Year one ends with commitment to a balancing act

I made it through my first year as a mom.

And I still have all my hair, grey or not.

And as I prepare to return to my post as a reporter at the News Leader Pictorial, I can’t help but reflect and air my thoughts and discoveries through my maternity leave and first year as a momma.

Looking at the columns I wrote sure helps to see what kind of mom I have become.

And as the author Pamela Druckerman concludes in her book Bringing up Bebe, a book I clung to as if it were a mommy bible, a mistake I won’t make, as many first-time moms often do, is making my child my only existence.


Being given space to talk about my experiences in columns was a godsend.

My debut piece on surviving the first three months is a great example of how I managed to get so many more grey hairs than I already had.

My bit on my first girl’s night on the town said yes it’s OK and actually a really good thing to have a separate life from being a mom.

I’ve always been a fit and healthy kind of gal and you saw that in my piece about losing my jelly belly. I’ve also always been competitive and that’s clear in my teething battle column.

I’m sensitive to the idea of going green, but I still wouldn’t eat my own placenta.

I’m aware of positive influences and Jack and I are still grooving to good tunes and working on that love of music.

I’m not shy to talk about my choice not to breastfeed and I’m also aware of my mommy faults, like too much information on the nitty gritty of labour and lastly being too paranoid about hazards along the way.


Becoming a mom is a trip and a half.

There are fender benders, bumpy roads, roadblocks and detours.

But reading Druckerman’s journey through mommy-hood in Bringing up Bebe made for many ‘I get it’ and ‘Hallelujah’ moments for me. And, if I’m sticking with the trip theme, many free tows and courtesy cars.

“You need a very different view of what a child actually is,” she explains in her personal memoir which focuses on why parents in Paris are so different than her mommy friends in the States.

“The French have managed to be involved without becoming obsessive. They assume that even good parents aren’t at the constant service of their children, and that there’s no need to feel guilty about this.”

I whole-heartedly agree.

I will have authority as a mom at the same I will have fun with Jack.

I will have ‘me’ time just as much as I pour my love into everything about my son.

It’s all about balance baby.

I am a mom, but I’m also a wife, owner of an extremely spoiled dog, a friend, writer, lover of taking photos, walking, hiking, yoga and pedicures.

Ashley Degraaf is also a News Leader Pictorial reporter who returns to her regular duties Monday as she returns from a year on maternity leave.

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