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Posts Tagged ‘no sugar coating’

I consider social skills a bit like learning a language. I’ve been practising it for so long over so many years I’ve almost lost my accent. ~ Daniel Tammet

You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it – “be yourself.”

I don’t know about you but I often take my cues from those around me. When I was a kid, I learned to act like I knew what everyone else was talking about by cleverly chuckling and nodding “yeah,” even though I did not get the joke. To be naive and admit ignorance was setting oneself up for teasing. As a young adult, I learned to empathize in my neighbour’s plight with a mixture of murmurs and facial expressions that promised returned favour.

Some would call these kinds of behaviours social skills. But recently, I’m finding that a lot of these so called social skills generate some self-depreciation.

Here’s an example. I’m a mother. I want to be a good mother. I want others to think I’m a good mother. So I say things a “good mother” says.

“Yes, I’m loving the newborn stage.” Actually, I’d really like to jump ship at the moment but I’m not sure if you would empathize with or judge me. Wondering is answered when fellow mother gushes about how she loves the newborn stage – they’re so dependent on you for such a short time.

Thank God for that.

Don’t get me wrong, there are beautiful moments I experience each day (some days more than others) with my newborn. He smiles at me, startles himself when he burps, snuggles into my shoulder… And then there are the hours of crying, fussing, not sleeping when I desperately need him to…

But it’s for such a short time…can I not put aside my own dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs? I shouldn’t be too eager for this time to be in the past. I’m not cherishing my baby enough. I’m selfish, I’m missing out…I’m just glad that babies keep growing. I enjoy my little Oliver more and more with each passing week. Is that not something to be celebrated and anticipated? Should I feel guilty for anticipating him becoming more interesting, better at sleeping, more cute?

I do cherish the magical times when it’s just me and my baby, connected in nature’s perfect design of a mother caring for her offspring. A new life becoming aware of the world outside the womb is breathtaking and wondrous. But here’s the thing – you as a mother don’t cease to have your needs met. I’d be lying if I said I’m already missing those first few weeks of Oliver’s life. I hold that time close to my heart but I embrace each day that holds more joys for both me and my little man to experience.

That’s the sugar coated version, folks. Now here’s the raw guts underneath the silky smooth mother-ese.

This is not my favourite stage – the newborn stage that is. I feel like it should be sometimes when other mothers lament over how much they miss their newborns. They were so small, so cuddly, so flipping hungry! A small measure of my life force is literally being sucked from me! My new little man is determined to get big (as he should) and is not content for more than five minutes if he’s not on the boob or sleeping. I might add his favourite place to fall asleep is the boob, double wham! Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong supporter of breastfeeding but that’s another post for another time.

Yes I know, this time goes by so fast, trust me, I know. It also goes by in a blurred concoction of sleep deprivation, non-stop attention to the toddler and infant’s needs to the point of neglecting your own and drinking coffee that has been reheated at least five times.

It’s not that I dislike the infant stage. I’m sure in years to come, I will look back, as many before me, on a few fond memories of my children as infants. There is something so beautifully magical about holding a baby close while he snuggles into your breast. The connection between you and your infant is unbreakable. And whether you remember it or not, it is/was freaking exhausting! Maybe you had the baby that slept through the night by the end of its first month (I didn’t and still don’t) but you were still at that baby’s beck and call 24 hours a day, seven days a week until you decided that baby was old enough to be sleep trained.

I do cherish these days when my little Oliver is oh so little. But God am I ever thankful that he won’t always be so little! I am excited for his whole life. I am excited to see him raise his belly off the ground and rock forward in his first crawl. I’m excited, yes, for walking! How much happier will he be when he doesn’t have to express his displeasure to his mom that he can’t move himself? And how about watching that pooping, feeding, burping, throwing-up machine develop his personality? Can you remember how boring that cycle got (especially at 3 a.m.)?

I’ve tried to agree with other moms that this is such a special stage and I’m really enjoying it. The truth is, I enjoy moments of it. But so much of the time, I find myself feeling burnt out from exhausting all possible options for making my crying baby happy only to still have a crying baby. But it’s only for a short time right? Right, but that doesn’t zap the fatigue, the discouragement and the short breaks that only allow for you to fix yourself a cup of tea before a wail summons you.

Final thoughts on newborns….Thank-you Lord for their smiles, snuggles and coffee to smile back.

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