Get Adobe Flash player

New Mom Moments

On Motherhood and Fulfillment

For much of my life, mothering was all I could picture myself doing. As I neared the end of high school, when people would ask what I planned to do, I would tell them that I planned to be a wife and a mother. As I picture myself saying that now, I feel nauseated. 

It’s not that there’s anything at all wrong with being a wife or a mother, and it’s not that I don’t love being both of those things. It’s just that I had so much to learn about myself, life, the world, the human experience: everything. I’m thankful I wasn’t dating anyone seriously back then, because oh so much would change in the years that followed as I distanced myself from the small, homogeneous town I grew up in. I’m confident that I’m a far better wife and mother for the changes that occurred. But I digress.

Thanks to the fact that I didn’t know anyone I was particularly interested in marrying (or, ahem, who was particularly interested in marrying me) when high school graduation rolled around, some combination of hard work and good luck or good karma landed me in a career. That’s another story entirely, but by the time I met the man who would become my husband I was quite the independent lady, if I do say so myself. I was teaching at what I still consider to be the best Montessori school in the US of A, working in marketing, and running a small business of sorts. I was far too busy, but I was self-sufficient,.free, and in control. In fact, when I met the daddy, I had just returned from a thoroughly mind-blowing summer in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where I had gone simply to practice the language. Alone. I loved my life, and for the first time I realized that I actually loved myself, too. Things were by no means perfect, and I still had much to learn, but things were good.
Now here I am: a wife and a mother. I love my daughter more than I knew I was capable of loving anyone, ever. Like any couple, we have our moments, but I adore my husband and am incredibly thankful to be on this journey with him. I have no regrets with respect to the life I’ve chosen. That said, I finally feel that I’m recovering from “pregnancy brain” and “new mom brain” and I’ve reached a mini-crisis (and I use that term very loosely here) of sorts. The problem, I suppose, is two fold: I don’t make any money, and no one cares if I get dressed in the morning or even if I speak in complete sentences, really.
I realize that my work as a mother is valuable. I do a great deal for our household and many days I work harder than my husband does, but I don’t get a paycheck. We share a bank account and have more or less equal control over our finances. It’s not an inability to go and get the things I need that bothers me, it’s this feeling that I’m spending someone else’s money. Even though I’m really not. For nearly a decade, I had no break between paychecks. I was always earning money somewhere, and for many years before that I scrounged up cash through babysitting and odd jobs wherever I could. Now I’m dependent on someone else’s paycheck, and that’s not easy to get used to. 
I feel like an understanding of child development is quite helpful in my parenting. I often employ the same principles I used as a teacher to prepare activities for Annabelle and to evaluate and change our home environment to remove obstacles to her development. I use problem solving skills throughout the day to try to determine what might be bothering her and how to fix it. Mothering certainly involves the intellect, but the majority of the day to day work of it is intuitive. At least for me, it’s a nurturing, feeling occupation more so than an intellectual one. I am honored to be my daughter’s mother, but there are days when I find myself, somewhere between cleaning poop out of the bathroom cabinet (yes, that really happened today) and scraping oatmeal off the wall, fondly remembering my days in the work force.
I know that my feelings are valid and they make sense, but a little voice inside me tries to tell me that they’re inappropriate. Plenty of women (and men) would love to be in my shoes – how dare I be anything but thankful? The thing about feelings that seem inappropriate, though, is that everyone has them, and people too seldom talk about them, which is why I share this mini-mothering crisis with you. You see, I am thankful, but I’m also adjusting. Life is full of growing paints. It’s full of challenges and confusion and feelings that just plain don’t make sense, but we feel them anyway, and that’s okay. 
Is motherhood fulfilling? My goodness yes, in so many ways. It fulfills so many longings in me – some that I never really knew were there to begin with. It fulfills me in ways I can’t begin to describe. It just doesn’t fulfill my desire to be independent and self-sufficient, but the funny thing is: I suspect I will one day realize that’s a good thing. Perhaps motherhood is teaching me to relinquish a bit of control and find a different kind of fulfillment.

My Top Ten New Mommy Moments

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

As my first year of motherhood, and the first year of Annabelle’s life is coming to a close, I thought I’d put together a list of my top ten new mommy moments. Some are chosen more because they were hilarious and therefore memorable, while others are chosen for their ability to make me all melty. The order is disputable, but without further ado:

My Top Ten New Mommy Moments: Reflecting on the First Year

10. The moment when I found myself dripping wet in a tiny shower in a tiny bathroom with my perfect, as yet untouched by all things gross and creepy, newborn daughter sleeping in her bouncer on the only bit of open floor, face-to-face with one of the largest cockroaches I have ever laid eyes on. This can also be remembered as the moment when all my concerns about the many horrifying chemicals in household products went out the window and I ran, naked, to grab a giant can of Raid. Not my brightest moment, but one I shall never forget.

Continue reading

Ten Months In…

You can also find me over at the Natural Parents Network today, where I’m talking about Five Ways to Prepare for Natural Birth in a Hospital. Natural birth may not belong in hospitals, but the two can coexist peacefully with mindful preparation.

****

Annabelle turned ten months old yesterday. Ten months. The days race by without regard for my personal level of readiness, and before I know it my baby will be one – officially a toddler. It still boggles my mind that I’m her mother. A stranger today told me that she was “magnificent”, and I had to agree, so thankful and yet still having a hard time believing that it’s all real. I’m a mother, but not just any mother – I’m the mother of this magnificent creature. I don’t know that I’ll ever stop asking myself how I got so lucky.

See? Luckiest woman in the world.

Lest I forget, I’ll recount for my darling the events of her ten month birthday…

Today I heard you wake with a gasp. This has been your ‘thing’ of late, rather than crying or cooing upon waking and finding yourself alone in bed, you gasp in excitement, signaling your readiness to dive right in to the events of the day. 
Today, you ran all over the house, you laughed, you grinned, and you removed every item from the cabinets that you could reach. You played with friends, big ones and a small one too, even offering the one your size a kiss. While I was getting dressed, you helped yourself to a snack of drier lint and I made a mental note to always remove the wastebasket from the restroom before turning my back to you. 
Today, we read nearly every book in your basket and you nodded your head in time with the stories, as though you were really, really listening and the words were music to your ears. Your eyes lit up when we pulled the handle on your “pull and look” book. Today, you erupted in fits of laughter as you made a game of running away while I chased after you.
Today, you perked up when you saw your daddy walk in, with a smile that gave new meaning to the phrase ‘grinning from ear to ear.’ 
Today, you are ten months old, and I am utterly amazed at the beautiful, curious, fun, and oh-so-lovable person that you are. I look forward to more silly, giggle-filled moments running around with you and watching you grow. 
I’ll have to update with a photo of my now ten month old just as soon as my new camera battery finally arrives. Sense my lack of patience here? Doesn’t the postal service understand that the most gorgeous child in the world is not being photographed!?

The Virtues of Motherhood

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

For many years I had the honor of working with children in the classroom and, cliché though it may sound, they truly were my greatest teachers. That is, until ten months ago when I made the shift from the classroom to the home and started learning an entirely new set of lessons. Thanks to the birth of my own child, I have begun to learn what I think of as the virtues of motherhood:

  • Flexibility. Regardless of my attempts at planning and scheduling, naps are taken when naps need to be taken, milk is requested when milk is needed, and my work is often stopped short as I am swept away by wonder at the incredible life developing before my very eyes. Of course a good sling usually makes it possible to accomplish nursing sessions and naps along with other duties, but often our children want our full attention, and it’s a joy to be able to give it to them. Plans and schedules have their place, but we mothers must always write them in pencil.
  • Patience. I used to think I was patient because the thirty minute to an hour wait at the DMV didn’t phase me. Thanks to marathon nursing sessions that have lasted as long as three hours, and stretches of time spent laying perfectly still until I was absolutely positive my movement wouldn’t wake the finally sleeping bundle beside me, I now know a great deal more about this important virtue.
  • Self-Confidence. There was a time when I was horribly uncomfortable showing too much skin. I was never a bikini girl, a mini-skirt girl, or a V neck girl. All of that went out the window right about the time I got the urge to push during my daughter’s birth. I threw off my dress and continued on in only my underwear. Clothing was but a hindrance. Now that nursing has become an everyday fact of life, the idea of feeling uncomfortable because someone catches a glimpse of my breast is almost laughable. I am by no means an exhibitionist, but I’m no longer embarrassed by my own body.
  • Assertiveness. In the past, I very seldom spoke up for myself. I was the type who would rather go hungry than inconvenience someone by asking for a snack. Mama bears don’t play that way. Motherhood has given me the strength to stand up as needed, for my family’s safety, and especially for my daughter’s needs.
  • Foresight. I have been thankful for my sling not only because it allows me to accomplish chores and errands while nurturing my baby at the same time, but at times it has served another purpose: hiding the fact that I forgot to bring along a spare set of breast pads. Oops! Motherhood has provided a host of opportunities to learn the value of thinking ahead and anticipating my child’s, as well as my own needs.
  • Presence. Hardly a day passes without my daughter doing something incredible. Sometimes it’s just a new vocalization, or an expression that makes my heart feel like it could literally swell out of my chest at any moment. Other times it’s a new milestone, like taking her first steps. No matter what it is, it’s done without warning or fanfare on her part and so much happiness on my own for having had the joy of seeing it. The incredible being who is my daughter has taught me that each and every moment has something of value in it – something worth savoring. The laundry can wait and emails can be put off, but she is always changing, whether I’m watching or not. By far the most important thing my child has taught me is the art of simply being - taking it all in.
What are the most important lessons you have learned from the children in your life?

***
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 11 with all the carnival links.)

Where Did All the Time Go?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been hearing things from the old, wise types about how quickly time moves and how important it is not to wish for it to pass, because when it does, we’ll long for the days gone by.  It took a long time for me to begin to realize how true this was.  


Like many young people, I had a moving marker that I wanted to reach for most of my life.  As a child, it was usually whatever age my big sister was at the time.  I was certain that once I got to be that magical age, everything would go my way.  As a pre-teen, it was high school age.  In high school, it was college age.  In college, it wasn’t an age anymore, but I definitely looked forward to being established – a real grown up.  I suppose I’m a real grown up now, like it or not, but I’m not sure I’ve grasped that yet.  It still surprises me every time someone calls me ma’am; and I have to remind myself that I can talk to high school kids like I relate if I want, but they totally don’t buy it.  I’m old to them.  Seriously, what happened!?  If I didn’t sincerely believe that life will continue to be beautiful and sweet and full of surprises, I’d give anything for time to come to a screeching halt.  Not only am I a ma’am now, but I’m also a mom – a mom to a beautiful little girl who is all-too-quickly becoming not so little.  


When that little girl was a newborn, she never wanted to be put down.  She slept on my chest for her first week or two of life, and beside me every night thereafter.  If she was awake, she was in my arms.  If she was not in my arms, she was mad.  I absolutely loved to hold her and cuddle her and stare at her, and I still do, but I have a confession: sometimes, I wished that she would let me put her down – just for a few minutes.  I wanted showers and to prepare meals, and to tidy things up, without having to jostle her around.  Well, my day has come, and I take it all back!  Now, not only will Annabelle let me put her down, but sometimes she gets tired of being held and gets fussy until I put her down!  


When it passes, we’ll long for the days gone by.


Sigh.


I really do look forward to seeing her grow and change and become an incredible, independent person.  It’s just hard to believe that it’s already happening.  Right in front of my eyes!


This fact was especially apparent today.  Yesterday, I talked about her new crawl, or crawl-like movements if you prefer.  Today, she took them one step further!  You see, I was cleaning the bathrooms while she played.  I put her blanket on the floor in our bedroom just a bit away from the doorway to the bathroom so that I could clean and watch her at the same time.  

You can see the doorway in the bottom corners of this picture.  This is how far away she was.   (I couldn’t keep a shirt on her today – she was soaking them all with drool : )


For one moment, I turned my back.  I was literally not more than a foot away and I started fussing with the string on the blinds, trying to fix the loose safety device.
I turned around again and this is how far she had gotten – without a sound!
My life will never be the same!
I suppose all I can do is treasure these moments while they last (and never turn my back again!).




Multicultural Kid Blogs
Shop Montessori Services

Categories

Archives

I participate in

Montessori Monday
BabyLinkUp500px