The Joy Series: The Unexpected Joys of Being A New Mom

newborn baby attached to mother's chest in a blue sling, one of the joys of being a new mom

I am not going to lie, I did not have motherhood on my life’s radar. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t until a couple of my closest girlfriends, feminists, and boss babes in their own right had their babies that I thought, “Maybe I should have a kid too.”

“Should we try to have a kid?” I asked my husband, jokingly. We had no idea how our lives would change by meeting our little boy within the following year, but I can’t deny I was surprised by the joys of being a new mom. It isn’t easy and can be exhausting, but don’t let social media fool you: Being a new mom is not all hard, not all struggling, not all sticky messes, and is surprisingly full of joy!

The Unexpected Joys of Being a New Mom
The joy of being nap trapped.

Before I became a new mom, I did zero research about breastfeeding, contact naps, you name it. I had no idea that some babies will only sleep if they can hear your heartbeat while resting on your chest. This is how I discovered the joy of being nap-trapped.

I learned pretty quickly the house being dirty would bug me, chores would need to be done, and the to-do list would pile up with a newborn. Enter contact naps. I find absolute joy in and sitting holding my little boy, letting all of those other things just wait. There’s no better excuse to binge a show with my husband, scroll on my phone, or sip that lukewarm cup of coffee that I haven’t gotten to finish yet. Am I right?

The joy of bailing on plans.

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I don’t know about you, but even before being a mom, I loved having a good reason to bail on plans that I never should’ve made. I struggle with saying “no,” so a lot of times I would end up failing when my schedule was packed.

These days, I don’t have to come up with excuses or stress on bailing, because I have a baby! Baby trumps all! In my book, there is no better reason to be gracious with your fellow mom friends who are late, your friends who don’t show up at all, or your friends who show up looking like a hot mess.

Don’t want to cancel your plans? Don’t worry—baby will help!

The joy of making them smile.

All jokes aside, I’ve never gotten so much joy from seeing someone smile as my little man. As he gets older and learns more about the world, I feel like his smiles might be a little more fleeting, but even more joy-filled and powerful. As a new mom, you’ll find yourself doing the same crazy dance, the same silly noise, or the same insane faces over and over again if they make it a little one smile. Worth the effort. 

The joy of seeing the world anew through their eyes.

If you’re ever disillusioned with the world, watch a kid playing. There is something about children’s sense of wonder that is priceless. Seeing my son go to an aquarium for the first time, I found myself sucked into watching the ripple of silver on the fish, watching his face filled with wonder as a diver entered the tank, and couldn’t help but smile as he watched the bubbles rising from the reef.

And whenever the bathtub drains at the house, there is a little silver tornado that forms in the water as it goes down the drain. My son is too little to notice it now, but that is the type of thing I can’t wait for him to discover and get excited about just like I remember being curious about as a child.

The joy of deepening and developing a new relationship with your partner, friends, and family members.

When we first had our son, I had no idea how my relationship with my husband would morph into something deeper and greater. I’m a pretty self-sufficient, strong woman, so the vulnerability of being a new mom required me to rely on my husband more for help. I needed him in a different way, adding different facets to our relationship. Not all new moms are doing this alongside their partners, but they are doing it alongside someone.

Being a new mom also brings the joy of a deeper, multifaceted relationship with other potential caregivers, from family members and our parents to siblings or daycare workers and babysitters. As someone who likes to work hard and be social, and then isolate to recover, I find being a new mom brings the joy of learning how to rest in the community. We cannot parent alone, so we also find the joy of doing life with others.

The joy of meeting a whole new you.

While becoming a new mom requires the rearranging of our old activities, it also introduces us to a new, improved version of ourselves. With my plethora of hobbies whittled down, I find myself prioritizing my free time to the things that matter, the people with whom I truly connect, and doing the things that fuel my soul. Knowing how much time my motherly duties will take, I want to utilize my “me time” in the most enriching way for myself, my little one, and my family.

Sure, sometimes the most fulfilling thing I can do for my soul is veg out, but there’s no guilt or shame in taking a much-needed rest. Not only did I just grow a human, but I’m committed to the long haul of giving them the best possible life.

Being a new mom is the most challenging and rewarding role we’ll ever assume. Get ready to be surprised by all the joy! 

Wondering how to approach the road of motherhood before you, first-time moms? There is no blueprint, so you’ll need to create your own path—and that’s a good thing: Don’t Be Afraid to Be a Different Kind of Mom! with Helen Smallbone – 191

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