Pearls of Wisdom That May Prevent You From Putting Your Whole Family in the Oven
My mom said something to me recently that really resonated. It wasn’t the dreaded “enjoy every moment” but it was in that vein. It was simply, “Try to go with the flow.” She said this while I was trying to stuff my reluctant toddler into warm clothes so that she could sit on a float in a parade because I decided that is what we should do and DAMMIT THAT IS WHAT WE WERE GOING TO DO. It all ended wonderfully, but that moment of hearing my mother’s been-there-done-that-and-I-wouldn’t-recommend-stressing-over-everything was helpful.
I’ve been thinking about some other pearls of wisdom that mothers, and non-mothers, have shared with me and I want to share them because I want a list to refer to and because if these tidbits of advice helped me, they might help other mamas.
YOU KNOW WHAT’S BEST FOR YOUR KID. This is true. Don’t doubt your instincts, unless, as I have mentioned before, your instinct is to put your kid in the oven. (In that case just go back to watching Paw Patrol and drinking your wine out of a sippy cup).
YOU ARE ALLOWED TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY FROM WHAT IS “RECOMMENDED.” There are some things that you really probably should do like put them in a car seat and feed them and maybe don’t put them on their stomachs to sleep when they are a day old but then there are other things that YOU DECIDE. Don’t let them take your power Mama. Mamas are the most resourceful, industrious, totally magical creatures on earth who have endless love supplies, huge hearts, and the capacity and will to do for their children what they wouldn’t even do for themselves. All that is required is love and a support system. Cause you got everything else you need Mama. Don’t forget that.
I PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE STOPPED AT ONE. It is okay to have thoughts and regrets and question the very core of who you are and what your life has become. Speaking YOUR truth about YOUR experience is the only thing that will keep you sane. That shit will set you free.
YOUR NEEDS AREN’T SECONDARY. Or tertiary. Or last. Your needs are your needs. The more you acknowledge and express them, the less resentful you will be of everyone around you. Especially your partner. So put your own stupid oxygen mask on or whatever that stupid analogy is. NOW DAMMIT!
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING FOR…When your baby is an infant it is all about getting through the next 15 minutes or half hour. With toddlers sometimes you just need to get through the tantrum. With older kids, I HAVE NO IDEA but I can say that I am totally terrified of a time when kissing my daughter’s booboos doesn’t magically fix the universe. But I’ll get through it. You will too. We can do anything for whatever time it takes to usher our noodles into the next phase, next stage, next unknown.
EVERYTHING USUALLY PASSES IN 3 TO 4 EXCRUCIATING DAYS. Someone told me once that she was told that you can change a baby/child’s habits in roughly three to four days of sheer hell. I have tested this theory and find it to be mostly accurate (although I am unwilling to try it with my daughter’s bottles so basically she will be going to university sucking on a Playtex easy flow bottle).
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Whatever fucked up thing is happening to you in this very moment is happening, or has happened, to another mother. Talk about it and put the secret society of motherhood to rest.
YOUR BOOBS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. So just accept it.
YOU DESERVE TIME AND SPACE AND A LIFE. Don’t let anyone bullshit you into thinking that motherhood is all self-sacrifice and giving everything you’ve got. Leave some in the tank for you otherwise your tank will explode and then everyone is going into the oven.
DON’T MAKE EVERYTHING YOUR CHILD DOES A PERSONAL REFLECTION OF ALL THE BAD STUFF YOU FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF. Have self-compassion. Your kid throws food from their high chair because they all do that, the little shits. Don’t take it personally. Your kid will still go to Harvard and not become a drug-addled circus performer (unless of course that is their path, I guess?). You and your kid are separate beings. It is hard to really get this through our thick skulls as mothers because we actually made that little person inside our bodies for the most part (there are lots of ways to be mother however) and so the fact that they are made up of our DNA means that we often ridicule ourselves when they don’t eat, when they are rude, when they pout and sulk and generally act like assholes. We did that too when we were their age and look at us now! Right!?
JUST TRY TO BE PRESENT (NO MATTER HOW SHITTY THE PRESENT MAY BE). Basically resistance to the present moment is futile. I know. I've tried.And since I’ll still be writing this blog when I am an empty-nester, I can imagine myself lamenting about how the years whizzed by and it all went by so fast. However, day-by-day I have t will myself not to look at my two year-old and ask why she doesn’t have a job yet or wipe her own butt. It will all be precious memories they tell me. You’ll look back fondly they tell me. They better be right. The jerks.
There are more but I have a two year-old so (end of sentence).
If you have pearls of wisdom, please share them.
We need all the help we can get.