Meet NicoleI'm a new member of the Mommy Mafia; my little boy, PJ, just turned six months old in January. As such, this is a period of such fundamental change (cue knowing chuckle here from the experienced mom crowd) that I have a hard time describing myself these days.
What I definitely am is an American living, working, and mothering in Germany. I'm happily married to a wonderful man. I love words: speaking them, reading them (book tips extremely welcome in the comments!), and writing them - especially at my blog Pickles and Onions.
I have a corporate job that I will return to in just three months, which shocks me when I think about it because before PJ arrived I thought "Nine whole months off the job? How will I manage away from work?"
And now I know, "Only nine months off the job?! How will I manage away from my baby?!"
Cue knowing chuckle and nodding heads from the experienced mom crowd.
Oh, and I really like to laugh at myself. Often and loud.
When do you feel like you're doing your best job as a mom?
When I follow my intuition. Pre-mommyhood, I had no idea how clear and strong my intuition would become. I really struggled the first ten weeks of PJ's life and it was mostly because having a baby is a huge change and I spent too much time listening to "experts" and not to myself.
Now I see that my little boy is so happy and courageous and adventurous, and I know that I'm the PJ expert. When I look at him I am usually warmed by how lucky I am and at what a good job I'm doing. I don't buy into the mommy wars - like most mommies - and I'm surrounded by people who encourage and support me.
I also have a little note hanging on my bathroom mirror that says "You are an awesome mom!" I believe that note.
You knew this one was coming... when do you feel like you're doing your worst job?
I require a lot of sleep. As a child I had "crash days": days when I come home from school, voluntarily climbed into my bed and didn't wake up until the next day. In college I never pulled an all nighter; sleep was too important.
So it comes as no surprise that my worst moments are in the middle of the night when PJ has nursed and can't get back to sleep. I'm exhausted, starting to lose my temper - "why can't you sleep?!" running through my head and, sadly, sometimes out of my mouth - and I walk to my sleeping husband and say "please, please help" or (far more often) bark "your turn!"
He, without fail, rolls out of bed and then walks, rocks, sings, our little boy back into dreamland. Calmly. In the middle of the night. Wow.
I am lucky and thankful that my husband is darn near his best when I am at my worst.
What surprised you the most about motherhood?
What didn't surprise me? I had no idea what mothering was really like. This little guy is here to stay. Forever. Even on Sunday mornings. Actually, especially on Sunday mornings. I didn't grasp that concept at all.
I also didn't realize just how confusing motherhood would be; how overwhelming all the voices from experts, family members and friends were going to be; how difficult and time consuming establishing a breastfeeding relationship would be; how much my marriage would change; how much I was going to need my mommy and my sister; how quickly my circle of friends would be altered; how hard being without my little man would be at first; and how strong and clear my intuition would become.
You can follow Nicole and her family at her blog: http://pickles-and-onions.blogspot.com/