Yesterday my mom was asking me if having a baby was what I expected it to be. My answer was yes, though I would say I've learned a few things in the last several weeks...
I'm much more patient and relaxed than I thought I'd be, for one.
Aside from a few moments of "Aaaaargh!!!!" at 2 a.m. or when Axel is unexpectedly screechy and furious (just as I am trying to get something done) I feel like he has needs that I can meet. Although I have the normal new mother worries, I also feel like he is a tough little fellow and will be okay.
I don't think I'd have felt nearly so calm if I had had a baby at, say, 24, or without such a supportive husband. I feel very fortunate that when it's all just too much, I get to pass Axel to Will and say "You have the conch!"
The fact that we are both grown ups who are equally invested in this little boy makes things a million times easier. It sounds trite, but it helps that we are both looking after one another as well as the babe. When I think "But I've had the baby for four hours," I try to nip it in the bud and ask for a break instead of just stewing over it. It helps that when I look harried, Will reminds me to take some time for myself.
When things get tough in the middle of the night I try to remember all the endless stretches of time I had in my twenties doing exactly as I pleased. I am glad I became a mother at 33...and had plenty of time for plain old self-indulgence as I learned to be an adult with my ducks (somewhat) in a row. Without that decade to get to know myself really really well, I'd certainly feel a little pushed to the limits by all this responsibility.
Lastly, well, I think I am learning to stick to our philosophy of saying yes to pretty much everything we want to say yes to. That means the dinner out, the long road trip, the boat ride. Even if it seems ambitious and we have more gear in tow, saying yes makes this whole baby raising seem more like a seamless part of our lives. Meltdowns included.