We were recently at the park after almost a week of being stuck indoors. The weather has been gloomy and cold so we’ve been indoors. Once I saw that the sun was trying to make its way through the clouds, I scooped the kids up and took them to the park.
As I was settling W on a blanket I had placed on the grass, O began tugging on my arm to walk around and search for pinecones. I don’t know what it is about pinecones but he loves to examine and collect them. With O getting older, I’m starting to notice that he is much more independent and beginning to want to explore on his own. I’ve realized that I like encouraging him to try things on his own too. It could be a combination of the fact that W has the majority of my attention nowadays as he is much more mobile. I quickly looked around and realized that we were the only people at the park, so I smiled at him reassuringly, and told him to go ahead to search for pinecones.
I was still smiling to myself as I watched him slowly make his way towards were most of the pinecones seem to be. He looked back and I once again reassured him that it was okay to go on his own. After he found the pinecones, he was smiling to himself as he gathered them, calling back to me from time to time.
Running back with the pinecones he gathered, he was laughing gleefully to himself, and calling out “Mama, mama, look!” I could see the happiness and look of accomplishment all over his face. He was so proud that he gathered them himself and even more so happy that I was smiling back at him.
I definitely don’t know if I’m doing this motherhood or parenthood thing right. I have moments where I want to hurriedly help him but hold myself back to watch him figure things out on his own. I’ve been trying to make sure that he understands that I’m still nearby to help him but that he can try to do certain things on his own.
I know that in the future, holding myself back will be more difficult. The situations and experiences he’ll be facing may not be full of happy moments. I’m scared of the experiences he will face that will give him the feeling of disappointment, the feeling of loss, helplessness, and maybe anger. I know those types of experiences will teach him such valuable lessons but it doesn’t make it easier for me. One of the things I can do, even starting now, is to show him that no matter what I will be there for him. Happy, sad, or disappointing time in his life – I will be there for him. I may be doing motherhood from afar at times but I’m always ready to celebrate with him when he accomplishes something or open my arms wide to comfort him during the harder times.
This is especially tough for me at the moment since I’ve only recently entered the realm of meltdowns and tantrums with O. I acknowledge that he his having whatever emotion and take a deep breath (i.e. “I know you’re angry…” or “I know you’re sad…”). I try my best to work through the emotion with him. For me, i want him to understand that it’s okay to be mad, angry, or frustrated but that there are different ways to communicate each emotion without screaming like there’s no tomorrow in the cereal aisle. Being able to talk it through actually manages to keep me calm during the whole process.
It is INDEED a process. In all honesty, this isn’t a full proof system. I have moments where I’m struggle with keeping it cool. That’s where the “mom look” comes in. You know, that stern look you give that means “Stop it right now. I mean business!” More often than not, it works and that in itself makes O check himself. Sometimes I even get a “I sowwie mama.”
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
I found myself reciting this in my head while taking a walk with O and W yesterday. O was going back and forth between a slow stroll to running as if a fire was lit under his feet. Some days I would say to either “hurry up” or “slow down” but that day was different. It was if it dawned on me that maybe I should be taking a page from The Book of O.
I watched as he was taking in his surroundings. Watching him gave me this overflowing feeling of such love. His forehead would crinkle as he examined how the wind moved through leaves on a tree, his eyes widened as he watched a rabbit leap into a bush, and just stood still and smiled up at the sun. I myself forget to enjoy such things. I’m either creating a plan in my head on how I’m going to approach grocery shopping with two kids, going over the route I’m going to take to support group, or worrying over how I’m going to accomplish a paper with two wide-awake boys. Just watching him made me want to slow down, enjoy what is around me and to marvel at what I have.
That same day, O woke up from his nap, yawned, looked at me and said, “Hi Mama. Love you.” and jumped off the sofa after I took a photo. His simple sentences resonated within me. Yet again, O was teaching me something. Children hold such an innocence and honesty that adults often try to diminish so quickly. O holds such a love for myself, his dad, our close family and friends, and the world around him. He has been patient with me as I learn to be the best mother I can for him and W. O has been great a reciprocating a love he is still continuing to learn.
Moments like this make me appreciate motherhood. It chips away at the darkness that PPD often holds. O reminded me that he not only needs to enjoy all that childhood has to offer but I do too.I know easier said than done, but I do want to try. Moments like this make me love my motherhood journey.
Oh to be a toddler. O is almost 4 months in as a big brother and he’s doing a great job. I was concerned at one point since he would just ignore W. Lately he’s been more attentive to his brother. I let him take charge during tummy time and he points out shapes and colors (those that he does know) out. O also has been wanting to hold his brother so we have a process when he does ask or motion to hold W. He knows that he has to sit on the couch, we the place W on his lap and he gently puts his arms around him. There are moments where he wants to carry W and has tried to pick him up himself but he has done so much better about W.
His little brother loves it and I can tell there is a growing admiration. W usually follows wherever O moves to and has a gummy grin. I’m excited to see how their interaction will change once W crawls.
Toddler life is hard on the both of us but moments where I see them both enjoying each others company, well, having two so close in age doesn’t seem that bad.
This is how most of my nights look like: trying my best to set down a drowsy baby so I can attempt to clean or better yet schoolwork. My decision to go back to school to pursue another degree was about three months prior to finding out I was pregnant again.
Being pregnant and going to school was not part of the plan. I was just starting to figure out how to juggle work life, motherhood, wife duties, and school when I found out I was pregnant with W. It’s hard to take make time for schoolwork. I want to be there for my kids. At the same time, I know finishing this degree means more opportunities. I guess I just hope I’m doing this right, being a mother I mean.
Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough. Other times I feel insistent over something due to having “that gut feeling.” So far “that gut feeling” hasn’t failed me. Other mothers make it look so easy especially on Instagram. Now I know that in itself should not be an indicator of whether or not is a someone a good-anything and those photos are often staged. It’s hard not to feel somewhat discouraged when you have Cheerios stuck on your pants, spit up on your shirt and a crying toddler to tend to.
All I know is that I’m doing the best I can. Motherhood is hard work. I’m also trying to do what I can to provide for my kids. I just hope I’m doing this right.