Somewhere Along the Way.... My Life Changed.

My life has changed. Complete overhaul changed. Am I just now realizing it? No.... But, yes. I am not the same woman I was before I gave birth to little Peyton. I am not the same carefree young girl running barefoot... chasing fireflies and catching dreams. I'm not the same girl who loved to take risks, cliff jumping on the weekends, driving oh a little too fast, climbing the highest tree in the woods, loving the shock factor of looking the part of the girly girl but playing the part of the rough and tumble tomboy. Part of me died the day that Peyton was born. And though I could stop to grieve it's loss, that part of me means nothing in comparison to my baby girl. And in it's place resurrected a new part of me... the part of me that is a mother. The part of me that has traded in a lust for life for a satisfaction and contentment in the life I have produced.

"I'm not who I was, when I took my first step. I look into your eyes to see, you're not through with me yet."

I got to thinking about all of this yesterday while I was at the mall. Yes, I attempted to go shopping. I'd been lonely lately. Since quitting my job I'm getting my first taste of a real SAHM. It's not all peas and carrots (whatever the heck that means!) For the first couple days I relished in the new day stretching out before me. I loved scheduling my day into tidy compartments... feeding Peyton, playing with Peyton, putting Peyton down for a nap and TO DO LIST TIME!!! I loved checking the boxes of my to do list... cooking dinner, folding laundry, cleaning the bathroom... I was lovin' wearing the apron and keeping the home. I'd pack little Peyton up in her stroller and walk to the grocery store, buy my food and then let her sit and watch me in her bounncy seat, and I'd sing as I made dinner. I was the proverbial housewife, and loving every minute. Don't get me wrong. I'm not using past tense because I've grown to hate this role... I still love it actually. But... CONFESSION: I got restless. I hit a couple of days of sheer loneliness. So to remedy my situation.. I went to the mall.

Before I had Peyton, I LOVED THE MALL. I loved shopping. I loved trying on new clothes. I loved even shopping by myself. It was a great time to think, and a great outlet for the die hard GIRL in me. So, hey, what's the difference between then and now, right? Just me and a stroller this time. Right? WRONG. If you've never done it, going to the mall with an infant in tow is not all mary quite contrary. ( sidenote: what is it with my addages that never existed until now????) First off, the spacing between shopping racks were NOT designed to fit a stroller. Throughout my mall excursion yesterday I must have knocked over like 5 shelves. Like KNOCKED OVER. Like, clothes on the floor. Second of all, everyone looks at you. Mainly because I still shop in teenage stores... I mean, I only just turned 20... just cuz I popped out a kid doesn't mean I'm gonna head to Ann Taylor Loft or Coldwater Creek. I'm still in my same stores... but they all look at you like you have no right to be shopping alongside them. And you're shopping next to young girls who don't even know what a stretch mark is let alone have a body that's been wracked by pregnancy and labor. And then from the older ladies if you venture into the department store crowd you get the teenage slut look. They don't even check to see if there's a ring on your finger. They just see young and stroller and they treat you like scum. No joke. I would've said it wasn't 'true til it happened to me.

So my day was basically a wreck. My mall excursion ended with me buying NOTHING. I looked and looked through racks of clothing. I even once ventured to squeeze into a fitting room with the baby. (yeah that was fun). But nothing fit right. I'm still figuring out how to dress my after baby body... I've been 120 pounds since I was 14 years old. Before then I was less. Suddenly I have a baby and an inner tube around my lower torso. I can't even wear maternity tops to hide it because I wore skin tight maternity clothes. Cute on the pregoo belly. Not so cute on the muffin top.

Anyway. I'm getting off track. My mall day. Awful.

So basically after a full day of people being rude, me knocking over display after display with my bulky stroller that NO STORE is designed to fit (which by the way frustration of the day: even in the baby section the aisles are too narrow for a stroller. Make sense? nope...) and after all the looks and stares throghout the day, I was DONE. I headed for the door in a flood of tears and frustration. But I stopped. There in the hallway was my flicker of hope. A huge Aquafina display and a vending machine full of sparkling fresh water. I was sweaty from the day and the water looked GLORIOUS. So I decided to spend my first money of the day on myself (which with our budget I don't have that much so each penny counts). And so i was spoiling myself... and guess what? Yup. The machine ATE MY MONEY. Great. I left the mall BAWLING. And to make it even worse, the tears just added to my spectacle. There's the teenage mother crying because of her issues. Awesome.

As I loaded Peyton into the car and shut the door I looked at her long and hard. Through my tears I thought about the life I had chosen and the changes that had come along with it. I thought about the things I'd lost since she came into this world. My body, my freedom, my activities, my friends, etc. And as I looked at her content little face with those bright blue eyes blinking up at me, I realized none of it mattered. I realized that I didn't care so much if I was still wearing last year styles this year. I realized it didn't matter if people thought I was fat. I realized it didn't matter if I couldn't go to the mall anymore. I realized it didn't matter if I didn't have the level of freedom that I used to enjoy. None of that matters. What matters most right now is my baby girl. If people think I'm frumpy, I don't care... what I care about is that my baby feels she is the most important thing in my world. Maybe I won't know about the latest celebrity gossip or the latest fashions... but I know which toy Peyton loves best, and I know how to make my baby girl flash a smile that will brighten any glum day.

I drove home and walked into my "lonely house" in my out-of-style outfit. I picked up Peyton and a smile found its way to my lips. This is where I belong.

When I made the choice to have a baby, I had no idea what effect it would have. There will still be hard days ahead... but this is what matters.

When I stand before God one day, He's not going to judge me on what I wore or how cool I was. He will take into account the way I raised the life He entrusted to me, and the kind of wife I was to the man He placed over me. "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul." My home may be small. My child may be young. But this is what I've been given. It might not be much, but it's mine and I'm determined to be a wife and mother TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY. My pastor said something on Sunday that spurred me on. He said, "You might be wiping noses and butts in this age, but you may be the governor of half a kingdom in the next." I want to be faithful in the little so that one day I will be entrusted with much. I want to bring glory to God in my home. I want my children to rise and call me blessed. I want to be found faithful.

Yeah, my life has changed. But all for the better. I no longer am the girl I once was. And I no longer wish to be.


Jamie said...

Hahaha Claire, this is JAMIE p. aka yekins from Olean (umm actually, now I'm Jamie G. from Maryland...)
This post made me laugh so hard! I have a 2 month old baby girl and so I sooo know where you're coming from right now (except -- I shop at Ann Taylor Loft. You just made me feel really old. :0) Just wait until you're 23!! It's all over for you then!!) I am staying home now too, and I know it can get a little lonely not having other adults around during the day and also feeling sort of "trapped" like you can't just go out on a whim anymore(side note - just got back from our first post-baby road does a human being that is only 10 pounds need a suitcase bigger than both me and my husband AND the entire trunk for all of her acessories!!) But its so true - everything you give up to be a mom pales in comparison to those little smiles they give you!! Anyway, I think you are doing pretty good if it took you 4 months to get to this point...I made it there in half the time! That's one reason I just got back on facebook...connecting with other moms in the area...
Also, I was cracking up when I got to the part about the skin tight maternity clothes...yeah I did that too...very cute on the belly and you're right, NOT cute on my muffin top right now. ALSO - when the ladies give you dirty looks, just be glad you can FIT your rings on your finger!! I had to take mine off around the 8 month pregnant mark and they have yet to make their way back onto my finger.
Ok well annnyway like I said, I just reactivated my facebook account yesterday and saw this blog and had to comment because I wanted to let you know I'm right there with ya on this and that we should keep in touch!! Your baby girl is beautiful!! Congratulations!!

Intricate Pandemonium said...

Goodness, Claire! I completely could have written this post (well, not nearly as cleverly as you, though!). I struggle with so much of this, even as a mom of 1 1\2 years and another one on the way. I remember coming to the same exact realization a few months after Landon was born, and thinking that now that I had come to terms with my new life, I would be a-okay. I was wrong. Sometimes I'm discouraged that I STILL go through some of those same emotions and thoughts. But God has really hit me upside the head showing me that the struggles I go through are only proof that the place He has me is exactly the place I need to be. It builds my faith, it challenges me, it makes me strive to be a better wife and mom. If I didn't have those emotions, life would be too easy, and I wouldn't be changing or growing. It's tough stuff, though.
Hopefully one of these days, the 3 of us can go to the mall with our strollers (me with a double stroller - ha!) .. and combine the best of both worlds. Being a girl AND a mom, and having people that can laugh with you and understand exactly what you're going through.
Love you!
- Melissa

Kayla Christine said...

I love you, Claire, you always were an encouragement to me when we were mentoring together. May the Lord continue to show you the best that He has for you in your role as a wife and mom. Someday Peyton will look at you and say, "I love you, mommy." (not too much longer, just a couple of years) and you will receive an even greater gift - love and sacrifice rewarded yet once again.

Love you!


Lisa Rimke said...

Hi! I just started reading your blog! I'm 21 with a 4 month old, and I get the saaaame feeling. Going out just isn't the same! You had me CRACKING up! :) I've cried on the way home too! And how you describe coming home to your parents house with baby...weird!
It's just SUCH a blessing to have a baby and be married young.
I LOVE it and wouldn't trade it for the world.
Also, I love how your husband says to not insult 'his gem'.
My husband gets upset when I complain about my looks too, and now I see why.