The Mom Hat

I will be the first to admit that I think I was a little cocky going into this motherhood thing. After all, I've been babysitting since I was 9. I've been a nanny for 6 different families, and I worked in 2 daycare centers. When it came to kids, I felt pretty confident that I knew what I was doing. And because of that, before Dayen was even born, I had decided the holiest law you should live by when having kids: Your spouse should always be more important to you than your child. I still believe it. It's just that, before having kids, I never could have realized it would be this hard to live by.

Caleb and I have been married two and a half years now, and I can still say with confidence that we could get through anything together. He's the best friend I've ever had, and I am amazed every day at how selfless and kind he is. Throughout my whole pregnancy, he was so patient with me. He ignored every hormonal outburst and pretended my constant tears were totally normal and OK. He listened to me endlessly talk about labor and babies, and watched me slowly transition from his wife, to the mother of his son.
I know it wasn't easy for him to take a backseat through the whole rough 9 months of pregnancy, but if he didn't feel like a priority then, it only got worse once Dayen was born. I still believe you should put your spouse first. I know how important it is. I am so grateful for everything Caleb does. But my biology is against us. I am programmed to focus on and care for my child. I thought I knew what to expect, but I had no idea.
I had no idea that you could love someone like this. I didn't know I would miss him when he was in the other room, or feel like I was missing a limb every time someone else was holding him. I didn't realize that, far from driving me crazy as I expected, his cries would actually change me physiologically, to the point that my heart races and I can't focus on anything but him until he stops. 
I had no idea that the first time he smiled, really smiled, not just because of gas, would instantly become one of the happiest moments of my life. I didn't know this tiny person could have such a hold on my heart. I didn't realize I'd become the mom who winced when someone sneezed near him.
I knew I would love him, and I knew I would want to take care of him. But I didn't realize that I'd be so willing to throw away myself, to give up everything that makes me me, to be his mother. I guess I should have, but I didn't realize that becoming a mother would be, for me at least, the most important thing I could ever do. Maybe I'm supposed to be more feminist than that, maybe I should pretend that I resent that he changed me and I can't wait to focus on myself again. But I see now that this is the highest calling I could recieve. Every day I wake up so grateful to have this little one, even if I do wake up to loud wails of hunger.

But where does that leave us? How am I supposed to put my marriage before my child, when I feel so strongly the need to take care of him? How do I go back to worrying about Caleb's needs, when Dayen can't take care of himself?
I won't pretend I've figured it out yet. I know that Caleb still feels neglected, although he handles it like a Boss. I do know that it is impossible to look at that sweet baby, who looks exactly like a clone of his Dad, and not love Caleb even more. It's impossible not to fall more in love with him every time he changes a dirty diaper, or feeds him a bottle, or talks to him in a baby voice that I never thought I would hear come out of his mouth. Realizing that there is another person on earth who loves Dayen as much as I do just makes me feel closer to my husband than ever.

 I know that I have to fight my very nature to be able to remove the Mom Hat for awhile, and try my hardest to focus on being a wife again. I think it's important to be said, because so many marriages end after having kids, because it's so easy to let your kids become your whole world and completely forget about your spouse. 
But it is important. It's important to remember that before you were a mom, you were a wife. Being a mother is so special and important and amazing, but so is being his wife. So remember that before you were needed for feedings every few hours, before your mad diaper changing skills made the record books, before you were the most important and needed person in that baby's eyes, you were important to him. You still are. So don't let yourselves forget to show him that he is important too.

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