December 4, 2012

A New Mom’s Light Bulb Moment


How a broken stroller wheel led to a parenting epiphany

By Faye de Muyshondt


When my City Mini stroller wheel broke recently and remained stuck in the straight position, it felt like New York City was caving in on me. The handyman at my trusted local store, Albee Baby, told me it was due to wear and tear and that he’d order a new one but that it would take a few days to arrive. I stood there in amazement, wondering how I’d survive the days ahead.  I had suddenly lost pretty much the only sliver of pre-motherhood that I had regained since my baby was born four months ago: my mobility.

With my stroller almost impossible to push, I was unable to get into elevators before the doors closed, had trouble turning quickly enough to make lights, wasn’t able to navigate the aisles of Whole Foods or even simple pedestrian traffic, and couldn’t dodge aggressive city drivers making right turns into crosswalks. It began to feel like it wasn’t even worth going out: I felt like I had a ball and chain attached to my ankle. It was a brand new mother’s worst nightmare.

And then, in a moment of what seemed like divine intervention, I was struck with the realization that it was time for me to let go. I don’t mean let go of taking care of life’s obligations, including the broken wheel at hand. But it was time to let go of the little things, like lost toys, missed dates with my husband, and the very fact that, as a mother, things were just going to take a whole lot longer than I was used to. Being able to let go of the BS (broken stroller, of course) led me to so many other similar epiphanies.

Life as a mother is wildly unpredictable and the very essence of motherhood seems to be about embracing and finding the pleasure in all of it–whether it be the stroller wheel, my baby’s erratic sleep schedule, her getting sick multiple times, or the fact that, in a typical new mom moment, I shattered my iPhone and had to travel abroad for two weeks without one.

The day of the stroller wheel incident was the very day that I paused to take a step back–to put things into perspective, to live and let live, to accept that everything might not get done exactly the way I’d like and that that’s okay. That’s just life as a new mom.

And, after all, it’s that very same kind of unpredictability that led me to the best thing that ever happened to me: my husband.  If anyone had told me a year and a half ago that over the course of 18 months, right here in New York City, I’d meet and fall in love with the most spectacular man, marry him, and share the greatest gift in life together–our baby girl–well, there’s simply no way I would have believed it.  So, although life didn’t go according to my “plan”–and day by day it continues to not go according to plan–it’s richer and more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.

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