Baby’s First Year: Losing Myself to Motherhood

by Lara on August 8, 2013

When I was 25 years old, I believed I was invincible.  I lived in a Bay Area apartment as a newlywed, and took the train every day to work at my first big-girl job in the city.  I wore Anne Taylor dresses and drank venti soy lattes for breakfast.  I took barre classes, ate $18 salads for lunch, and maintained what I now look back on as a pretty decent figure.  I went on business trips to places like New York City and San Diego, where men would offer to buy me drinks and my colleagues and I would smirk when we stumbled back to our hotel at night and tired-looking women would stick their heads out from their rooms to ask us to be quiet because their kids were sleeping.

Three years later, I sit and write this post with dried up banana on my elastic-waist pants.  A video monitor is on next to my keyboard, so that as I type I can listen for a cry and watch for a limb getting stuck between the crib rails.  Beside my bed lies a stack of books.  They are not about highly effective habits or how to be naturally thin, but about sleep cycles, infant sign language, and the Montessori teaching philosophy.  Tonight, I will be woken several times from my slumber.  Tomorrow I will forgo makeup and the gym in favor of sunscreen and the kiddie pool.  The lady who lunched can now be found on a playdate at the park.  And the closest I come to sipping martinis on someone else’s dime is the free juice box they hand out at the end of mommy & me class.

One Year of MotherhoodPhoto courtesy of Aspin Photography

I do this for a twenty-pound creature who was but a twinkle in my eye at 25.  He existed only as sleep I didn’t want to lose, as weight I was afraid to gain, and as money I couldn’t afford to forfeit.

When I finally decided I was ready to do so, my world went from black and white to color.  And while some might look at me and say I have clearly lost myself to motherhood, I can’t help but feel that I have found myself.

I don’t want to get into issues of feminism and working moms and stay at home moms or anything like that today.  What I am about to write is truly from my heart and head, and I want to express those feelings with absolutely zero judgment about anyone else’s decisions.  And that is:  It was a conscious, deliberate, long-planned decision to spend this time 100% dedicated to my son.   To return to work after his birth was a foreign thought to me; it felt like I would be reversing my life path to a world that existed before he did, and I did not want to return to that world.  Not yet. So for now, I wear this badge proudly and gratefully.  My wish is that every woman could be as contented with her circumstances and decisions as I am today, whatever hers may be.

One day in the not-too-distant future, G won’t need me like he does now.  At that point, when we both feel ready, I will look for something new to fill my days and my pocketbook.  Maybe I’ll dust off my high heels, maybe I won’t.  As someone without a strongly established career, my next gig could really be anything.  And while that’s an exciting thought, I don’t for one second kid myself: being this child’s mother is my life’s greatest adventure.

This is the part of several posts written in reflection of Baby’s First Year.  Read about one year of breastfeeding here.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandi August 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm

You are an amazing woman and even more amazing mother. G is so lucky to have such an awesome mama!


Mish @ EatingJourney August 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm

LOVE this!

Love it for so many hardcore reasons of which you’ve written about and those that you have still in our heart.

I to will make a valiant effort to stay home as well. It’s something that my heart desires and something that I’m comitted to. I’m more than happy to cut back on the ‘luxeries’ of life to insure that we can do this. Thank you for being honest with this, it’s amazing watching you transform and mold into you’d say.


Lauren August 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I’ve worked for 10 years and the day I find out I am pregnant with my first (been married 2months) I think I might die of happiness. Until then, $8 salads it is 🙂


HEABIE August 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm

What a beautiful post Lara, and I love that photo of you and G. Motherhood is pretty amazing, no? I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else with my life right now…of course I still enjoy my Starbucks, as long as they have a drive-thru window. 😉


Lara August 9, 2013 at 7:56 am

Can you believe I’ve never been to a drive-thru Starbucks as the driver?! Crazy. Love you Heabie!


Rachael August 8, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Lara- I love you! You are such an amazing mommy and I’m so lucky to have you as a friend. I love how you address the transition into motherhood. Touches my heart because I feel the same way!


glidingcalm August 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm

You always suck me RIGHT (write? :D) in with your words. You are a wonderful writer…. and incredible Mom! Happy birthday to Baby G, and much love to your beautiful, special family! And $18 salads! Man, I need a trip to WF hot bar for one of those!


Floey August 8, 2013 at 10:45 pm

This is so beautiful Lara 🙂 ! We seriously need to meet up someday soon, please tell me when you are in So. Cal next 🙂


Katy Widrick August 9, 2013 at 3:20 am

I love this, friend, and your happiness comes through in every word. It’s an interesting post for me, especially because I have the same feelings as you (complete joy, peace, the knowledge that the decisions I made were the rights ones for US)…and I work out of the house full-time. For ME (and again, like you, I hate having to repeat that disclosure over and over), working out of the house leads me to enjoy motherhood more than I would if I were at home. I cherish weekends with Audrey, and soak up every single second. But it’s the being apart that makes me so committed to making the together time the best it can be.

You have blossomed. That’s the word I think of when I read all of your posts and updates. I am so glad that you are happy!


Lara August 9, 2013 at 8:01 am

This means so much, Katy. Thank you. It’s funny, I had a conversation about this with my sister recently (who is also a very contented, wonderful, working mom), and while I said, “I just can’t imagine going back,” she said, “I just couldn’t have imagined NOT going back.” And the conversation that ensued was probably very similar to one you and I would have: interesting, thoughtful, honest, and supportive.


Andrea@WellnessNotes August 9, 2013 at 3:25 am

Beautiful post!

I love that you are so content and are doing what’s right for you. Happy Birthday to G. You are both very lucky!


Heather August 9, 2013 at 5:03 am

Lara, I think it’s wonderful you have enjoyed G’s first year so much! I am also so grateful and honored (and privileged enough) to be able to stay home with my little man, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Does that mean I judge people who want or need to work? Absolutely not. I have close friends who just know they are a better mom when they are able to go to work. I have close friends who must return to work quickly and feel terrible about it. Like you, I wish every mother and father were able to do what they really wanted.


Lara August 9, 2013 at 8:02 am

I should have included fathers in my sentiment, too. Well said. Thanks Heather <3


Kim August 9, 2013 at 6:47 am

This was such an amazing post Lara. I cried. Which was awkward, because then I had to explain why I was a crying at a computer screen. Thank you for sharing this experience so beautifully, Graham is one lucky fellow.


Annabel August 9, 2013 at 9:20 am

beautiful! I hope I will have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom while my future child(ren) is/are young, but, at this point, that would certainly not be an option.


Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily August 9, 2013 at 9:38 am

Sobbing like a baby right now. We have 3 kids (10,8,5) and we were done, everyone heads to school full time in a few weeks and I was excited about having “free time” during the day…and then two weeks ago I saw 2 bright pink lines on a pregnancy test and while this wasn’t planned, I’m excited about having a newborn in the house again.


Biz August 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm

My favorite line in this post is how your life went from black and white to color once Baby G came to the world – love!

I was a single Mom before Hannah was ever born – her Dad didn’t want the responsibility and I didn’t force him to be something he wasn’t. I would have loved to stay home with her for any extended point of her life growing up, but that wasn’t in the books.

However, I raised one of the most independent people I know – because it was just her and I, I forced her to do stuff because I would always tell her “I am not going to always be with you.”

Now she’s 21, about to start her senior year in college, lives in Chicago and has become an independent city girl – and I couldn’t be prouder!

Thanks for being a great cheerleader for me on Instagram! 😀


Lara August 11, 2013 at 1:54 pm

You must be so proud! Can’t imagine how much strength it took to be a single mom to little Hannah. Well done, mama!


Lindsay August 13, 2013 at 11:56 am

Such a wonderful post. I am sitting her in my banana covered leggings reading this post as E naps.


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