There is an ever growing love in being a mother. Some days are good and then some days are better, but there is never, ever a dull moment with my daughter. I’m sure once my son arrives, the dull moments will become phenomenally less. But each day I definitely learn something more about myself and at present, about my daughter.
I’ve recently decided that knee-jerk reactions aren’t the way to go with my daughter. One reason is she thinks it’s funny and imitates it before repeating the very thing she got in trouble for. The second reason is because the more I observe some of her behavior, the more I realize some of the things she does, she got from me or her father. So is it really fair to get upset with her for doing something that she’s seen us do?
Another baby step on the road of motherhood. Some of the things my daughter does, she learned from her parents. That’s just a reality. And if I don’t want her doing something, I need to make sure I’m not doing it myself. Whether she’s watching me or not, I need to make sure I’m setting a positive example for her. I don’t want her to be the kind of child that has a knee-jerk reaction to things, so I’m working on getting better about my knee-jerk reactions. I’ve definitely got an uphill climb ahead of me.
Oh, if there is one thing motherhood has taught me very quickly is that failure is inevitable! And in learning that failure is inevitable, it’s freed me up to learn as I go and it’s teaching my daughter, that yes, sometimes her mother sucks, but her mother loves her very much! I honestly don’t know why the thought of “getting it right” ever went through my head. Now, I’m obviously not going to fail in the department of my child’s well-being, but sometimes I’ll forget to let her food cool off a little longer before giving it to her. Apparently, when she was a crawler, I dropped her once not realizing it while I putting her down, but that’s according to my husband, and she showed no indication of having been dropped, so the jury is still out on that one.
Failing has also taught me to roll with the punches. Learn from the mistakes and don’t make them again. How I respond to those mistakes is what makes me stronger and draws me closer to my daughter. Once I accidentally made her bath water too hot and I beat myself up over it for hours. I was distraught enough that my husband had to run the bath again because I didn’t trust myself. I’m passed that fear now, but my daughter never got mad at me. She wasn’t looking at me like, “You savage, you tried to burn me with the water.” No, she splished and splashed in the bathtub, fought us while we dried her off and got her dressed, cuddled with us during storytime, and kissed us good night before bed. Where I saw myself as a failure, my daughter just still saw the mommy she loved very much. So, I don’t beat myself up over the mishaps. I make sure they don’t happen again, I remember my child loves me, and remember that I’m not a terrible person.
I have no intentions of screwing my children up to the point they cannot be functioning adults. I have to remember that’s not what’s happen when I fall short of my expectations. My daughter knows she’s loved and taken care of and she’s one of the happiest babies I’ve encountered in my life, so I thank God for that! And when my son gets here in December, he’ll learn along the way just how much he’s loved and taken care even though his mother is going to make a whole new set of mistakes with him.
I’m not a perfect person. Only perfect person I know of is Jesus Christ. I will not get everything in this life right, I’m not supposed to. And I’m thankful I’ve learned this two years into being a mother because it frees me up to remember I’m still loved even when I make mistakes!
I’ve come to the conclusion that if I want to accomplish anything during the day, I cannot keep hovering over my child. Yes, she’s two. Yes, things happen quickly. But I do not have the time to hover over her every move. Now, I’ve recently come to this conclusion, so I’m still getting used to the decision I’ve recently made as a mother.
The first reason why I cannot hover over my daughter all the time is because it doesn’t teach her independence. It also means I will never get anything done throughout the day. If she’s in the living room watching Frozen or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, I’m not a bad mom for going into the kitchen to clean it up after breakfast or lunch. I can see her in the living room from the kitchen and if she’s glued to the television, I know she’s not going anywhere. I check on her periodically and she’s either still glued to the television or she’s messing with the television. Do I trust my two-year-old? Definitely not! But is she learning that even though Mommy is not right there, she’ll still get caught doing something? Absolutely!
The second reason I’m learning to stop hovering over my daughter is she has moments throughout the day where that independence I want her to learn is actually showing up. She will go in her room and start playing by herself. That leaves me open to start a load of laundry or fold the load I just took out of the dryer. Granted, there are times where her playing in her room turns into throwing diapers and shoes on the floor, but there’s nothing breakable in her room, so it’s “Clean up, pick up, put away,” time and we go from there.
The third reason why I’m learning to not hover over my child is because I don’t want her to hover over people. She learns her behavior from her parents. I have to realize that as long as she’s under our roof, my husband and I will be the first example she sees of something. My daughter is a strong-willed individual. When it comes to her snacks and toys and television time, she knows what she wants. When she wants to play by herself, she does. When she wants time and attention with her parents, she’s going to get it with no-questions asked. But while she’s off doing her own thing, I’m doing mine. And my thing is usually cleaning up, cooking, attempting to go the bathroom, or trying to do something on the creative side.
The biggest realization for me though about not hovering is the bigger accidents that have happened with my daughter, her father and I were within arms reach to grab her, but she moved faster than we could. I cannot protect her from everything. But if she makes it through the day alive then my job as a mother has been executed well.
So, my journey as a stay-at-home mother will begin at the beginning of September instead of the end of October. Doctor’s orders have a way of changing things, so for the duration of my pregnancy with my baby boy, I’ll be home having fun with my daughter, freaking out about where everything is going to go in the apartment, and pouring over Crockpot recipes to figure out which one I’ll finally make first.
Granted, all of this is happening sooner than expected, and yes, I’m totally freaking out about it, but I’m also really happy and excited. I have to trust God in this next chapter in life. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know Who holds that future, so with that knowledge alone, I know my family and I will be okay! We will be more than okay, even when we don’t feel like we are.
I’ll have to get into a new rhythm once I have my weekends back. Instead of leaving for work at six in the evening every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I’ll be eating dinner with my family and getting my daughter ready for bed. Instead of sleeping half the day on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, I’ll be up and cooking breakfast for my family or negotiating with my daughter as to why she can’t have pudding for breakfast. Not coming home at seven in the morning on Sundays means I can start going back to church and that is something I’m very excited about.
Getting used to not bringing in an income on a regular basis is also something I will have to adjust to as well. I have to realize that my worth and value are not tied to a paycheck. Being home with my family and making sure they are taken care of is important to me. Also, I can look for ways to become more creative from home, which shouldn’t be too hard with a toddler.
Life as I know it is about to become more interesting. And I’m looking forward to every moment of it!
Well, last weekend I found out I’m pregnant with my second child and that exciting (but very surprising) news put everything to a halt for me. Well, for the most part, all of my creative endeavors came to a halt. I just needed some time to focus on the game-changing news that a new little human will be added to our family in December.
But I’m slowly coming back around to writing. Life has taken me and my family in a new direction, so naturally, I feel that my writing should as well! I’m just excited for the next chapter that is to come and I would like my writing to reflect that accordingly!
So, I don’t baby my 21-month-old daughter. If she falls and hurts herself, there are two responses I give her based on the degree of the fall. The first is, “You’re fine, it scared you more than it hurt you.” And she’s up and running again. The second is, “Come here, let me make sure you’re okay.” And her response to that is the main reason why I won’t and don’t baby her. She fights me, or her father, or anyone for that matter when we check for blood, scraps, or any injuries. She goes from crying because she fell, to crying because she got picked up for inspection to make sure she’s okay. And ten times out of ten she’s up and running again before those tears have even dried. She did that when she fell in Jackson Square in New Orleans and she did that when we were home in Alabama and she face planted on concrete from running too fast.
I just don’t baby her, mainly because she hates it. And secondly because I don’t want my child growing up thinking the entire world has to stop when she gets an ouchie. I don’t want her to take something minor and make it major because of the attention she can get from it. She’s an only child and the only grandchild for all her grandparents, so she has more than enough attention. But my firstborn is a sassy, strong-willed, independent, rough and tumble little girl. She gets up after a fall and she goes even harder than before when playing. She laughs more than before the fall. She’s tasted concrete, grass, carpet, and dirt, and survived. She’s done free falls off the couch, fallen of the bed, ran into walls, slipped on hardwood, smashed her fingers, fallen off her dad’s lap while swinging, busted her lip, and the list goes on, and it will go on as she gets older.
If it were left up to me, I would duct tape to her crib and call it a day. But she’d figure a way out of the duct tape and then climb out of the crib. She’s a fighter. She’s determined. She’s a pint size of fierce. She’s a little version of me, and that’s the third and final reason I don’t baby her -I hate that shit!
If there’s one thing for certain, I have a short attention span on a lot of things. One reason is, I genuinely don’t have an interest in whatever is taking place and therefore divert my attention to something that I actually care about. And I’m sure that’s the case with a lot of people. If you don’t care about something, then you don’t care.
But the other reason, is I just have too much going through my brain. I need to eat, I want to write, I have to keep my kid alive, my husband wants to talk, and a million other things. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out where I left off with something. It’s life. And life for me right now is hectic. I’m learning to embrace the hectic and prioritize to make sure the important things get done. And I know it sounds like I’m rambling in this post because I am. The point to this whole thing is that I’m figuring out what requires more attention, even when I don’t want to give it!
Right now we live with my in-laws. And they live outside the city limits so naturally they’re in the “country”! And while it’s nice to live in a quiet area, the drive is murder getting to basically anywhere. But still it’s quiet and far removed from the pollution of street lamps and lights from buildings at night, so something like stargazing is possible! My daughter has that chance to see the stars at night and the moon, which she loves more than an outdoor Christmas tree. And she gets to see different kinds of birds, and hear frogs, and watch the airplanes from a nearby municipal airport. She can run down the street and inspect the asphalt as she goes. She can examine the dandelion we pick for her when we take her on stroller rides. She gets to see tractors and stacks of hay and cotton field and cows grazing in pastures. And her little eyes take it all in.
My husband and I want our daughter to feel a part of the world around her. So we take her outside when it snows so she can feel the snow. We do the same thing when it rains or when it’s windy. And we have to make conscious efforts to do this because we naturally find it easier to stay inside even though we have no reason to. Every day is a new adventure for her, which means every day is a new adventure for us. And it’s our responsibility to keep finding things for her to discover and enjoy! She’s a happy baby and we plan to keep it that way!
I was having a bad day a few years ago. I’m talking walking-through-Target-mad bad kind of day. I wasn’t a wife or a mother then, so my temper often went uncheck. But this particular day while storming through Target, I went through the children’s department. This little girl was sitting in a basket and just locked her little brown eyes on me. Next thing I know, she broke out into a smile and I couldn’t help but smile back. My bad mood just went away in that instant because if there is one thing that is hard to fight is smiling back at a child. A child’s smile is one of the most innocent and precious things in this world. It’s genuine and honest and a reminder that there’s more good than bad in the world.
And now I have a little girl of my own. I have witnessed her have the same effect on people whenever I take her somewhere. She has that effect on me and my husband every single day! Her smile makes all the difference in the days we have. I don’t take those innocent and precious moments for granted. They don’t last forever.