Thursday, March 18, 2010

two's a crowd.

I'll never forget how I felt when I had my second baby. His older brother was 22 months old and a very active toddler. Every time I sat down to nurse, my first born was into something. Shall we say that experience with baby #2 was not as wonderful as baby #1?!

Partly the reason was because let's face it, being a mom isn't always easy. But many factors have to be considered in how you do when the next baby comes along. Things like your personality, tolerance level, how well you do with little sleep, if you have boys or girls, or if you have help those first few days. 

My point is: baby #2 did me in. Numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 was a smooth sailing transition! This is not to say that baby # 2 was a demanding baby, or that baby # 1 typified the "terrible two's". It was me. I had to adjust. It wasn't fun. At all.

That's because:

a) I needed sleep. I liked sleep. I did not like my sleeping to be interrupted. Okay, I got used to nightly feedings with baby #1 but I got to sleep during the day when he did. After baby #2, I couldn't because my 2 year old  was up and running!

b) I didn't like my house messy. I like order. And things... were getting messed up. I had to teach my toddler we don't throw the toys, we don't eat the toys, we don't dump the toys, we pick up the toys, (not to mention that I would set up the "Little People" this way and not that way) and at the same time take care of a baby...all the while trying to watch my morning show!  How does one do this?

Simple. Something has got to go. And it isn't going to be the kids.

The reality is while a mom is going through these daily routines, it is painful! Can you see my perfectionism just screaming all over the place? I'm the gal who used to have difficulty sitting down to watch a movie if everything wasn't neat and orderly in the living room. Everything had to have a place and then I felt good. Now while I wasn't extreme about it, like paranoid to the point of being loopy, I had tendencies that was either going to demand from my kids or demand from me. And because I loved my kids dearly, I picked "me". 

Kids are resilient. They really are. And if you are a perfectionist mom, a simple "I'm sorry" is all that's needed. Even a toddler understands them. Those two powerful words will melt your heart when spoken. It softens the face and calms the soul. Because you are not perfect and if you keep trying to be you will be frustrated and irritable. Learn to accept yourself the way you are. God doesn't demand from you. Other people often do and it creates this bar that you just can't ever reach. You're not supposed to reach it. 

You are loved just the way you are. The more you realize that, the more you will be able to love your kids (and others) just the way they are. You are going to have some "bad" days. But if you find that every day seems to be a bad day because just under the surface is this nagging frustration and irritability, something is not right. Tell God about it. But know that He uses the very thing that irritates us to set us free. As we walk out our days together as mothers, we allow the difficulties to shape us. 

In time, I had to just let go of some things. So, I had to spend a couple of days getting up 3 times while nursing to deal with the toddler. Creativity sets in during these times! Not only did I realize that I could get up and walk while nursing, but I learned to sit the toddler down with a book or some other activity during nursing.

You can cry out "God, help me!" fifty times a day, or dump on your husband as soon as he comes in the door, or, you can allow the tender pressing upon your soul to shape you and make you a woman of strength. You can read a book, attend a class, or talk with friends. But there is nothing like the growth that occurs when taking those daily doses of medicine and watching the freedom that comes from it. Freedom from yourself.

Now, I boast of standing at the stove stirring the soup while nursing a baby, talking on the phone, and giving a spelling test, all at the same time!

Let the freedom come to enjoy being a mother. It will, if you let it.


Anonymous said...


Over the last hour I have been reading all you have written. I had no idea that you were a writer. As a mom I needed to read this. It's 1:30 in the morning and even though I have to be up in a few hours I'm thankful that I decided to keep reading "just one more" until I had finished them all. You are a great mom and a blessing to all whos lives you speak into. You have a way of bringing peace to those you minister to. Please keep writing, some how you know just what to say.


kathleen said...

Thank-you, MP, for your comment. It means more than you know.

My heart is to help moms and to receive some feedback, knowing someone was helped in some way, makes me smile.