Ava is over 5 months old and I'm still loving my new title "Ava's mom." My friend Jill's 2-yr old daughter, Violet, calls me "Ava-mom," which makes my heart melt. At Ava's daycare, when I call or walk into the nursery at the end of the day, they say "Ava's mom" as if they're announcing me. When I've called them on the phone during the day and said "hi, this is Amanda," I can almost hear their blank stare and I quickly add "Ava's mom." I'm really honored to have this title. Ava is a happy, cuddly, talkative, baby who loves to watch the world around her. She's their super star there walking down the red carpet as we make our way to the nursery. The staff adores all the kids, but the babies are something special. I remember when Ava was the Indy 500 Queen and led the children's parade when she first started at daycare.
Being Ava's Mom, I'm now discovering the type of mother that I am. There are different types of moms. The mom that is a friend, the protective mom, the natural mom, the stern mom. And I believe they take shape after you give birth. When I was pregnant, I knew that I'd love my baby, but I had no idea on the type of mother I would become. I've always dreamed of being a mother at the "right time" in my life. Growing up never knowing my own parents as a couple, gave me deep wounds that I had to heal as an adult. At 6-months old, around Ava's age now, my parents separated and that was the start of pain for all three of us. I swore to myself that I would never do that to my children. I know they had their reasons at the time and now I understand that I empowered myself to not recreate the same unfortunate events.
When Aaron and I were discussing marriage, I told him that I don't believe in divorce and that I want to be a mother, wife, and lifelong partner and since we're married now, you can imagine he's just the same. Our wedding vows we shared almost 5 years ago included a line that our pastor said many couples take out "....and I will never leave." So here we are new parents going through the typical ups-and-downs of this great life change. Thankfully, we were married over 4 years before Ava rocked our world and we traveled around, stayed out until 4am with friends, had a super fun urban lifestyle in Chicago, and enjoyed quiet, lazy weekends at his parent's lake house. We've been through hard times like layoffs, family passing, my personal childhood healing, and the give-and-take of learning to honor each other's differences. And seeing the years unfold to today, has shaped us for who we are together husband and wife, and now mother and father to an amazingly, vibrant, and beautiful baby girl.
My "identity" has changed, but it's not that "I" have changed - only evolved to become a mother. I've rolled up all my experienced into who I am as a mother. Now, at 5 months into being "Ava's Mom" I know that I'm a "crunchy, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing working mom." This label makes me chuckle. I guess it's no surprise that I've evolved to this after all, I'm a Liberal from California. I went to college in San Francisco, after all. I'm a La Leche League nursing mother who plans on nursing my baby until she weans naturally, even if she's 2-years old.
As a mother, I'm following my instincts, which is what most moms do. I'm not following the cultural norms of formula feeding and keeping the young baby in their own room. I'm not judging these parents for doing those things. But for us, in our family, and for me, as a mother, co-sleeping and breastfeeding is the only way that I know how to be a mother. I'm not going to start my baby on rice cereal for her first food, like the cultural norm. In fact, I'm making all of her food because I want Ava to eat like the family to learn our tastes. Luckily she gets a taste of that already in mom's milk.
I know every mom is different and being a mother makes me MORE respectful of other moms and their struggles and joys. I'm following my intuition of how I want to mother and so are other moms. I believe supporting each other for our decisions and lifestyle only helps us become more better moms to our kids.