Saturday, May 11, 2013

life with lucy- unexpected lessons

I've made it through 19 months of motherhood and I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this mom thing! And while I have completely embraced the expected lessons (like soak up every moment, it will change your life, it's a love like no other, don't sweat the small stuff, etc) there have been a handful of unexpected lessons that have really made an impact on my life since Lucy arrived. With Mothers Day this weekend I thought I would dedicate a post to five unexpected things I have learned about being a mom (so far).

Incorporating motherhood into my life as an artist has been the single most profound part of this journey so far. I knew our lives would be creative and I knew I could introduce art to Lucy with the obvious- drawing, painting and crafting. But what I didn't realize was how inspired I would be by having a child. Every moment of every day I find myself tapping into my creativity to express my love to Lucy. 

From making things that bring her joy to using art for teaching moments to finding inspiration in her interests, I have discovered a whole new way to be creative. Even on days when I don't have time to draw or paint, I am still able to be creative because of her!

It's hard to admit but I am a control freak. I like to know what is going to happen, when it will happen and how it will feel when it happens. Much of this comes from my reserved nature and (unfortunately) genetics! I have been like this my entire life and over the years I've had to lighten up, accept that I cannot control everything and learn how 
to "go with the flow" in different ways. But having a child hit the reset button for me and my control issues. As soon as I saw my dear Lucy's little face, I could feel that nasty desire to control everything creep back in. 

So in the last nineteen months I've had to really do some hard work on being ok with things I cannot control. Now that I am a mom, I've had to learn over and over again- that it's OKAY to embrace the unexpected and let go of the need to control. I know this is going to be a life long journey for me but in all honesty, I am so grateful for the growth that motherhood has brought to this part of my personality.

As much I would love for life (and motherhood) to be easy, I have learned in the last two years that it's ok (and necessary) to be uncomfortable. I cannot tell you how many times (since I was pregnant up until now) that I have struggled with fear, anxiety, doubt and feeling stupid when it comes to raising a kid. There have been moments when I have burst into tears, panicked and felt so darn uncomfortable and TOTALLY not "qualified" 
to be a mom. But thankfully, it's in these moments that I have the opportunity to grow in my faith, become wiser, lean on my husband, lighten up, be open to change and ultimately, grow into an even stronger woman. 

One of the best lessons I've learned is to keep moving forward despite struggle. As I have mentioned, (HERE) in the early months of Lucy's life, we struggled with her reflux. Feedings took so much time, patience and attention and much of the day was spent finding ways to keep her upright and comfortable. 

Amidst this challenge, which felt HUGE at the time, I had creative obligations, a business to run and a move to Oregon to plan. Some how, some way (by the grace of God!) I was able to learn how to keep moving forward despite the obstacles- I strapped that kid to my chest and kept going! There was no time to stop and feel sorry for myself or even time to pause and relax- I HAD to keep moving forward in order to pull everything off. This 
lesson has served me well and has helped me push through all kinds of challenging situations.

For years I was very resistant and fearful about becoming a mom. There were a multitude of reasons combined with bad timing but the biggest fear I had was losing myself in the experience. When I found out I was pregnant this fear was something I thought about (and prayed about) until I went into labor. I had no idea what to expect when Lucy arrived, I had prepared myself for the "worst case scenario" (losing myself) but to my surprise something different happened. 

I did lose myself (or maybe I should say found myself), especially in those early days but strangely I loved the feeling. Motherhood seemed to be the missing piece of the puzzle in my life. Now, a year and a half later, much of the old Alisa is LONG gone. My
priorities, my interests, my goals and my perspective have changed in the most beautiful 
of ways. The truth is- I have completely lost myself to being a wife and a mom and I am loving every moment of it!

How about all you moms out there? 

Do you have any unexpected lessons that have come from your own journey as a mother? I'd love to hear!


linda said...

i'm a brand new mom with a newborn of 2 months... and really enjoyed reading this post. Especially great to hear about how it's ok to be uncomfortable. Talk about a brand new journey of unexpected everythings! Thanks for sharing :P

Melanie said...

Motherhood is a rolercoaster. Enjoy the ride. My two boys are 13 and 15 just in a blink...
Liefs, Melanie

Liz said...

Great post and so recognizable! Could have been me who wrote this!

Love and hugs,

Anonymous said...

I have two boys and completely relate to what you have expressed in your post! But I have to tell you that you are such an inspiration to me and I love how create you are with in such simple ways! Yesterday I bought a sketchbook for my boys and myself so that we can start creating daily! Thanks and happy mother's day, Sophie from Cyprus

silly old suitcase said...

I recognize every bit of your story...
Being uncormfortable is okay.
And being less perfect than you wish to be is okay
Even having an off day because every thing is going
wrong is okay ;-)
Now my girls are a bit older than your lovely Lucy
(3 and 5 and 7) and i'm surprised to see how each one
of my girls are growing into unique persons with their
own character.
I'm surprised to see how well they do despite some little
health issues.
Also it was amazing to see how kids can help you through moments of grief (when my mother died) because they are so sweet, funny and see life in another perspective than us, grown ups do.
I never expected i could learn things from my girls instead of them learning from me.

It' just great to be a mom. x

Sue Marrazzo Fine Art said...

I was blessed with children and I treasure them even more as we both age! Motherhood is a GIFT!

Enjoy your baby, they grow up so fast!
Happy Mother's DAY to all mothers!!!

dawn said...

I loved reading this and seeing the cute pictures!!

First I must say that you have done an AMAZING JOB BEING A MOMMY ALL THIS TIME, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. I can't believe all you do and get done with a little one around.

I too didn't want kids, coming from divorced parents and worried that could happen to me. Once I did have the first one all I could think about was having more. Happy to say we are still going strong in our marriage, YEA!!

The love you have for them is like no other and can't be explained. Even on the bad/hard days, my heart is soooo full of love for them.

I had to realize my one daughter does things in her own time. She is no rush and if pushed backs away more. It was all I could to stand back and let her learn on her own time.

Having a boy after all girls, wanted one soooo much. He melts my heart daily, so whacky and funny and LOUD and sentimental. Thankful he made me into a soccer mama, love to watch him play!

I don't think we ever quit having to take of them and worry about them. Just keep doing what you've doing and you/Andy and Lucy will be GREAT!!

SO happy that your closer to your mom and can celebrate Mother's Day together. Have a wonderful weekend and thanks so much for sharing this part of life with us. It's so helpful to have other moms that can help you thru this.

p.s. Do you have Lucy signed up for reading hour at the library. This is a great age to get her into that or another outside activity. Making friends early on is fun for them and for you.

Unknown said...

I'm pregnant for the first time (8 months now) and I share with you almost all the feelings and fears that you have exposed in this post (as many other first-time pregnant females, I suppose) and I really thank you for sharing it and explain your experience, as this, somehow, relieves me
thanks again

Anonymous said...

Ik love your blog! This is the first time i write a piece. Sadly it is not given to me to be a mom.... But i love your writing and paiting, wishing al the kids in the world a loving mom like you.
Greeting from Holland.

HollyM said...

I think you have said it all. My 3 are grown and off working, no grandchildren yet. I experienced most of what you did. One of the biggest things for me like you was letting go and trying to deal with the anxiety that comes with the fear of letting go. I had so much anxiety over circumstances I had no control over that I had to let go or be sick.
I'm still working on that part.
I was never an empty nester having lots of creative endeavours to keep me busy. The unexpected thing for me lately is how lonesome I sometimes get for my children now. My daughter has been in Korea for nearly 3 years. We just booked a flight home for her for Xmas.
Thanks for your honest and thoughtful posts. They're refreshing and are a great reminder of everyone's common humanity.

Stephanie said...

i become a mom at 37 and 42. They are now now 6 and almost 2. I am a MUCH better person because of them. And I would not have made it without my uber supportive, loving husband who is a great dad. Being a mom has changed me for the better and it is truly the hardest job in the world.

Kimminita said...

I am not yet a mom, maybe because of the guilt I feel about fearing to become pregnant and a mom. There's no way back then. Your writing just taught me, it is OK to be afraid!

Mary said...

thank you Alisa, for sharing this. It's good to hear each other's story's, it helps to know we are not alone on our journey! I don't think anyone is "qualified" to be a really is learning to be a mom. You my dear are doing a fabulous job! and will continue to by God's grace and loads of prayer!

My children are grown, 33, 31, and 21. The learning never stops! But isn't that the way of life...

Grace and peace to you dear one!

Hastypearl said...

My advice, as a mother of sons, now 29 and 31...write your list down on a big piece oa paper and post them in your studio.
Read and reread them every day.
Leave space at the, actually, attach pages behind, to continue writing your lessons.
They will never end.
I am the eternal realist when I say to new mothers...children will bring you your greatest JOY and your greatest heartbreaks.
Don't get too romantic were a child, so you know it from your perspective.
Finally, the hardest lesson that will come is in learning...that your children, will never, don't even have the capacity, to love you as much as you do them.
NEVER make the mistake of expecting that of them...
Blessings're going to do great!

Tina said...

Hastypearl- Thank you for this tip, "Finally, the hardest lesson that will come is in learning...that your children, will never, don't even have the capacity, to love you as much as you do them."

I sometimes wonder about that, and use to be made to feel guilty as a child that I didn't love my mom enough. As a mom now myself, I understand this, though I would never have been able to verbalize it. So thank you.

Alisa, I would say the biggest lesson I have learned from being a mom is to trust my instincts. It took me a few years to get there but once I did, our world has been 100% better. You are with your daughter more than anyone else. No one knows her like you do. Don't ever let anyone, even doctors, try to tell you they know whats best for her.

This post sort of explains what I mean.

Obat tradisional asam urat said...

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Unknown said...

you are so perfect. To be honest with you I really love your blog and everything that you do, but my favorite posts are the ones that include Lucy in one way or another. I can see she brings so much happiness and light to your life and to this blog.

Suzanne C said...

What a beautiful mother's day post!
My oldest is turning 18 and going of to college this fall and I think every year there are new challenges and blessings. Enjoy them!

Artes da Cris said...

It's so similar to my history as a mom...It's amazing how it is difficult to juggle all the situations. Sixteen years ago I decided to be a full time mom to my son Pedro. This year he's finishing high school and I can't understand how everything went sooooo fast!
The lesson to be learned: be present, enjoy the most you can, because suddenly they get older!
I love the way you open your's amazing. You should write a book about it!
Big hug
Ana from Brasil

Iris said...

Sending love to all the mothers of the world. Happy mother's day!

I've decided never to have children and have been told countless times that I was missing so much. I will never know - what I **do know** is that my life is absolutely amazing without them.

Indigo Blue said...

I had complications during my pregnancy and ended up in hospital for 5 weeks before going home for 4 weeks then back again for the big day. Having children was not high on my list of to do's for some years, but during those five weeks in hospital I had plenty of time to think as I tried to hang on to my baby. Witnessing what goes on in a maturnity unit taught me the lesson that having a baby is not as straight foreward as many might think. Sophie has been a delight and I have been surprised at how easily I moved into the Mummy role. I am a textiles teacher and Sophie has always said that she was the best thing that I have ever made.
The time goes so quickly when they are small, enjoy every minute.

AshleyQ said...

Thank you do much for this post Alisa. I come here everyday for artistic inspiration but I found you because of your vulnerable "realness" about becoming a mom. I can relate to all of what you wrote and I especially appreciate you being transparent about your faith in God. By being you, you make me feel more confident about being me and I'm so grateful that I feel like I've found a kindred spirit! I can only hope that I will learn to continue to incorporate art in my daily life like you have instead of sacrificing it completely to all my mommy responsibilities.

Fran said...

Being a Mom is the best thing on earth. I was just at your retreat with my daughter and I can't tell you how much we enjoyed it. You described that your daughter is very strong willed. Though this is challenging to parent, she will be the child that does not give up and completes her goals. You will want to pull your hair out at the same time you are busting with pride -----but in the end there is no greater joy!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Alisa,

Thank you very much for this beautiful post. I have a twoyearold little girl - and feel very similar things about maternity. Lucy is charming and beautiful, thank you for letting us know so much about yourself and your family.
Emese (from Hungary)

Liette alias Pixelle said...

you describe all the feelings, fears, hope and love that i have been through when i was a mom full time with my 2 i am a grandma part time because my grand daughter is living so far away and i can see her with skype most of the time, i miss all those special moment you describe with happy for you to discover joy to be a mom...happy mother's day dear

Sydney said...

I love this, you hit it right on with what you said. It's such a scary time when you are a new parent and then it just comes naturally. The longer you are a parent the more comfortable you become in your role. Thanks for sharing this! We have six children, we were high school sweethearts and have been together 26 years. We had two girls very young, he was 19 and I was 18 when we had our first. I was terrified to have the baby let alone raise her but it just came to me. We grew and learned along the way. We waited about six years and to our surprise, two more boys joined our happy family. A few years later another boy joined us. I started to have weird things going on that were indescribable, like numbness in my legs, strange sensations, pain in my joints. Pause about four more years and we were blessed with our last child, a little girl. During my pregnancy with our youngest Julia, I was diagnosed with MS and a rare form of arthritis. I decided I could not pass that gene on to any other children and feel good about myself. We were definitely fertile, so I decided to have my tubes tied. I have been so wonderfully blessed with my children. Children have the most wonderful power of making you forget your illness and pain and focus on them. They don't care if you aren't doing well and can't go anywhere, they are perfectly content staying home and sewing or crafting with Mom. I decided to work from home in 2008 and it's been a challenge to hold a full-time accounting director's position for my parent's restaurant franchise and work around the children but I've managed well and I love every moment. I've absolutely loved watching you and Andy evolve into the fabulous parents I knew you would be. Happy Mother's Day. I'm artistic and a huge fan of your work.

zeemartini said...

Happy Mother's Day everyone!
This is my first Mother's Day as a mom. Oscar is 10 weeks old and the most wonderful gift I could have ever wanted in life. I knew for years that I wanted to be a mom but getting Oscar here ended up being a lot harder than I expected. Despite wanting to be a mom I definitely struggled with the idea of losing myself once he was born. Honestly I am not sure how it will go, but so far I feel inspired with a new purpose to make sure art is a part of his life and that as a family we continue to live creatively. I love to read your blog and visit it daily ever since I discovered it. I feel encouraged that you are able to make art and be a mom and that these things seem to go hand in hand. Thank you.

Madeline Rains said...

Thanks for sharing these revelations. A big one for me (I have a 15 and 12 yo) had been letting them have their own feelings and not trying to fix them, make it better all the time. Just letting go and trusting them has been hard but so valuable.

Tanja said...

This is such a wonderful, inspirational read. I do not even have kids yet and still love reading about your experience. Thank you for posting! It kind of gives one an idea, of how it *could* work out, being an artist + mother.

studioGypsy said...

yes yes yes!!! to all of those (i know all of that)!! and AMEN sister!! :D happy mama's day to you, lovely one!! you are beautiful. and we so love venturing together with you in your in blogland!! thank you for sharing your journey with us. big fellow-mama hugs from me to you!! xoxoxo

Giggles said...

Happy Mothers Day Alisa! This post made me cry! As the mother of an adult daughter and only child I always say my daughter was put on this earth to teach me way more than I could every teach her! Much of what you said mothers as a collective all feel...thank you for putting a voice to it!! You are doing a marvelous job!!

Hugs Giggles

Teacher5Reader said...

Dear Alisa, Thank you for your beautiful words of joy, fear, anxiety, and love. My daughter (my one and only) is now grown. Looking back (and I'm so thankful for pictures to remind me), I realize how I worried my way through all her growing years - especially since I taught full time and always seemed to have so much to do for work. Finally, I began to live by this quote by the wonderful Dutch priest and author, Henri J. Nouwen.
Here are his words: “My whole life I have complained that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work.”
My daughter is now my treasured friend and I find I am so relaxed and blessed by her company. Coming through to the other side of motherhood is so full of wonder, joy AND ... amazement that we made it!!
I applaud you and your husband for taking time each week to enjoy nature and each other! You're doing a great job and I admire the priorities you have set!
Happy Mother's Day to one who brings joy to her daughter and to all of us who have the pleasure of viewing your wonderful blog!

annie said...

Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing your honesty and optimism!

Scatterjoy said...

I've discovered and continually remind myself that...some days you get it right and some days you go to bed knowing that you have another chance tomorrow to get it right. It is perfectly OK not to be perfect and your children love you no matter what.

Bobbie said...

Great post ... I identify w/it all.
I was fortunate when my two daughters were young to learn to communicate to them what I wanted them to do, instead of the usual "no,no" or "don't ...." It took re-training myself, but it's amazing how we directionalize their thinking/actions with our words. And another side benefit: this works with most anyone :-)

Amy Munson said...

A continuing lesson for me is patience. Life runs at a totally different pace for a 4 year old than what I would prefer it to. I don't want to be a crabby mom that nags all of the time. So I have to let go a little of the control and just go with it.

Paula said...

It's amazing how seeing that face can make your heart melt. and it never goes away...from the mum of a 20, 19, and 12 yr am I OLD!

maria f. said...

Being a control freak and being a mom are basically mutually exclusive options. Thank goodness our kids come along to make us loosen up. Enjoy the ride! (BTW, the control freak will rear its ugly head again when she's a teen!)

pedalpower said...

I was (am?) a control freak and being a mom taught me to lighten up......and that the most wonderful things can happen when I let go of the reins and let the kids take the lead once in a while. I struggle with perfectionism too, and I had to make myself let them do what they can, make mistakes, help out even if it's not like I'd do it, and most of all to encourage them to dive in and try things....that it's ok to be bad/inexperienced at something while you are learning!

I think I learned more from being a mom than anything else in my life. Now my kids are young adults, and I'm getting lessons in letting go, and being a mom to grown-ups!

Virbana said...

The bit about losing yourself to motherhood brought tears to my eyes, literally. You put it so beautifully and spot on, oh my gosh! I really enjoy reading these Lucy posts, you describe so well the very same emotions that I've had with my girl. All the best to you and your lovely family!

Larissa said...

Alisa - what a beautiful post! I loved the pic of the little toes with faces - so adorable! I'm a mum too - and although my eldest are 17 (twins - a lesson in itself!) I'm still learning, and enjoying the process. You have a lovely family, keep enjoying xx

Larissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea Isabel said...

Hi Alisa, now I am all puzzled after reading this post, thinking if I should keep on sticking to my decision of not being mother.

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Kacy said...

Absolutely beautiful post. I too had reservations about being a mother, was scared of losing myself and the special relationship with my husband, and then I had my daughter and I've just been blown away by how fulfilled and focused I am now and how I feel like I know my true self. Its a blessing that is so hard to describe. You captured a lot of it very nicely in your post. thank you for sharing.

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Olga4 said...

I have no words... Thank you for this beautiful post!


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