Thursday, July 3, 2014
I'm surprised I actually have a moment to write. My 8 week old who had been sleeping very well started to change her patterns the past couple weeks as she's started to become much more alert - smiling tons, cooing, and trying her first attempts at rolling. My good napper only became a good napper if in the carrier and as soon as I put her down after she'd fall asleep she'd wake right back up. With summer now in full force, this has made for one hot mama and baby. Thankfully we have AC in the bedrooms so I'll pace back and forth there when the days are really hot. She also went from long naps to shorter ones, and waking a bit more at night to nurse. Two times instead of her one or none. With children you know this fact that everything changes, but when it happens, it's still such a shock. My two year old said to me the other day "I don't need a kiss" when I went to give him one and I know he's highly independent and self motivated already, and I laughed when he said it, but there was a part of me that said inside "already? he's only two!!!" As much as I know everything changes, and it's changing all the time right before our very eyes, it's still hard to accept that fact. I am reminded of one of my favorite authors Pema Chodron and how she says we're always trying to get ground under our feet, and that's the cause of our suffering. And it's true! As much as I know everything changes, I still don't want it to change. Well, my ego self so to speak doesn't want it to change. That's the part of me that's wrapped up in a big ole I and the attachment to that I and me always being the same, others around me too, the world at large. It doesn't want anything to change because it believes when it does, it will die. Yet we see when things change, we're still here. There's a larger force at work, our spirit, our soul. It's as fluid as water and it changes through the integration of life experiences. It adapts. And it recognizes that it cannot die. When I am feeling these moments of everything changing and I try to hold on, I simply become unhappy, grumpy. I was feeling this as I started to see Ada change from a newborn to a baby. Sure, she's still young but she's not that newborn I birthed in our bedroom just two months ago. I was realizing soon I'd be referring to my baby in months instead of weeks, and I felt how quickly time was passing. I became sad. I knew part of moving on was allowing the sadness to be felt - accepting where I was at - but also accepting the process of change, and seeing where that led me. It's led me to a few things. One, to enjoy her, my son, my husband, my life more. To practice gratitude. And to take a doula training! I knew after the transformative homebirth I had that something was coming but I didn't know what. I could tell in my meetings of moms in these two months Ada has been born that the Universe was trying to tell me something in how many of them were disappointed in their births, wanted a beautiful birth but didn't know how to get it. I felt it very important to begin to support and serve women like me, whose birth experiences were very important to them and they believed they deserved something beautiful! A doula training popped up happening in July in Somerville, so close I could walk to it AND I could bring Ada AND it was on a Monday which is Ian's day off so I'd have child care for Julian. I received the message loud and clear and signed up! I'm nervous and excited. I don't know where this is going to take me. I remember when beginning my yoga teaching journey seven years ago I had no idea where it would take me and it directly contributed to many friends and important events in my life including: teaching at some of the best studios around, my first trip to India, the birth of my son, meeting my husband, a second trip to India, and the birth of my daughter. All of this in seven years! Where will the next seven take me? I have to remind myself of this wonder when I am stuck in the daily grind and feeling overwhelmed at times, scared, confused. Things are always shifting. Simply listen! I was just thinking the other day how before my son was born I'd LIVE for summer... yoga and the beach every day, driving with the windows down my music loud, hot hot hot sun sun sun I loved it! Now... give me winter! Give me a cozy day inside with my kiddos to stay warm, slow down...give me AC and a shady tree in the summer and temps no higher than 80... I have a Moby tattoo on my right shoulder. I thought back then - I love Moby!!! Granted he's pretty cool, I like his music, but if I'm honest, I really got the tattoo cause I was infatuated with this summer fling of mine who had just been tattooed on his lower groin - ya know that spot girls love cause a fit guy is always really "cut" there? Haha. Well someday I'd love a huge back piece to turn that Moby tattoo into something else... though when I'm in the supermarket and someone taps me on the shoulder and says, I loved him in the 90's! it's fun. So it's time to quit being hard on ourselves. I'm hard on myself because my kid had a muffin for breakfast the other day, because I should be catching every single one of Ada's smiles when she's awake instead of trying to pay attention to what Julian is saying... I'm hard on myself because I should be paying attention to Julian in all his wonder and curiosity and not distracted because I haven't had a moment of self care, time to myself in weeks... I'm hard on myself because I should want to make love to my amazing husband who adores me and supports me but all I want is to be left alone ... I'm hard on myself because my body is slower to get back in shape and a chatturunga is the hardest thing ever these days... I'm hard on myself for many more reasons, every day. This is my pep talk, my reminder that everything changes, 5 years from now it will all be a memory, so it's time to live it, be grateful, accept where I'm at, and find self love and compassion. In a big way. Cause I need it!
Sunday, June 22, 2014
I'm about 10 hours in to my first solo venture with two kids. Ian is traveling to NYC on some business for an art show he's curating in August and will be back tomorrow late afternoon. We've had a great day! I dropped Ian off to teach his meditation class this morning, then took the kids to Target where I let Julian be out of the cart for a bit helping me push it around the store. This is as a first as anyone with a toddler knows - they love to run and to pick stuff off the shelves! He didn't run much, and when I told him to put stuff back, not much fuss. We went to our usual park this morning while Ian taught his meditation class. I can let Julian run free easily while nursing Ada. I know he's really comfortable at this park. Then we picked Ian up and all went to Davis Square to have some falafel lunch before dropping Ian off to the T. We came back home, and Julian had fallen asleep in the car. He luckily transferred easily upstairs for his nap. I took Ada out of the car first and walked her up our many stairs, then took Julian up - you get strong carrying a sleeping dead weight toddler up stairs! Of course since Ada slept the morning she woke up when Julian went to sleep, but I was ok with that. It was just nice to put my feet up on the couch, nurse her, and check out Drumlin Farm, a place I want our family to visit sometime soon. While doing so, I discovered an open position that looked great for Ian to apply to since he's done working on the farm come October. I even got a little snooze and when Julian woke around 3 we watched some Sid the Science Kid (really fun PBS show) and got ready to go to a new playground - the Hodgkins Curtin park near Davis Square. We were pulled over along the way for a brake light out, but no kids cried, and I didn't freak out and just got a warning to get it fixed. At the park, I was nervous about getting us all in as I was bringing a few of Julian's dump trucks because I knew one of the great things about this park was all the clean sand! We managed well - Ada in the carrier, and Julian holding my hand, and my other hand holding the dump trucks - diaper bag over my shoulder. Parking near the park helps. It was a lovely park! He played in the sand and I saw a Mom I had met at another park recently. She was telling me her son was in a horrible mood today - to excuse him - and I said we call it Mr. Grumps when Julian is in one over here. My Mom started it when she was visiting. The woman laughed, and said, yeah, sometimes you just gotta laugh it off. I thought how hard we are on ourselves as Moms. We think our kids should be in perfect behavior the entire time and we get frustrated and often embarrassed in public when they aren't. We forget they are just kids still learning to express their emotions and heck even talk for many at this toddler age! They aren't robots and neither are adults. It's a reminder I have to give myself when I am having a Mr. Grumps day as I often feel as an adult I should have it together all the time, as should everybody else. And we don't! My kids certainly give me more compassion for myself and others. I talked with another Mom there of three boys whose kids didn't look like a lot of the other kids there. They didn't look like the other kids in the sense they were dirtier, and less timid and more free in their play. She definitely seemed like more of a free range parent like I was talking about in another blog post - not hovering, letting her kids get dirty, letting the kids climb the slide or take their dirty dump truck onto the slide where other kids come down. I liked it. I think I had always thought that as you add more kids, one to two to three etc you need more rigid scheduling and authority but she did a great job of keeping her kids safe while letting them have freedom. She clearly knew her kids - in the sense of this one likes to run, this one needs to hang close, etc I find myself being more of this type of parent though sometimes I still get caught up in what others may think or what I should do or my own fear around letting go more when it comes to watching them. It's not to say a parent who schedules heavy or is constantly watching their kids is wrong. It's just that the behavior this Mom was showing with her three boys felt more at home with me and how I'd like my children to grow. I also chatted with a Mom of a three week old. She was at the park with her 3 year old daughter, and mom, and looked pretty bleary eyed, as I'd expect. First thing she said to me was - tell me - does it get any easier? I told her what I found exhausting having two, and what I enjoyed and we began to talk some more. She said how her three week old has the same digestive issues as the first one and she's up a lot of the night. Her three year old goes to bed late, and she's just exhausted to the point of crying. I told her I could relate on that exhaustion though I didn't have as high need of a newborn. We also swapped birth stories and she told me how she was induced with her first and had a c section because her daughter was positioned incorrectly and she couldn't push her out and how she ended up with a c section with the second because the baby was breech. Such stories which I've heard MANY lately send off warning bells in my head and continue to further my desire to be a doula (which is for another post) but I listened with an open heart and simply told her: "You're doing a great job" She smiled weakly, but seemed to appreciate it. How often do we tell a mother, you're doing a great job? If you are one of the lucky ones, you hear it often. But most of us, hardly to never. It doesn't mean we have bad spouses, partners, family, friends. It's simply that the role of a mother is taken for granted. The work that goes in day in and day out. I think it's taken for granted because many of us kick ass moms out there (and there are a lot of us!) we WANT to do this work. I know I do. I chose to have two kids, close in years, to not work currently, to be a FTM. Yet just because we want to do something, doesn't mean we don't need appreciation for it. And that goes for any of us out there! I used to think this wasn't the case, but my views have changed as I've grown wiser. I need to hear, I'm doing a great job as a mom and because I need to hear it, I'm going to make sure I voice it to other Moms out there. Sure, I need to toot my own horn too, but I also need support. And even if you aren't a Mom, you too need to toot your own horn and have support. I'm working on doing it for myself and other Moms, and I'm working on doing it for my husband and other friends and family too who are all doing hard work and want to feel appreciated. And there's a difference between wanting to feel appreciated and complaining. To complain, is to not really find gratitude for the hard work you are doing. With gratitude, comes acceptance and compassion for what may be challenging in what you love to do, and you can then offer the same acceptance and compassion to others. So to all the Moms, you're doing a great job! And please please, let other Moms know.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
So tonight I was faced with the realization that it's not that I'm done pushing through - it's that I can't. I can't do it anymore. I'm six weeks in as a mother of two and the exhaustion of trying to essentially do it all and keep things the same has caught up to me. I've tried to make the transition as smooth as possible for Julian but to do so it involved me going back to putting him to bed and it expends a lot of my energy and time. Before Ada came along, I had this vision of Ian really being with the kids at night, and mama getting a break. Well, it hasn't been that way. I've been with the kids and on 24/7. Ian comes home and helps out but I've been the one to put Julian to bed, which some nights can take an hour or more. I've made it this way. As I sit hear and write this and listen to my son cry for me as Ian puts him to bed, I cry along with him. I am realizing many things. The birth of Ada in many ways is the loss of my baby. Julian has been my baby. And with being a single Mom for awhile, he and I have been particularly close and connected. Embracing Ada means letting go of my baby. I can't push through this knowledge anymore. I can't stuff it down, the feelings. It's expending all of my energy and leaving nothing left for my husband or me. I've been pushing through to protect him, to shelter him, in many ways living the life of a single mom again as a mom of two. I'm holding on to the pain I've felt around the loss of my relationship with his dad, the worry of how it affects him, of who he will be. My son is now a little boy and growing up and moving into a new phase of life. Julian is just two years 3 months but he is so independent. The kid could probably go to a 5 day a week almost full day school and do just fine. He'd say "bye mom, see ya later!" He seems three already to me in much of what he does and how he speaks. My heart breaks again at the loss of my baby as it embraces the boy he's becoming. I think this happens again and again. It did the first time when he turned a year, when I stopped nursing him, and now with the birth of Ada. I fear losing him but know he's not lost. All of this is a part of growing, of changing, of moving on. It's so hard though. And I'll have to do it all over again with Ada. She's been sleeping in our bed and transition to her crib will be the start of it. I don't think I am alone in feeling this way. I don't expect it to get easier. It's a part of being a parent and the acknowledgment of it what fosters the most individual growth. But tonight my heart breaks. But
Do you know I've been writing this blog for 4 years? Some years more consistently than others. I have a tendency to slack in my writing when things are so called "good" and only write when things are "bad" Right now I don't think things are good or bad. There are days I'm truly happy and blissed out. And there are days I struggle and wake up feeling like I'm recovering from a hangover except the hangover is my LIFE. I find that most days there's a wave of emotions and I go from frustrated to confident to vulnerable to cold to happy to sad all in the span of the day. Hey, isn't that what they call bipolar? I was telling my husband that in many ways I think most of us exhibit these highs and lows but are grounded enough to ride them. I'm riding them! And those of in the midst of parenthood experience them more frequently, and I'll chalk it up to the simple fact that we are sleep deprived and exhausted, and often not realizing how much so, since we as human beings are incredibly resilient and can push through most things. But is this healthy - this pushing through? This staying the course so to speak? There was a time I would say YES it's what makes us STRONG. I'm not so sure anymore, as someone who's done it for many years, and still gets caught up in it. I try to avoid the news as much as possible but today I happened to glance at a story a friend shared on facebook. Well, this story was about a father who left his 22 month old son in a hot car in Atlanta accidentally. He was supposed to take the child to daycare on his way to work. He forgot, child was left in his car, he came out 8 hours later, realized shortly thereafter what had happened while driving, pulled over and tried to revive his child, completely distraught, but it was too late. He kept saying "what have i done what have i done" My heart breaks for this man. He will judge himself, many of us out there would judge him too, saying how could he do such a thing? Honestly, any of us who are parents if we are honest, would say I think, it could happen to me too. The exhaustion a parent feels with a young child is off the charts. Add to that daily living and all the things that supposedly need to get done - work, dinner, laundry, cleaning, picking or dropping kids off, etc etc and a person is overwhelmed, stressed out, and not present in their lives one bit. Or very little. This father loved his child, I am sure. I can picture it, a busy morning like we had here. This wasn't exactly our morning today but it has been. Just imagine this: 2 year old wakes up several times throughout the night, crying, seeming to have a bad dream though he can't tell you for sure. You bring him into bed which houses you, your spouse and your newborn, six weeks. Two year old wiggles like crazy making it impossible to sleep. Wife is up nursing the newborn so (dad) head out to the couch to get some rest, but the couch isn't that comfortable. Your two year old comes out around 5am saying daddy daddy let's play and you are half asleep wanting coffee but you didn't' get it ready night before and your wife is probably too busy with the baby to make it. You play with your two year old, while slowing waking up, realizing you better get in the shower soon so you can get out of the house by 7 to beat some of the traffic for your hour commute. You say hi to your wife who's coming out bleary eyed holding the newborn while struggling to make your son breakfast with one hand. The two year old is screaming he wants oatmeal but we don't have any so your wife is asking what other options he wants and he rejects every one while jumping up and down. The newborn starts to cry. You take a quick shower because your two year old is pounding on the door and as you get ready to leave the two year old throws his oatmeal on the floor, and some gets on your pants. Time to change and now you know that hour commute just go to an hour an a half. You rush out the door with no breakfast, no kiss for your wife, saying have a good day.. and your wife says don't you remember? you are bringing tommy to daycare today. You say yeah, sure sure, I forgot I gotta print something out I need to bring to work. Presentation today. Can you put him in the car? Your wife glares at your, hands you the baby and says think you could say hi to your daughter before you go? with tears in her eyes.. and she gets the two year old ready. You print what you need, wife is back and you zoom out the door handing her the baby. See ya later. You hop in the car (the two year old fell back asleep, perhaps since he was up at 5?) and you are off, turning on the radio to that heavy metal you can only listen to in the car anymore, remembering what it was like to be young and free. The hour commute turns into an hour and a half and you pull, in, rush into the office, cause you are late for that presentation. Do your socks match? you think.... So this is fiction what I wrote, but honestly, some mornings are an absolute shit show in our house. None of it excuses forgetting your child. But it's more the society we live in, the values it teaches, that contributes to this than human forgetfulness. Imagine if this man lived in a society that valued family? that valued slowing down, keeping a pace that was more conducive to being present to where you are at, to what is around you, to the most important people in your life - your kids, your spouse, your family etc This society is too plugged in. We are constantly being told more more more. And we are resilient, we are good worker bees - we keep on, keeping on. Why? If we listen closely, we may hear it's time to slow down. If we look at our physical selves we may see illness and disease, and still we don't listen to slow down. We schedule our kids into a zillion activities, day camp all summer. We worry what our bosses will think if we leave even 30 min early to see our kids in school play or heck just to beat traffic and be able to sit down to dinner with our family and not feel like we are rushing through. We feel guilty to want to stop, to pause, to go at our own pace. Who makes these rules that we have to push through, go go go? WE DO. Yes society keeps this pace but WE created this society. And I think most of us deep down would rather have something different. So we need to be the change, each of us, in our daily lives. We make choices daily that equate to pushing through, slowing down, recognizing our need to stop, recognizing we are completely and utterly exhausted. And done. Where are you pushing in your life? How do you justify it? Where can you find ease? I explore this daily as a Mom of two. This morning when Julian went to the neighbors I thought of all the things I should be doing but instead I just nursed Ada, sat and made smiles and faces at her and took a short nap, cause that is what I really wanted to be doing. And this afternoon when Julian went for his nap I came out here to write because I said I needed to for my own sanity and something is better than nothing. Even if no one reads this, I've voiced what I need to say, what often lies sleeping inside while I go through the daily caring of my children, supporting of my husband, in many ways the neglecting of my own needs. If anything, this blog is a way to address those needs, and then I can move on from there. This blog is a way for me to be honest with myself, to see my exhaustion is building, and that I too could have a breakdown. So I pause. I stop. I cry with Julian as he cries and he says are you frustrated I say yes, he gives me a hug. In many ways, my children are the ones I cry with, my children are the ones that see me trying to push through and just unable to do it. My children help me to give myself a break. They are with me. They see the journey. They are my saving graces.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
This morning I woke up with that feeling of just UGH. The exhaustion of a month of a mom of two hit me yesterday like a ton of bricks. And after much crying, arguing, talking it out with my husband, I went to bed and woke up feeling like I'd just been through a storm. Not the greatest way to start the day, and so exhausted and thinking how can I do another day of this? Thankfully Julian was being watched by the neighbor for a few hours and Ada is taking her long morning nap she's been doing most days. It's been a month of Ada here and I was talking to Ian recently how quickly I feel back to my "old" self. With Julian, I didn't feel that till about 5 or 6 months, which was when me and his dad broke up. I dont' expect such drastic change this time around. Yet I can feel something is shifting as I learn from Ada, as I learn from this experience of a mother of two. How can it not? I'm not quite sure where it's bringing me, but I can see the lessons I'm learning are ones I haven't learned yet. So they keep coming up. I can only imagine that as I learn them then I will know where I'm ending up, what this new self may look like. Ian was sharing last night how he's frustrated that on his days off we just can't take off for a whole day because Julian or Ada are napping or we are running errands, etc. Now it's not that we can't take off - we could - but Julian naps for about 2 to 3 hours mid day and if he doesn't get that nap he's a total crankster the rest of the day and frankly, if I don't get some of that nap, or these days just a few moments of QUIET time, I am a total crankster too. Well anyway, Ian voiced this and it triggered something in me something fierce. I said things like - well, what do you want me to do? Not give him his nap? Keep the baby out all day? Are you saying you don't like the ordinary, our regular routine? Do you want to be somewhere else? And he told me he was just looking to be heard. He didn't want me to fix anything. He just wanted to be heard. In that moment, I realized I just wanted to be heard too. I realized I resort to fixing when I am in need, when I need to be heard, when I am not taking care of myself. And then came the tears. And I realized suddenly how very exhausted I was. A friend of mine messaged me on facebook and said she was thinking of me as a Mom of two and mentioned her second baby was just as difficult as her first. High needs. And she said Cheers to Moms who are up all night. I have a feeling she too was looking to be heard and I replied in a way that was perhaps a tirade - a wave of emotion, listing my ups and downs, and in a way, making it about me. Couldn't I find compassion and just hear her even if my experience is a bit different? Just say, I hear you Mama, that's rough. I am not up all night usually with my newborn. Ada is in fact a great sleeper. Long nap in the morning, long nap in the afternoon, to bed by 930 or so, and I'm up once to nurse her usually before she wakes to nurse around 5. Now her brother, my two year old, to bed by 8 or 9, if I'm lucky sleeps till 5 without waking, or on a not so good night, up once asking for mama but usually a quick hug and rock gets him back to bed. Anyway, I may not be up all night, but I am still exhausted. It's really the combo of the newborn/toddler as this mama friend of mine has said. I find that when I am taking care of myself well I don't need to be heard as much. Or rather I'm clearer on making my needs known as they come up, at letting my feelings and voice be heard. Now when I am exhausted and lacking time to myself and self care as I am now, I need to be heard but I'm not clear on that. I get so exhausted it's so much easier to just be silent when I have a moment, or go to sleep and frankly I am exhausted at times to the point I don't know where I'd even begin to be heard. I haven't had enough time to myself or stillness or quiet to formulate that. My days are filled with endless toddler chatter or baby coos and cries - no time to be inside my own head my own thoughts. So clearly I need some more time. I'm thinking of going back to taking yoga classes soon. I know I need to but I'm conflicted as it's so hard to leave. It became easy for awhile as Julian Ian and I settled into a groove. Then I became pregnant and I knew life was going to change soon so it became harder to leave Julian but with Ian's help in India he did a lot of things just he and Julian and I had time to myself, to be in my space. Then we came back and Julian's behavior changed as he knew something was changing - a baby was coming - so I felt compelled to take less time for myself. And frankly being that pregnant I just wanted to be home. Now Ada is here and I'm torn with time with them as they are growing up so fast and my days are filled with the pain and joy of seeing this. And wanting time with my husband as that time is rare these days but knowing without time for myself I can barely look at him, or listen to him, or truly hold space for him. So yes, I want to be heard too. I want to be a woman and a mother who can vocalize my needs and feelings without yelling or screaming or crying or lashing out but in a way in which I know I am deserving of being heard. I want to practice self care so that I can hear my husband and meet his needs, I can hear my children and meet their needs. For me at least, self care is a way to hear an inner child that hasn't been heard or had its needs met. That's a post for another day, but I've noticed mothering brings out that voice of my inner child as I see childhood through my children's eyes and become aware of what I missed in my own. Mothering is certainly one of the most powerful and profound ways to hear a voice that has perhaps been silent for some time. I find myself recollecting things I haven't remembered in decades from my childhood and even doing things I did as a child I hadn't done in ages and remembering I loved them - cartwheels anyone? I even sang new kids on the block the other day... the right stuff! I am hearing that inner child and feeling her feelings, and frankly she has a lot to say! Till next time....
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Have you heard this term lately, free range parenting? I laugh every time I hear it because it makes me think of a bunch of half chicken half kids running around. Some examples include not hovering over your toddler at the playground, letting your first grader walk to the corner store alone, letting your kids play outside alone, letting your kids walk to school, or cook unsupervised or with minimal supervision, or leaving your kids in the car while you run into Starbucks, the bank - a quick errand. I read an excellent article on this subject by a woman who left her 4 year old son in the car for about 5 min when she went to run an errand and the legal drama that ensued for her as a result. Check it out here: http://www.salon.com/2014/06/03/the_day_i_left_my_son_in_the_car/ Some quotes I took away from it: "We live in a society where most people believe a child can not be out of your sight for one second, where people think children need constant, total adult supervision. This shift is not rooted in fact. It's not rooted in any true change. It's imaginary. It's rooted in irrational fear." And "... too much information - parenting books, birthing classes, a gazillion blogs and parenting sites and magazine... I think all the info, all the conflicting extreme philosophies of parenting (attachment vs. cry it out, etc) makes us NOT trust ourselves." And one more "I worry what other parents will think if I hang back on the bench, reading a book, while my kids are playing at the park... And so I accompany when I don't need to. I supervise and hover and interfere. And at least half of the other parents are probably doing the same. This is America and parenting is now a competitive sport, just like everything else." What has happened? I think all of us who are parents currently with young ones - those of us in our 30's in particular - can remember playing unsupervised a lot when younger. My brother and I were always running around in our backyard and surrounding woods without our parents. I rode my bike down the road to my friends house about a mile away and in the surrounding development without a helmet all the time. My brother and I rode in the back of our parents Izuzu trooper with no seat belts often. The list goes on and on. I would say that I am a free range parent without really knowing I was. I remember when Julian was a baby and I was alone for a week with him while his Dad was traveling. I was living in Watertown and really wanted some sushi from this place down the street. Breastfeeding makes you ravenous as you mamas know, and I needed some protein! I ordered it, but I had to pick it up. No delivery. I drove there, he fell asleep in the car and I did not want to move his car seat for fear of waking him. And I knew I'd only be a few min picking it up. So... I left him in the car. I don't think I've ever told anyone about this because I was ashamed thinking I was doing something wrong, but honestly, it felt like it was the ok thing to do in the situation. That was the only time I did it. I don't regret it. In our home, I never childproofed anything. This doesn't mean I leave knives out for him to play with, or chemicals handy or things to tip over on him, but it does mean there have never been any baby gates, even when I knew my son could open the door to our front stairs. There's never been anything over our outlets. I've never locked cupboards. My kids have free range of the house. My eyes and ears are open but I am not always in the same room or if he wanders I don't follow. I trust him to know the rules of our home and I trust myself to know if I have left anything out I shouldn't have. I've even left him alone with his new sister for a few moments as I start to trust he understands the need to be gentle. At the playground, I am not on top of my toddler. I let him roam free for the most part unless it's something he's climbing on that's a bit big for him. I would agree with the author that we live in a world of irrational fear. It is a result of too much information. I have felt it, before children and yes it's been stronger with kids. So what do I do.. I don't read a damn thing. I turn off the news. Nowadays, facebook too. All of this helps me to trust myself, and more importantly trust and know my children better. To know when they are ready for something, or not. The truth is I can't control all of the thousand things I could think about that could happen to me or them. I am in control of very little, truth be told. This is scary as Julian gets more and more bold and strong. I cringe as he jumps and climbs just wondering if we will have a hospital trip for broken bones or stitches. We had a moment while in India where he fell on the playground and we had to bring him to the hospital because the cut looked bad on his chin. We survived it, he survived it. It's hard to know I can't control them getting hurt, and for me even more so when it comes to emotionally getting hurt. I think of our older cat Kubie and Julian having to experience his loss someday, or worse the loss of a loved one. I think of Julian's friend Will who lives downstairs. Julian sees him often during the week and Will will be moving in about a year when his Dad graduates grad school. How will Julian take losing the bond he's had with his friend? I think of the first time his heart will be broken. Or when he finds out there is no Santa Clause - that devastated me. These things hurt my heart more than any physical harm, though of course the thought of a broken bone or a stitch hurts too. Even though I know it will hurt to see him in pain, I don't try to prevent any of it. In many ways, it may hurt us, the parents, more than him. Kids are fairly resilient. We as parents bring these children into the world and realize we are the most vulnerable we've ever been in our lives. And then at the same time, we realize there's nothing we can do to control their suffering. What a moment! Parenthood is painful, no doubt. But it's beautiful and joyful. If we can embrace that vulnerability, we become whole again, through them. This issue of trusting ourselves... again too much information out there. Too many distractions. Trusting oneself comes from truly being quiet, silent, and in that silence and stillness, then we know. We sit long enough and we know our strength. We connect to intuition. When I was planning a HBAC, I read one book my midwife recommended to me on healing trauma from birth, and that was it. I didn't read any other books, attend any other classes. With my midwife's help, I trusted in my ability to birth my baby at home. And I did! The worrying what other parents, other people think - that's been a struggle of mine. Even as a second time Mom, when I show up to the park and my baby is in short sleeves and no socks cause I know she runs warm while all the other babies are bundled up, I judge myself for a moment. Should I be doing something differently? At the same park, when I lose sight of my toddler for awhile cause I'm sitting with other Moms enjoying our newborns and then I see him with the older kids getting himself soaked in the water fountain and drinking dirty water from the water fountain, I think, does someone think I'm a bad mother? The thing is - I'm a damn good mother, and so are all of you! My kids are fed, clothed, listened to, and loved every day. I have to pee but I sit down to play 10 more min of trucks. I am starving but I feed my babies first. I am exhausted but I do my best to listen anyway. So free range parenting or not, lets drop the labels and support one other as the excellent mothers we are.
It's a rainy Thursday afternoon. Julian, my son is downstairs playing at the neighbors. Ada, my one month old (today!) is sleeping with a cold, poor thing. I'm here writing to you, instead of watching Netflix, going through Facebook, cleaning the house, or a gazillion other things I could do. Having children has made me realize the preciousness of time, and how it's spent. I started to understand this with Julian, it became clearer during our three month trip to India, and now with the birth of Ada, it's smacking me in the face daily. Time is precious. We think we have so much of it, but we don't. My kids are growing so fast - yes even Ada - how is it possible a little over a month ago I was very pregnant awaiting her arrival and today she is a month, looking so different already than the newborn I gave birth to? I've noticed how easy it is for me to waste time - to rush to get things done, like cooking, or laundry or whatever so that I can "have time" to do something else, like enjoy my kids, and then the day is gone. Isn't that funny? Rushing through activities, barely present with them so we can "have time" and then when we finally "have time" we are too tired or the time has passed. I keep saying soon I will do something nice for my husband, Ian, he's so great to me and such a good father and how did I get this lucky... only to have the days and weeks go by and then it's a birthday or a holiday to remind me to do something special . I say today, I'm going to take care of myself, do some home yoga practice, try to cook that new healthy dish, and again a week goes by before it happens. Granted, I am quite busy. Sometimes I just can't get to it, with two kids to care for. But honestly, if I managed my time better, I could get to a lot. Or at least I'd have my choice of what to get to, what to do. This period for me, since I stopped teaching yoga last November has been the longest I've gone without working... um ever! I've always been someone who felt the need to DO. To accomplish. I've realized in this space of not doing for 6 months that one, I'm still doing a lot, and two, the need to DO was more centered on what others would think of me if I did do NOT, so to speak. And truly my judgment of myself if I was not doing. I was thinking the other day how I would love to get my second sleeve, my other arm tattooed and a voice goes, how can you do that? You aren't working or earning an income right now. And honestly I'm not sure when I will. I told Ian I wanted to just be a Mom for awhile (as if there is such a thing - to JUST be a Mom) and he supports me fully on that. I think the piece that has kept me from fully embracing it is that one, deep down I don't believe I deserve all this - that I can this blessed to have a loving and supportive husband, kind I only dreamed of, and two amazing gorgeous kids, and a lovely community to be a part of and share in - yeah Somerville! - and to just enjoy it all. People will tell me that's so silly... how can you believe that? But what can you do... we all often have these long held beliefs that however silly or whoever tells us it shouldn't be there... fact is, it's there. And for me it's coming up so strong these days as I lead the life I've only dreamed of, but not always fully in it, fully enjoying it. So I'm being JUST a Mom, knowing Ian will not be working on the farm come October (he's been working on an organic farm since May) and wondering what our lives will look like then. Living on the edge, but honestly, it's the only place to be these days for me. I tried to have that safety net underneath me and it never worked. And living the other way, on the edge so to speak, has left me the most alive, the most happy, able to have the life I want... so shouldn't I trust it will all work out? Back to this new direction... I was thinking as I ponder self care, self compassion and love and what I may want to do for paying work if I need or want to be earning again... and the best thing I could come up to address all of these is to write. I wrote from as long as I can remember. Journals at 8, 9, 10... first poem at 11... so I'm changing this blog to be about motherhood, and life. That's where I resonate these days. Happy reading!