Posts tagged ‘Relationships’

October 20, 2011

My Kind of Motherhood

In an effort to find this great article on motherhood the other day, I came across a couple of other articles that were, to say the least, not so inspiring.

 

Apparently being a mom can be boring and many mothers admit being lonelier than they’d ever been in their children’s first years.

 

And?

 

Motherhood is not supposed to be entertaining all the time. Sure, shame on the media for perpetuating that image, but greater shame on those who believed it. As grown women, this generation should be able to tell the difference between real life and drama.

 

To avoid any risk of sounding hypocritical, I realize that I write a blog about motherhood and what it means to me. But the truth that I hope is at the heart of every post I write is that this is not about me.  It’s about these boys:

 

I didn’t leave my dream job so I could take walks in the park every day. I don’t change diapers for the fun of it. I perform these large and small acts of service because they benefit someone else. I do these things because I am called to love, and sacrifice is what it means to love.

 

What office job doesn’t have boring tasks? What career doesn’t have some unhappier moments? Really, what reward is truly worth it if there isn’t some struggle along the way?

 

It shouldn’t be news that motherhood can be boring and it can get lonely. What’s newsworthy are the mothers who accept these tasks and these changes to their identities with full hearts, with faith in a plan greater than their own, and with hope that they are participating in something genuinely worthwhile.

 

That’s the kind of mother I’m striving to be.

 

Okay, rant over.

 

October 19, 2011

Parenting Means Not Giving Up

The other day, despite his protests, I knew Jacob needed a nap. He probably knew it too, but just didn’t want to believe it. I understand how he feels—I don’t really like napping either, unless I’m exhausted. There are too many fun things to do in a day. And especially if you’ve just learned a new trick like walking, lying down and resting seems, at first glance, like a waste of time.

But prudent mama that I am, I know that often when the morning nap goes out the window, the rest of the day goes with it. Somehow I possessed a strange calm, one I’m only beginning to get used to, one that I think might come from confidence in my role as a mother. Though Jacob was crying and rustling around in my arms, that calm allowed me to keep a just-firm-enough hold on him, rock him, and sing to him, as per our routine.

After four rounds of all five verses (that I know, at least) of “Amazing Grace,” he was asleep. I managed to put him down and he got a full nap in. A few weeks earlier, I might not have had the persistence to sing the whole song four times. A few months earlier, I know I wouldn’t have. I would have been frustrated that what I was doing wasn’t working and would have simply put him down, hoping he’d cry for just a few minutes and manage to get to sleep by himself.

It’s probably mostly a result of my getting more sleep now than I did in the earlier months with Jacob, but I am finding that I have more trust in myself these days. I know Jacob pretty well, and generally have a good sense of what he needs and how to offer it to him, even if he doesn’t think he agrees.

In the first half of his life, I took a lot of cues from the little guy. I figured he knew what he needed better than I did. And at that point, I’d never cared for a newborn before, and he was functioning on needs, not wants. Now, as the wants are filtering in amongst the needs, I have a different job as his mother. I need to use my judgment to determine what’s best for him, still incorporating whatever he can communicate to me, when it’s appropriate.

Sometimes that means doing what he doesn’t want to do. Sometimes that means I’m not going to be his favorite person on the planet. Sometimes I’m going to have to stand my ground. Sometimes it’s going to be sheer willpower concealing doubt that I’m totally botching something.

But that’s okay. Because, as my friend Cristina would say, I am the mother. God gave me to him and him to me for a reason. If my heart is always in the right place—and with God’s grace and Mary’s intercession it will be—I have hope that these moments will always end, as they did the other day, with a happy, healthy, and holy little boy resting peacefully in my arms.

P.S. Can someone please volunteer to read this post back to me when Jacob’s about fifteen?

July 27, 2011

This Time of Life

Welcoming a baby into a family opens the floodgates of change. The first few months with a newborn are a whirlwind of transitions, even from one day to the next.  There is less sleep than you thought you could handle, more diaper changes than you thought possible, and a different perspective on just about everything to adjust to. Life with a baby is exciting, challenging, and exhausting, but altogether joyful.  At least in my experience.

 

This week, though, we’re confronted with a new kind of change—one I’d seen coming for a while, but I can’t believe is upon us already.

 

We are blessed with a small group of families that lives nearby and all met one through the other at our church.  We started to meet these families before we even moved to Brooklyn, and we’d been introduced to them all by the time we were settled in and Jacob was born.  At that point, there was only one other baby born in the group, but another was on the way, and a few months later we learned the fourth was on her way, too. Over this past year in Brooklyn, most of our Sunday mornings have been shared with these wonderful folks at Mass and either brunch or a trip to the bagel shop afterward.

 

But all good things must come to an end.  We recently learned that one of these friends landed a job he was really hoping for.  It’s a great fit for him, and we’re really excited.  Except that it starts in just a few weeks.  And it’s in a different state.

 

The news is as bittersweet for us as it is for them.  Experiencing something as life-altering as pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of your children’s lives together creates a unique bond of friendship, and one I know will always have a special place in my heart.  I don’t think I’ve let myself really think about it yet, but it will be incredibly hard to say good-bye (or at least “see you later”) to a couple that has shared so much with us over the last eleven months.

 

I know that the period of life with just first children is a limited time offer, and that when more children come along for our friends—and for us—we will slowly find our ways to the homes we intend to settle into for the long term.  Most of these will likely be outside of Brooklyn.

 

I discussed this great change with two of the ladies on a playground yesterday afternoon, and I was grateful for their trust in God’s plan.  We expressed how much we’d miss one another, but there wasn’t a word of complaint among them.  “God always provides,” one remarked.  I couldn’t help but think, I wish he would provide a little longer!  But I know there is a plan at work, one that is greater than what we could have conjured on our own.  This time of life is full of change, hopefully all for the better.

 

No matter what comes next, I am beyond grateful that my journey into motherhood began with such faithful women by my side.

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