My goodness, it’s been quite a long time since I’ve posted! Well, you know, life and what not gets in the way. But I do want to get back in the habit of posting regularly and several of you old so and so’s have inquired about new posts. So here I am!
It’s been quite a summer. Traveling, visiting friends and family and it went in a blink of an eye. In addition, G and I have been super busy bees working at jobs and extra-curricular activities and it all just seems to be speeding by. Do you feel this way? With a baby, somehow it seems to go even quicker. One day, she’s a sweet little nugget who sits still and the very next day, she’s a tornado whipping through our world – touching and grabbing everything, hiding wedding rings in a change jar, throwing remotes in the toilet, climbing on counters/chairs/stools whatever she can find to wrap her leg around and hoist herself up on. Screaming for help when she can’t get down. Being so funny and entertaining, that we can’t get anything done, except to sit and play with her cause she is just so darn cute and interesting.
But through the days, I’ve learned a few things about myself and how I am growing into an actual real live parent. I’ll share them here, and please don’t think I am giving advice, I am just sharing. And I would love to hear how you all have grown and what works for you when days get tough.
YOU MUST LIVE IN THE MOMENT…..It’s been said over and over and I never paid much mind to it. But I’ve gotten back to my regular yoga practice which has been wonderful and has given me this great outlook. Every time I am feeling overwhelmed with little Miss’s fits or glance around at our apartment and see dustballs, dishes piled up and laundry over-flowing….or see my LONG to-do list for my business…or remember that I have a deadline or four for some freelance work….or catch my reflection in the mirror and realize I haven’t bathed/brushed teeth/ hair/no make-up and scare the bejesus out myself… I remember. I remember what I learn on my mat…to take a deep breath and to let the breath out slowly and release the negative thoughts and energies that are flowing endlessly through my head and come back to reality. I also learned to set an “intention” for each class. Most certainly. for me, my intention will always be something physical for class – “be energetic” or “take longer exhales”, etc. But I’ve started practicing “intentions” or for me “good thoughts” in life as well…I am a lucky girl. With an amazing husband, healthy happy baby, a supportive family, great friends, a wonderful apartment in the greatest city ever, and a growing business. It sounds so hokey, I know. But for me, it takes the edge off of frustration. When I am feeling overwhelmed, I take 10 seconds and breathe and look around my environment and find one thing that I like, one “good thought” Sometimes, it’s the little freckle on Button’s neck, sometimes it might be a photograph, sometimes it’s a neat building in the city I’ve never noticed before and sometimes it’s as simple as looking at my toes and seeing a bright color I’ve just polished them with. I focus on that thing quickly and with the “intention” to bring a good thought into my head. It’s like a light switch for me and I let whatever is bothering me take a back burner for a few quick seconds. And whatever that “good thought” was, it reminds me what is important in this moment. And I come back to reality with a clarity. I can’t say where this came from, I just started doing it one day and it works for me. How do you deal with frustration?
STOP LISTENING….I’ve stopped reading the books and listening to other parents/friends/family/random ladies in the store advice. It’s totally great to have of these resources and I am not saying I’ve shut off all communication on how to raise a healthy, happy, well-mannered, character-rich little person, but I don’t take the advice to heart anymore. A year ago, if someone said to me, “oh, you’re giving your baby that? No, you must do this…” or “You do what with your baby? You’re crazy!” I would take that advice and mull it over for hours/days/weeks and think of what I was doing wrong and what a failure I was. Or would pull up any mom site and read articles about “How to make a smart baby” or something like that and I’d become riddled with anxiety that I am doing something wrong! But how silly, now looking back, I was. What I learned throughout this past year (and especially these last few months as Button’s personality has really shown through) is that we’re all individuals, and especially these tiny humans. So what worked for one baby, might not and probably won’t for another. One example I can think of right away is sleep training. You could literally spend every waking minute (and there are a lot in that first year) reading and talking about all of the hundreds of methods of sleep training. And I read quite a few books and we tried several methods until we settled into a morphed version of several. And I do believe, this was our first great victory. And the perfect example of how both G and I had to figure out exactly what we needed for our life. If I had listened to some other mom’s shock when I said we let her cry all night one night, but after that one night, she has slept soundly ever since. Or listened to a book that said it was way to early for us to start sleep training, then we could have had months more misery. But we did it at the exact right moment and in the exact right way for us. And it’s worked (this girl sleeps 12-13 full hours a night and takes a 1.5-2 hour nap everyday.) And is happy. And that is all that matters!
PATIENCE…. There is nothing worse than feeling helpless with all that is going on with our crazy hectic lives. And nothing worse than taking that frustration out on Button. She has no idea how to deal with stress yet. And in my opinion, that is one life skill that will always help you. So while I can’t hide the world from her forever, I can for the next few years, teach her that patience and calmness will get you everywhere. When she gets super agitated cause she can’t play with our TV remotes (cause she threw one in the toilet and lost another one.) I practice sitting with her and letting her cry for a bit…I just sit calmly next to her taking a few deep breaths while rubbing her back and letting her get it out and then she calms after a few minutes. And then I reward her with a big hug and a kiss and I find her favorite book and we read and she has a big smile and goes about her business as usual. In that moment, I feel like such a great mom. I feel like I am teaching her that if she has patience, she will get rewarded — maybe not with the exact thing she wants – but in this case something better. (she loves nothing better than being read to!) I am no dummy, I know this won’t always work…but when it does, I feel like I’ve conquered the world!
So, in saying all this, I try and practice all of these daily/hourly/minutely…..I try not to let my brain treat these small victories as it would typically treat the negative, self-questioning thoughts that are always surrounding us. I practice patience and I take the rewards from that and live in the moment of that victory and let the feeling last as long as I can possibly stretch it. And as I put sweet girl to sleep each night and I recall all the fun things we did, I be sure to silently pat myself on the back for even the slightest parenting victory….And then I treat myself to some wine! Cheers!