Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crappy Mom Moments- Eventually They Will Happen To You

Found HERE
I sometimes find myself irritated reading "advice" about parenting from parents who are very new to the mom experience.  The occasional debate about some horrid thing that another mom dared to do to her child, can easily become heated.  It is so very easy to utter the words, "I would NEVER do that!" with appropriate indignation and self righteousness.  Of course, I do it too.
But....

Let me tell you something ladies- there is a reason this blog is about BIRTH and not PARENTING.  I know I can give birth.  I think we are pretty much all designed to do this.  Parenting?  I have no idea what I am doing.  And it seems to be such a huge, complex, changing yet monumentally important task.  It really matters if we screw it up.  Birth matters forever too- but it is so very brief in comparison and some of it is just out of our control.  Parenting however, if you foul it up- it kind of feels like it is all on you. 

It seems that every time I have an opinion about kids or parenting or how other people are doing stuff wrong, it comes back to bite me. 

Just this week I was sick.  I had one day that I was feeling awful and spent a lot of time in bed.  In my stupor I came to the conclusion that, A) Nobody should ever touch me again and B)  I was so freaking tired of nursing.

In my defense I have been either nursing or pregnant for the last eight years solid.  I have NEVER felt touched out.  When I would hear of other women talk about that feeling- like they just wanted everybody to get away by the end of the day, I thought......well I thought that was a little sad.  I wondered how you could ever get tired of milky cuddles and sweet little hands with fat fingers and unconditional love.

I would hear women so happy to "get their bodies back" after a baby weaned and I would wonder why they would be excited about that.  How could you be happy to see that relationship end?

But then it happened to me.  It took a long time, but it did.  One day I found myself wanting "my" body back and feeling done with nursing.

Before you freak out and tell me you hate me, I should mention that my baby is a year old.  My breastfeeding goal is always to hit the one year mark.  I should also mention that I didn't and won't suddenly wean her.

Still....something needed to change for me- for my SANITY.  To me this is one of the hardest balancing acts of motherhood.  How do we give selflessly but know when we need to give to ourselves?  How do we teach service and at the same time take time for our own needs?  How do we know when we are doing something for ourselves that will make us better mothers and better women or if we are just being selfish?  This, well, it's just hard to figure out sometimes.

I won't just cut off a one year old who is happily nursing.  But I did realize that unless I wanted to dread nursing that I needed to cut back.  I started offering more solids and offering them more frequently.  I stopped offering the breast so constantly.  I started offering her more water in a sippy cup.

An amazing thing happened.  My baby- the one who has been following me around whining and crying and acting pretty miserable and attached was suddenly HAPPIER.  And me, I was happier too.  It is nice to have a more content baby, and it was even nice to have myself a little more to myself.

This kind of thing KEEPS ON HAPPENING.  I constantly have humbling moments. 

I used to watch this mother in my son's class interact with her toddler.  She had a two year old who was always getting loose in the parking lot.  I often thought, "She needs to control that child or she is going to get RUN OVER!"  Of course my baby at the time grew bigger.  By the time she was two I had another baby. 

It is pretty impossible to carry my feisty and strong toddler while I hold the baby.  I tell you what- I will praise the Lord if that girl survives to adulthood.  She is loud and quick and built for battle.  She hates holding hands and loves getting away from me.  Though seemingly smart as a whip she sure as hell doesn't listen worth a hill of beans.  And she has gotten away from me in that same parking lot more times than I can count.

The only thing I know these days about parenting is that I am constantly amazed by how much I don't know.  The longer this mom gig goes on, the more I realize how much there is to learn and how little of it I can get from books or philosophies.

I will learn parenting from my children, from prayer, from other good mother's around me.  I will learn some of it from my gut, my heart, my instincts, and my head.  Being a good mother to one child will be a little different than being a good mother to the next one.  And when I think I have figured out that child, they will change, and grow, and they will teach me more.  Every time it will surprise me, and every time it will be a painful yet pleasurable journey towards finally figuring it all out.

But I will admit, right now, that I have bad days.  Awful days where I wonder why I am performing so very poorly in such an important task.  I do and say things that I am ashamed of and that I hope my children will not remember about me.  I have crappy mom moments.  

Someday I hope I am a wise grandmother who can give perfect advice to the sweet young mothers I hope to raise.  I hope I can hold their babies in just the right way and enjoy those moments without forgetting how hard it sometimes was for me, way back when.

But for right now, I hope I can be humble without being hopeless.  I hope I can laugh without bitterness and I hope that I can love in the moment.  I hope I can preserve my sanity, serve my children, and do it all without totally forgetting that I was once an individual.  I hope this journey can be beautiful and joyful even while it is kicking me in the pants.  Mostly, I hope my crappy moments are just that, moments, and not defining.  

Thank you for joining me on it, even in a small way.

I hope there is joy in your journey as mothers.  We are all in this together.  

15 comments:

Jeanna Stay said...

Thanks so much. This was lovely. (And I can totally relate; every time I say, "I would never do that," it's pretty much guaranteed I will do that soon.

Jeanna Stay said...

Argh, I hate when I hit enter before I'm finished posting. Anyway, just really wanted to say thanks for the encouragement too. I'm definitely going to need it today.

Kiza said...

THANK YOU for posting this. Thank you! It's perfect and true and something that I need to be reminded of. Thank you!

Sarah @ This Crazy Blessed Life said...

Amen! What a "right on" post. I'm on my third pregnancy with a 5 and 3 year old and most days I still don't know if I have the hang of parenting. Sure, I can make it look easy, but I'm floundering some days!

And oh, how easy it is to judge other mothers. My husband and I always try to bring the other one into check if the opposite says something judgemental about someone else's parenting.

Jessi said...

Beautiful, thanks.

I certainly have found myself doing things I never imagined doing and would have judged another mom for doing.

Parenting is hard.

Paala said...

Yep, same here! Also, I hope you don't mind if I shared this on my blog. http://doublethink.us.com/paala/2012/06/12/sweet-links-childhood-allergies-lying-to-your-children-discovering-mommy-strength-sexual-abuse-survivor-on-breastfeeding-california-breastfeeding-discrimination-bill-home-water-birth/

Sarah said...

I love everything about this!

Tami said...

How did you get a picture of me this morning? Oh wait, that can't be me ... her kitchen is clean.

Juli said...

I have learned to never say "I will NEVER" because as soon as I do it comes to bite me in the... well, you know.

Enjoy Birth said...

Oh yeah! Now that I have a Teenager and Tween I am entering a whole new phase and realize how much I don't know! Also I think I get little kids, but then my 6 year old throws new things at me I haven't dealt with yet. I think God sends us kids so we can learn and grow from and with them!

Dr. Travis Robertson said...

Ah... the wonderful world of parenting. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us Sarah! I have had to come to the conclusion that my kids are the source of my greatest joy and my greatest frustration all rolled into one. I guess that makes our lives full and richly beautiful. Thanks again!

sarah said...

so excited that I found your blog!! and i so agree with this. I have been thinking on and praying about this very thing lately. how I USED to think so differently about other mamas parening....BEFORE I had my own! HA! things change. and it humbles me, and I am so thankful for that. :) Thanks for sharing your heart, I am going to pass this on!!

Tara said...

Needed this one today. I'm due any second with baby #5 and am a cranky emotional mess who's been snapping at my kids all morning. Definitely having crappy mom moments here today. Trying hard to move forward and get my act together!

Diana Alejandra said...

I'm barely waiting for my first one to join us any day now, but I'm so glad to have read this. Thank you for sharing so honestly, and reminding me that the learning will never end, so I should go easy in myself.
I fervently believe that the most important kind of service is service to yourself, because you cannot give unless you have a full cup. I like to think of the love I give my child as this flow that bursts from within me, naturally. But that flow isnt as strong when I don't take care of myself, when I don't love myself, too. So kudos to you for remembering your needs as well!! I can only hope to be such a strong mama as you!

melissa v. said...

YUP. Me, too. All of it =)

My favorite was once when my hubs and I were HORRIFIED that one of our friends would spoon feed her 4 year old.
Fast forward a few years and I went through a period of time where I spoon fed my six year old (with a fork). Le sigh. It was the ONLY way to get him to eat. Life is a bitch, man. "I would never" is just basically a guarantee that "I will someday in the not too distant future". Lol.

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