hey ladies. i think the post of the week has got to us or it's just in the air already. and yes, sometimes i find it tough to not have the "adult "life. my mil took the three today for the first time in months and we spent the time cleaning the house. i would have never believed that i would do this kind of thing before kids but we live on the edge of slovenly as it is, and we are reformed slobs enough to know that we are happier and relaxed with a cleaner house.
there are things i want to do that i cannot do exactly now with the kids. i get mad at society for drawing so many lines about what people can do with kids and not, that i lack a village situation or that architectually i am more isolated than is healthy for my kids. i cope by talking to the mammas i know in real life that parent similarly. once again i strongly suggest finding some mamma friends. the contrived playdate or going to the park is really for you to find and have community, which your body needs to feel physically, as wonderful as online contact can be. and when i see other and older ap babies children, i am always struck by what wonderful people they are and why parenting the way i do it is worth doing, and it is much clearer seeing it in a different family. i'm at a point, whether good or bad for me, that i can tell almost immediately, whether a baby has been nursed by how they look, and most children how they are parented just by their open heart. it is a striking difference that fuels me.
i cope by reminding myself that this dependence changes, and that since i will live to probably 80 years old or so, this is a small percentage of my life that it is this way, a small piece of the pie.
another thing that helps is to learn about the age you are dealing with. i had penelope leachs book your baby and child for this reason. now when i go to park day weekly and ruby is miserable, the other mammas know, that this is just the age where they protest, and it is a comforting thing that they understand and have dealt with it, since i need the commune even with her whining.
the guilt, well, some of that's a built in survival instinct. we weren't meant to leave our babies laying on the ground for the wolves. the personal guilt can be worked with. it feels disorienting to be without your children when you are with them all the time, and learning to enjoy yourself without them takes practice, armed with knowledge and confidence that it is a blip in their life that they will forget, when you trust the caregivers. the nursing is also a survival instinct. if i need to nurse anyone and i can't, my mind gets muddy and i begin to feel terrible physically. it is why mammals have survived. i have learned that my kids do fine when i leave them, and yes it is rare even with both side of the family here, which has much to do with my control issues.
now when i do leave them, even with dh, there is usually a level of playing by ear, where i have to feel okay with it when i'm leaving, and know that i can be called back at any time. that's the grace of cell phones. and it is not worth being without any child if i am going to fret the whole time, though it has happenned. action and consequence are what i want my kids and myself to learn from, though i find i'm better off if i just do something i have decided to do instead of my body dealing with disppointment. and yes , this takes practice too, and doesn't always feel quite right. but knowing that i can change my mind at anytime is empowering.
and yes, they cry when you come back or pick them up. it is the ULTIMATE COMPLIMENT that they feel comfortable enough to give you their emotions. this is an important fact of mammahood for me.
the bad news is that it gets different and sometimes worse as they get older. those of you with the one baby, this is about the cutest age ever. they wear their emotions on their sleeve so they go from throwing stuff at you to dancing spontaneously. they cannot argue yet or wear you down verbally, and cannot hold on to their anger yet since they lack much memory.
the good news is that it gets different and sometimes better as they get older. the big thing is us mammas get even more adept at being mothers. and the children naturally grow out of phases, when they are ready. though it is sometimes a process of years, i really believe in it whether it be natural development or bad habits.
power is what i needed to be reminded of a week ago. that these are my choices. to trust myself to change things if they are the wrong choices.
i went to mom's night out, a biweekly dinner that my homeschooling group puts together (where nursing non talking babies are allowed though i went alone) and met three other women (whoever show up does, and even the mammas with older kis do not always make it when intended). i was absolutely frazzled, and holding on to anger at others because i wanted things to change and felt too exhausted to do anything about it, and miserable that my family was impossible to live with just because i was depressed, and aggravated that my feelings were so contagious. i've have gone through this enough times that i finally know that eventually i just have to forgive everyone including myself, let go of fighting the issues and feel happier regardless of the situation.
one of the mothers, a woman with six kids from age eight and under, told me directly, that I HAVE THE MOST POWER IN MY FAMILY. and i spent the rest of the week realizing it again. this is the advice i needed, and i'm passing on to you.
many hugs and much love, i'll get off the podium now.