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Here's a doozy (just hover over the tiny icon there) for ya....
The last couple of weeks have been a tough mothering time.
I think it was around my birthday that I said to the Husband, for the first time ever -
I said that despite having had a newborn that has been restless, didn't sleep well, the breastfeeding hadn't been working, and I had a maximum of 2hrs sleep a night for the first 3-5 months. And no more than 2hrs sleep in one stretch ever since she was born, and feeling wiped out or at least very tired Every. Single. Day. And then every day she won't play alone for longer than 5 minutes at a time, and wants a lot of carrying. And no more than a couple of hours as she naps for my own space (we go to bed together, 11pm, and rise together). And she wakes from 4-8 times a night....
but I still hadn't said it until now.
edit: not b/c I wouldn't admit it before, I just was getting on with the work of mothering.
She had been super needy these last weeks. Right on 18mth-old separation-anxiety schedule? This was immediately following 6 weeks of molar teething.
And then a few days ago, I cried.
The Broken Column, Frida Kahlo
She had woken up fine and smiling. Less than 10 minutes later, she was whining. I find whining a challenge most times, but on just starting the day, this was very difficult. And then later that day she had a meltdown that lasted over 40 minutes. I stayed calm and was close to her as she got it all out. Later she was happy... and then whining in the evening. I was beat. It was the proverbial straw.
So I made sure I got all my own crying out, releasing stress.
I am thankful anyway because
... it was another chance to remind myself the healing powers of crying (for her and for me).
... it gave this once Arrogance Shadow victim the chance to be vulnerable, to be humble, and to admit a vulnerable time.
... these situations deepen my compassion for all mothers.
... it reminds me what true unconditional love is.
Girl With Death Mask 1, Frida Kahlo
I am a Mindful mama. I never deny her carrying, or cuddles. I read books every single time she asks me to read. I reach for a centre of calm when she whines, tantrums, or is super clingy. I speak patiently and with respect. I deny her very little. I never raise my voice. We have a lot of giggles together. We are together all the time. She has a stable environment. I come down to her level and speak gently asking her to tell me what she needs. I anticipate her needs most of the time.
I have a child who
expresses herself aggressively when she is frustrated.
builds up stress and needs to release it in a good cry every other day or a whopper of a rage/tantrum every other week.
needs me physically close.
requires holding most of the day.
will bang her head if angry/frustrated.
becomes easily frustrated.
is hyper-aware over details and so she can find it tough to get things just right.
wants things NOW.
She is the quintessential Aries.
Others might judge that I'm doing something wrong, or that I have a naughty child, or pity how unfortunate I am.
I am thankful anyway because
... every day she challenges me to find new reserves of patience, inner calm, and compassion.
... she will never be stifled.
... she's not afraid to voice her opinion.
... she is my proof that I'm definitely not repressing her.
... she has no concept of what is 'good' or 'acceptable' behaviour.
... she feels safe to be, and express, everything she is with me.
... she trusts that I will hear all her emotions, unconditionally.
... she adds a dynamic and exuberant energy to my calmer one.
... I feel fortunate to have a child that challenges me to grow as a person, unrelentingly, every day.
The Two Fridas, Frida Kahlo
I have a child who in public usually,
appears quiet and reserved.
takes her time to warm up to people and situations.
She is a typical Virgo moon child.
Others might (and have) judged me to be a great parent, that she is a 'good' baby, or that I am lucky.
I am thankful anyway *wink* because
... I have nothing to prove to anyone.
... it gives me a chance to say how I believe that all children are 'good' and that a tantruming or aggressive child isn't 'bad' or 'naughty', nor are they necessarily less generally content than calm children.
... It gives me the chance to let a mother who feels inferior to me (my neighbour) know that what you see is only ever a small portion of the bigger story. And that while some things I do have an influence, it can never change who she is by nature.
... it gives me the opportunity to discuss how quiet and 'good' children might be repressed, afraid, learnt to hide their volatile emotions, learnt to do what pleases or appeases his elders at the cost of his/her authenticity. We don't know.
... it reminds me how inflexible our society is about what is considered 'good' or 'well-behaved', and that I can see through the facade of my own public impression, and accept and adore her whatever she is or however she appears.
If you've done your own Thankful Anyway, go ahead and add your link - directly to the post - to the linky below (not visible in feed reader). Grab the button up the top (right click & Save As) and a link back is always nice.