL IT DOWN A NOTCH).
Do you remember being a child and constantly being asked what you wanted to “be” when you grew up? In elementary school kids usually say a teacher, doctor, firefighter, policeman. Then, as you grew and learned about various other occupations, people would branch out with their choices. My brother, for example, stated in middle school that he wanted to be an astrophysicist.
Yet it still seemed as if that question was a constant thread of my adolescent years. I had a hard time answering it.
Sure, I went with the typical “girl” answers of “teacher” or something along those lines….but deep down I knew that I didn’t want a career to be the focus. I’ve always dreamed of being a wife and mom.
Let me make it clear that I know there are many other things I could have set my mind on. In stating that motherhood has always been the path I’ve wanted to walk, I in no way believe it to be the only one possible. If I had made the decision to do so, I would have been an excellent teacher…lawyer…medical professional…accountant…any of the careers that seem admirable.
There’s a great scene in one of my favorite movies, “Mona Lisa Smile”…a college professor (Julia Roberts) is desperately trying to make her students see that there is more to life than getting married fresh out of college and being a stay-at-home wife and mother. The film is set in the 1950s, and most of the students seem baffled that she would even suggest any other option. I loved that Julia Roberts’ character opened their eyes to new possibilities and changed the course of some of their lives for the better. But…BUT…my favorite scene involves one of her students (Julia Stiles) explaining to her that being a wife and mother WAS her choice. It’s such a beautiful moment.
Now that I’m almost two months in to finally seeing my dream realized, I must say that it doesn’t disappoint. Sure, like any job there are difficult or mundane aspects…on any given day I change countless diapers, get spit up on, do mountains of tiny laundry, juggle keeping a house clean and meals on the table.
But there are also moments of a happiness so complete that it still feels surreal…and, I know that before I know it I can add to my list of responsibilities: hand holder, storyteller, art teacher, nature guide and so many other things. These days are just the beginning of something incredible.
So, if you were to ask me today what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would answer you (most fervently): This.
When I look at the picture above, I get teary eyed. Our baby girl has changed so much since that was taken (shortly after we brought her home from the hospital). As of yesterday, Adelaide is SEVEN WEEKS old! It baffles me that so many weeks have passed, and yet it also feels like it’s been much longer.
I keep reminding myself to soak in every moment during this fleeting first few weeks and months. I’m so grateful that John’s sister, Mindy, came over when Adelaide was a week old and took these pictures for us. Such a sweet memory of our first days at home as a family of three.
I’d like to write all my thoughts down about what motherhood has been like for me…and about all the little things that I’ve learned about Ada thus far…
But, for now this will have to suffice…because there’s a certain little lady who is making it known that she needs her mommy.
At 1:55pm on July 29, after six hours of labor, we welcomed our baby girl into the world.
She was a chunky 10 lbs 2 oz, 22.5 inches long with brown hair and the cutest little face I’ve ever seen.
We named her Adelaide Lorraine Pruitt…her daddy calls her Ada.
The last two weeks have been a flurry of getting to know this new little addition to our family…and realizing our ability to love her more fiercely than either of us ever knew was possible.
Welcome to the world, Adelaide. You are our long-awaited, much prayed for and anticipated joy of a daughter…I look at you and can hardly take in the wonder of it all.