So, my baby boy who was just born like yesterday is now 1 year old.
It’s hard to grasp how fast time flew by. It’s hard to grasp that this tiny baby that was just in my belly is now beginning to walk, talk and really engage with the world.
He’s grown and evolved (just like any other baby, I know) and is the love of my life.
Celebrating the milestones like the first time he opened his eyes for more than a few seconds (he was a sleeper), the first time he babbled, the first time he really smiled, the first time he rolled over, the first time he sat in his high chair, the first time he sat on his own, the first time he pulled himself up, the first time he truly wanted to walk and the time he began to talk and never stopped – it was all amazing.
My first birthday as a mom was relaxed, our first Christmas as a tiny family was amazing, him being in the snow for the first time was funny, him enjoying rain so much is heart-melting, him playing with other kids is encouraging, him playing underneath the Eiffel tower and loving the train ride to Paris made me so proud as a person who LOVES to travel and discover the world.
It’s been a great year, a fast year, a tiring year and a heart-wide-open year.
Just as he’s grown, I have grown. Just as he’s opened his eyes to the world more and more, I’ve opened my eyes to the more there is every day.
I’ve learned a hell of a lot, but here are my top 8 lessons.
1. I learned to love for the first time
Yes, I was married (and still am), but I never loved to the depth that I love this little man. When I first saw him, looked at him, something within me changed. There’s now a love I never thought possible. A love I could’ve never understood before the day I “met” him.
It’s a love that makes me look at him over and over and over again, fascinated with how he sees the world. It’s a love that gives me goosebumps, makes me want to kiss him all over and never stop making him laugh. It’s a love that originates deep, deep, deep within.
It’s a love that hurts so much that it sometimes feels like terror. It’s a love that made me watch over him for weeks terrified he’d stop breathing. It’s a love that makes me not be able to watch movies where little children cry or – worse – are harmed. It’s a love that makes me scared for the future of this planet, but also hopeful that we as a humanity have the capacity to feel this way.
It’s a love a that has given me more strength than ever before and a love has given me more understanding for all the moms in this world.
2. I learned to take responsibility
There’s a HUGE difference between being responsible for your own health, safety, eating, income and general life and knowing that now a little helpless baby is dependant on you. I believe that this is especially scary for single moms as you’re doing it alone.
In my case, there’s no financial help from the father, no emotional help from him either, no physical help, it’s all me. Yes, I have parents who are lovingly caring for him too, but they’re not his parents. I am.
Sometimes this kind of responsibility is scary, but then I look at him and I instinctively know that I’ll do what’s best for him. I’ll do my very best and that’ll be enough for him.
So, as a result, I’ve moved back to the country where he has more space, more room to explore (and where the Internet sucks…). I’m taking on a new job to have the security he needs. I’m stepping back where I can and stepping up where I must. I no longer need as much “me” time as before and I’ve learned to live with the fear of failing. I’ve become stronger for him and because of him.
And yes, responsibility has a whole new meaning to it.
3. I learned to get tons done in 5-minute increments
The only times I’ve had more than 5 minutes to myself is when my mom was taking care of Johann and even then, I was always aware of what they’re doing and where they’re at.
Thus, I had to get super efficient and learn to get an amazing amount of things done in about 5 minutes and most of the times, these 5 minutes are interrupted by Johann wanting to crawl on my lap and play with my computer at least 5 times. Yet, somehow, I managed to publish a few blog posts, keep a few clients, write my weekly newsletters and coach.
Somehow I even managed to get in regular showers, pee and take care of my hygiene. It wasn’t easy, but it all worked out. 😉
4. I learned that life is more than this business
Before I had Johann, I *knew* that my life was about making money and being successful to prove to my parents that a) I was not a looser and a failure and b) I could make it on my own without a darn university degree.
I worked myself way too hard, especially in the first months of Johann’s life. And although I still have my drive, I still want to be successful, I still want to grow big, I now also know that I can spend an afternoon outside with Johann without having the feeling that I am failing everyone.
The world is not going to end if I don’t work on a Sunday morning.
Johann has shown me something that I’d long forgotten: how to be in the moment and have fun. How to just lie on the floor on a regular Thursday afternoon and play. How to go to bed at 8pm and be OK with it.
Johann basically has shown me how to live again.
5. I learned that priorities shift
The same is true for being super attached to a world that was all about personal development. While I still think that personal growth matters, I am not as obsessed with it anymore. I know I don’t have to try everything, go to every workshop, read every new book, follow spiritual principles to a T and keep up with all of my friends in order to live a happy and fulfilled life.
I can grow on my own in my little village with my little man and that’s perfectly fine as well. Priorities change. Big time. And the more you can just “go with the flow” the more you’ll enjoy your life.
6. I learned that I really, really, REALLY miss NYC
One thing that I can’t get over is that I haven’t been in NYC in more than 1.5 years. Yes, for some this sounds like not a big deal at all, but for me it’s the longest time I haven’t been in *my* city in more than 15 years.
When I see photos of NY or I see it in movies, I get home sick. I feel terrible and all I want is to hop on a plane and *go home*. But I can’t, so I’m living with it. I’m breathing into it and I tell Johann all about my amazing times in the Big Apple.
7. I learned that grandparents are a huge blessing
What would we do without my parents? Johann LOOOOOOVES his grandma. She’s his favorite person in the whole wide world; definitely far more so than I am (and it’s OK ;).
He goes crazy when she comes home from work and he always wants to play and be with her.
My parents have been such a big help – as has my sister – and because of them, I have been able to continue working in my business at least a few hours a week.
Grandparents are the best and it makes my heart grow two sizes to see how much both of my parents love Johann. He’s the joy of their lives and I hope it stays that way forever.
8. I learned that motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me
It is. It so is.
Motherhood changes everything. It changes you to the core and every particle in your precious body. I’m definitely not the same than I was a year ago. Not everything is better, not everything is always sunshine and roses, but there’s more life, more love and more joy in my heart than ever before.
I can’t wait for another year with Johann and I am definitely looking forward to more children in the future.
Thank you, life, for giving me this gift. Thank you, universe, for allowing me to become a mom. Thank you, body, for giving me a second chance despite everything I’ve done to you.
I am grateful for all that I have.
And that’s what motherhood did for me.
Are you a mom? If so, how has being a mom changed your life and your being?