This week’s featured mommy is a military wife and a working mom. She’s a California girl with an unbreakable spirit and a strong love for health and fitness. We’ve been acquainted since early pregnancy, and our babies were born just a few days apart. I’m thrilled to have had an honest chat and interview with this American sweetheart and fellow working mama, Laura. Here’s what she had to say:
1. What was your first thought when you found out you were pregnant?
I’ll never forget that morning! It was 6 a.m. and I had decided to take a pregnancy test after feeling really strange the night before at the gym. I wasn’t even nervous because I knew I wasn’t pregnant. We had stopped birth control only weeks before and had only had the week of Christmas to even “try.” When the positive symbol appeared, I felt that warm, comforting happiness wash over me! I couldn’t tell you what my thoughts were exactly, but I was blissfully happy and very surprised! Chris was away for training that week and I had four very long days of keeping the news to myself and being the only person to know I was pregnant! So hard!
2. What has been your best mommy moment so far?
That’s a tough one, since I feel like every day contains so many amazing little moments. My son has my heart completely wrapped around his little finger. The smiles, giggles, goofy faces and all the silly things he does constantly, make my day, every day. He physically has always pushed himself and he never stops amazing me with what he can do! He is so happy and loving with nonstop hugs and kisses and everyone who meets him falls in love with him. Every night when I lay him in his crib I look at him and my mind is blown with how much I adore this tiny, amazing, sweet person. I usually have to force myself out of his room because I swear I could stand there watching him all night. It’s something that’s happened every night since the first night we brought him home. Maybe those are my special mommy moments.
3. Do you have any advice for other women who are going through the new mommy experience with a spouse who is absent or in the military?
Be proactive in building and then leaning on your support system! I am terrible about being that person who never wants help even when it’s offered. And I sure as heck won’t ask for it! I had to learn that it doesn’t make me incapable or weak to accept help from family and friends. You’re not alone even when you feel very much alone. Join a mom group, dig out old and new friend’s phone numbers, be up for new mom and baby activities…just stay busy and social!
I struggled with feeling guilty when I was sad. Our sons first Christmas with daddy being gone was very hard and I felt terrible for sobbing on Christmas Eve when I “should” have been happy and festive. All of the firsts are very tough to experience alone, but it goes back to the fact that you aren’t actually alone. Call your mom, your sis, your BFF or whoever will laugh and scream and smile with you because baby just crawled for the first time! It sounds like an obvious, but in the moment when all you want is your significant other, it’s not. It’s okay to be sad! It’s hard because there are very few people who truly understand what it’s like to not only have the person you love gone for months and months (usually in a dangerous place!) at a time, but then throw in a brand new baby and it’s a recipe for an emotional roller coaster. Be okay with the fact that most people won’t get it and are going to say all the wrong things lol.
DONT listen to the haters or the critics! Learning to be a new parent is hard enough, but learning alone with a spouse who is overseas makes it even more interesting. Stick to what you know in your heart is best and it will always be okay.
4. What have been some of the challenges of working secularly and raising a baby?
Working full time and raising a baby alone is exhausting! It’s so cliche, but there truly are not enough hours in the day to get everything done! Daycare is a huge mental challenge for me. I struggle with the idea of a stranger getting paid to raise my child. I’m so thankful that I found a daycare we love, but it’s still not me there with him. And between a full day at the office and an hour commute each way, I only have a couple hours a day with the little guy. Like moms everywhere could tell you, those hours are full of household chores, dinner, bath, meal prep for the next day and then bed. So much for our quality time, son!
5. If you could go back to the beginning and give yourself one piece of advice about motherhood during this first year of Max’s life, what would it be?
Remember it’s not just the firsts that are so precious, it’s also the lasts. We never know when something will be the last time, so soak in every special thing. His baby book is full of his firsts, but he moves from one phase to the next so quickly that it’s his lasts I end up wishing I could remember.
Thank you so much for sharing your personal story and strength with us today Laura. I know it’s a huge challenge to raise your son and work while your hubby is serving the country, but you’re so gracious and you set an amazing example of strength for your son. Now let’s see that beautiful mama and sweet baby boy!