How often do we sit back to reflect and appreciate the little things in our lives? I remember as kids growing up, my parents would always reiterate to my brother and I to always be thankful and appreciate the food on the table, the hot water, and the roof over our head. We did. I don’t think we’d be where we are today if we didn’t appreciate these things. But since becoming a Ma, I have found myself in general just observing more, understanding more, and definitely appreciating more.
Observing. Until recently, I never paid attention to accessibility or convenience in public places. I used to access the automatic doors nonchalantly. Unknowingly press the handicap button to open doors. Funniest one: take the stairs wherever I could because elevators make me feel claustrophobic. Fast forward to today, I now think twice before leaving the house to venture out with my almost 5 month old. Not because we don’t want to leave the house, but because I need to ensure that we’re well equipped to tackle the obstacles ahead in our day’s excursion. What if there’s no nursing room (this “what if” is ALWAYS a major concern)? What if beb has a major poop explosion (this has happened)? What if there’s nowhere to change the little one? All the “what if”s” that a first time Ma could possibly think of literally seep through my mind. And I don’t believe I’m wrong in thinking this way because I have been in situations where the place in question has no means of accommodating me or my little one. About a month ago, I shared on my Facebook the horrible experience I had at the passport office. I won’t get into the details of that experience here again, but in a nutshell, it was not pleasant. Waiting for over 2 hours to be attended to. No place to change the little one. No place to feed the little one. No proper place to sit with the little one. No courtesy. When we were first attended to for our initial application screening, I jokingly (well, deep down I was quite serious) said, “Oh, is there a priority for women with young kids?” The person behind the counter just chuckled. Okay then.
So, I’m not trying to come across as a “negative Nancy” here by complaining about all the wrongs that I have been encountering lately; I’m just trying to create some awareness about the struggles us new Ma’s (and experienced Ma’s) tend to experience. Another struggle. Parking lots. How many parking lots do you know of that have priority parking for pregnant women and/or women with young children? I’ve seen a few lots, but how many spots? In my opinion, not enough. Isn’t that a bit ludicrous? Actually, what’s extremely ludicrous is how I went to the mall with beb the other day and the automatic sliding doors had a sign saying, “It’s cold out and for that reason the automatic sliding doors are out of service.” Um, pardon? So, you expect me to open a door and struggle to wheel in the stroller at the same time? The worst is coming across a handicap button that fails to open. This one makes me sad/angry. So, all that being said, how do we make this society realize the obstacles that exist for women who are either pregnant or have young children? Actually, how are people who rely on accessibility assistance coping? Seriously makes me wonder and question our true concern for those in need.
In any case, at almost 5 months post-partum, personally I’ve started to stop caring as much. Caring less in the sense that if I need to feed my child, I will find a quiet private corner and feed. Or, if I need to change her soiled diaper, I will lay down a blanket and her “on-the-go” change pad (so convenient!) and change away. But the issue of accessibility still angers me – something needs to change. Ma’s need to unite to make a difference; who is with me?
Understanding. The understanding component stems from me being more observant of my surroundings lately. I now understand how challenging Ma-hood is. Not just on an emotional and physical level, but psychologically it can take a toll on you. If we stay home, we go crazy. If we go out, we also go crazy, well more so me. But I choose the latter. Getting out and seeing other faces make both of us happy (I think). And as the days go by, I’m more understanding of Amia’s needs – when she needs to nap, play, or needs a change of scenery. Slowly a routine is forming; although, there are some days where she throws me off. But this “understanding” would not have happened without observing her ever changing personality and behaviours. Unfortunately, she didn’t come with a manual (I remember my parents used to say this – actually, they still say this). Both, Ma and Pa are learning and are more understanding of the time we spend with Amia now. These months are pivotal as Amia is growing and developing, so as much as it might feel like a mission to head out that front door, I make every effort to make it happen. Whether it be to a mall that doesn’t have working sliding doors to wheel in a stroller or running an errand where there are no proper amenities, I understand that we both need that fresh air.
Appreciating. Oh, how this sometimes gets ignored. This is probably the main reason for writing this post: to emphasize how we sometimes take the little things for granted and forget to appreciate all components in our life. Personally, before becoming a Ma, I never appreciated my independence; how easy it was to just make plans, jump in my car, and head on out. I never appreciated the automatic sliding doors before. I never appreciated just carrying my tote purse (although sometimes heavy because my whole life used to be in my purse). I never appreciated taking the time to do my hair, my make-up, or putting on a clean pair of leggings. I also never appreciated my pre-pregnancy body. This is real talk. And this is definitely not a negative connotation towards Ma-hood. I’m just expressing how I never truly appreciated these little facets that made up my life. Now, spending almost all of my waking time with another little human has opened up my eyes and undoubtedly made me appreciate what I used to take for granted. On a sentimental note, Amia has made me appreciate the importance of life and this new role of Ma-hood. Her existence keeps me going everyday (despite the lack of sleep, but we’re working on this). She’s made me appreciate my new self and this new chapter and that Ma-hood comes with its ups and down, challenges, and struggles. My little warrior has given me a new purpose. I don’t necessarily care for doing my hair perfectly every day, or putting on the best of make-up, or wearing the best of clothes – I do take a day every so often to pamper myself, but every other day is dedicated to my one and only and I’m perfectly content with that. I’m not sad or depressed about the fact that I didn’t appreciate certain things pre-Ma-hood. I do miss that life sometimes: the simplicity, the fun, the “me, myself, and I” phase. But now I can’t imagine my life any other way. I mean it. Every morning, I look forward to seeing Amia’s smiles, hearing her babbles, getting her all dressed up. It gets to me a little sometimes, but that’s okay, I think it’s normal. And that’s when Pa plays a crucial role by keeping me sane. So, all that to say, seriously, appreciate the things and people in your life – whether it’s something new or old, embrace it all.
A bit of mixed thoughts with this post, but I hope I connected the dots as best as I could. I have been battling with getting some sleep for the last couple of weeks. But I really wanted to touch on some of the challenges and realizations Ma-hood encompasses. Hold tight for the next post, I think I’m going to expand my thoughts and go back in time with the next one. For now, take a few minutes to reflect and appreciate the goodness in your life; it’ll make you smile, I promise.