I remember vividly the comment made: “She is SUCH a natural mother.” A comment made about a friend who had recently delivered. I couldn’t help but wonder, wish even if I too would be a “natural” mother as my impending delivery was only weeks away.
Now 8 years later, I can shake my head and smile. If I only knew then what I know now maybe those words would not have been so damaging. For as our infant arrived, there was nothing natural about his “eat, vomit, cry” cycles. His profound reflux rendered him a wretched mess for 13 months of his little life and us in the aftermath as well. Some days I could only cry holding him as he cried. “We were made to feel like bad parents” is what my husband told me several months after our 2nd child was born. She did not have reflux and was a classic “textbook” baby: slept, ate and cried on cue.
“the beauty lies in learning and growing with your infant, as they become toddler and child”
All of us will have varying degrees of being a “natural” mother, but the beauty lies in learning and growing with your infant, as they become toddler and child. But no one will tell you that. It is a really beautiful thing when you figure out your child by troubleshooting and trial and error. If I only knew then that there is nothing natural about being a mother from the beginning that it is mostly learned.
If I only knew then that your toddler is not on some secret mission to embarrass you when they throw tantrums in public places. Hard to believe when you are stared at by other parents who have suddenly “forgotten” that their children ever had tantrums. I chuckled at a friend whose toddler was climbing all over a table at a restaurant. I said, “They are all the same.” She was annoyed by her child’s behavior and my comment. But I was not annoyed by the behavior. It is who toddlers are: explorers by nature, wonderful little people as long as they can do this exploring to their liking. I wish someone had told me: that my toddler didn’t throw tantrums to embarrass me.
“most boys are silly”
If I only knew then that as they progress to pre-school and school age that by nature, they would unintentionally do things that annoy you. I look at my darkest hours playing pseudo-single mom while my husband was working away (for 8 months). My son’s tigger-like bouncing wasn’t meant to annoy me, but it did. Most all 5,6, and 7-year-old boys have a knack for being silly. Bouncing around the house, as they simply cannot sit still. But it would have been all the easier if he would have sat still when I was most tired and needed to get him bathed and in bed so I could go to sleep. It is only now that I chuckle at his bouncing and am grateful that my son has taught me how to relax and enjoy… to be a better mother. I wish someone had told me that most boys bounce and cannot help but be silly.
“creativity takes time”
If I only knew then that while some children are silly others are creative. Creativity takes time and can be messy. When our daughter made me a cake: a chalkboard eraser saturated in fuscia paint that she presented to me as it dripped all over the floor. My husband said: “She made you a cake” in a tone that said: “Don’t react” It was eye-opening comment because I might have gotten angry about the paint and ruined her moment of happiness. This along with all of her other creative behaviors: her need to bring ALL of her stuffed animals to accompany us on a short car trip so she could play make-believe, or her need to finish her painting before departing for school. A painting she would later present to me. I wish someone had told me that creativity takes time and to allot for that time.
If I only knew now that much of our stress as mothers is self-induced from overscheduling. How many times have you had limited time to get it all in: errands the grocery etc. And after one too many errands met the wrath of an over tired child. I have stopped overscheduling, stepping back to relax, to enjoy the bouncing silliness and creativity.
I now know.