Had to share this one. Buddhist teachings on patience so relevant to life with a toddler!
Motherhood is a choice you make every day…
I’ve blogged quite a lot about my having issues with resentment, particularly my being resentful of my husband. But it occurred to me just now, maybe I’m not actually resentful of him. After all, what is there to be resentful of? He’s a bloody great husband and father, totally hands on, always involved. I know not everyone has this kind of support from their partner. No, I don’t actually think I am resentful of him. I can’t resent him for being out of the house during the day, he’s working to support us. I also know that if I told him I wanted to go back to work in some capacity, he would support me. He’s told me too that if I want Miss M to go into daycare now and then so I get a break and just be with the baby, so be it, he’s ok with that. So what exactly am I angry and resentful of him for? He hears me, and he’s willing to discuss options.
I’m suddenly thinking that really if I’m honest it’s all about me. I think I’m just knackered, and pissed off with being on call 24/7 and I take it out on him because who else is there to take it out on. Pissed off with always being the one that decides what’s for dinner and makes sure we all have clean clothes. That does all the research about food and tantrums and sleep and so on and so forth and so ON. That sorts out the playdates and the doctors appointments. Yadda yadda. All the SAHM stuff.
But it’s what I choose to do. Firstly I chose to have my beautiful, much-loved daughters. However, I have also chosen the SAHM lifestyle. I believe it is the best thing for my daughters and for my family as a whole. Yet it looks like two years in I still need to find a way of coming to terms with the actual living of this lifestyle. Does that make any sense?
Gosh another little spark went off in my head. I’m not doing anything for me at the moment. I’ve started making sure that I go for a fitness walk every day (aiming for that 10k run in September) and that’s helping a lot. But there isn’t anything else. I’m pretty sure that if I started thinking about what I want for myself and acting on it, then maybe I’d be able to do all the other stuff without feeling resentful – not of my husband, but of my own choice to be a SAHM.
I think it’s about time I sat down and figured a few things out. Last week I bought a Create Your Incredible Year Workbook & Planner and I haven’t given myself time to look at it properly yet but it looks brilliant and comes highly recommended. It’s about really working out what you want and need from your year, and actually making it happen.
Time for this mama to start figuring a few things out!
What word did you select to be your travelling companion in 2012? What gifts did this word bring?
The concept of choosing a word for the coming year is a new one for me, so I didn’t actively select one last year. However, had I chosen, it would without a doubt have been Mindful. I’ve done my best in 2012 to learn to be more mindful in every aspect of my life and I’ve learned so much along the way. I know that I’ve weathered a few storms a lot better than I would have done had I not embarked upon my quest to live a more mindful existance. It’s a lifelong journey and I look forward to honing my mindfulness skills in 2013. Certainly I now have a great many resources from which to draw inspiration and knowledge moving into the new year. Blogroll coming!
What word will you choose to guide you through 2013? What do you hope it will bring into your life?
Calm. Being a stay at home mum is a joy in so many, many ways, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But it’s also bloody tough work – emotionally, mentally and right now 5 weeks post-caesar with a toddler to care for as well demand breastfeeding, physically. It’s 24/7. There is no let up. I have to stay calm in the face of it all, for the sake of me, my girls and my husband. I must remain smiling (albeit doubtless a bit maniacally at times) in the midst of the madness and remember that it will get easier. That way I’ll be sure to enjoy the precious moments, of which I know there will be many.
I have never been able to remember the first time I held my precious Miss M. She was born via elective caesarean section (unusual breech), and right after she was lifted out I experienced the most excruciating pain in my chest. I thought I was going to die. I don’t remember anything except hearing her first cry, registering she was ok, and then…nothing. I don’t remember leaving the operating theatre, I barely remember being in Recovery and I have no recollection of being taken back to Maternity. The following hours and that first whole night are a blur. I have always thought that I was simply traumatised by the surgery, afraid and in pain. I thought my own pain over-rode my feelings for my newborn daughter. I never had that precious time that everyone talks about, the first time they held their baby in their arms. But, she was ok, and I was ok and that was all that mattered. I didn’t let myself get hung up on it, I’d read that it didn’t happen for everyone, that immediate connection and burst of love. In all honesty I never actually felt disconnected from her – I just felt overwhelmed, and that something had been missed, and in some way I had failed mentally in dealing with the surgery and subsequent recovery, but that it was ok now, so I should just move on. I never spoke about it and life did move on.
Indeed I forgot all about that pain in my chest until last week when it was time to book in for my second c-section and the subject came up. I said I wanted the baby to be given to me right away and explained why I thought it hadn’t happened last time – because something had gone wrong with me that to my recollection was never explained to me. I was given a pre-op appointment with an anaesthesiologist this morning so that we could find out what happened last time and stop it happening this time. It turns out that I didn’t fail my daughter – there is a reason for my not remembering anything. It wasn’t because I was emotionally unable to cope with the surgery and its aftermath. It was Fentanyl. A synthetic opiate analgesic which is 50 – 100 times more potent than morphine, and which was administered after I reacted badly to the Sentocin which was given (as was routine) to make my uterus contract while I was still on the table. Although still conscious, I was completely out of it before I even got to hold Miss M. I was then put on an intravenous morphine PCA – more opiate – which I told them to take out at some point that night as it made me nauseous and the fear of vomiting with my stomach all stitched and in so much pain was greater than my fear of more pain. And at some point after that I started to come out of my haze.
They don’t administer Sentocin any more, so chances are I won’t have that same reaction this time. There’s nobody to blame, I just had an unusal reaction to one drug which was treated with the drug they thought most appropriate at the time. I don’t quite understand why such a strong drug was used, but I’m not going to get hung up on that now. What’s done is done, and now I have the knowledge to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. I can refuse the Fentanyl and ask for Endone instead, or have nothing if I choose. I’m told that the chest pains, excruciating as they are, won’t last for long if they do recur, so if I can endure it and I don’t want any drugs, they won’t give me any. It’s all in my notes, plus the request for no morphine at any time.
I was stunned when the anaesthesiologist explained all this to me. I finally have a reason for what happened, and it wasn’t my fault. I hadn’t beaten myself up about it, or talked about it, but it made me very sad whenever I thought about not remembering holding my little girl, and the fact that I let her go to the nursery that night instead of staying with me. I was too out of it to make a different decision. The anaesthesiologist asked me if I felt “cheated”. I guess I do if I think about it. Because I was denied that precious time that everyone talks about, the first time they held their baby in their arms. But I am comforted by the fact that I know that I was able to hold her just 15 minutes or so after she was born, even though I can’t recall it. And her father held for that whole first 15 minutes, she wasn’t alone or with a stranger. I was completely disoriented but I managed to breastfeed her straight away, and every time they brought her to me in the night. I have photos of me holding her and gazing at her with love and wonder, even thought I don’t remember those moments with any clarity. She was with me, as she has been ever since. And this time around, it’s going to be better. I know it.
Tubectomy. Not a word I was familiar with until a few days ago. Also known as tubal ligation, or female sterilisation. Scary sounding, that last one. Very, very…final. I was always under the impression that it is a major surgery and had decided that if anyone was doing anything quite so drastic, it would be my husband, not me – I figure my body has at this point done enough for this family! So, although we definitely don’t want to have any more children after our second little girl arrives in two weeks, it’s not a contraceptive option we have ever considered. I was rather taken aback, therefore, when my OB quite casually asked me during a routine 36 week pregnancy appointment if I’d like him to tie my tubes before he stitches me back up after my baby is born via caesarean section. He explained that it’s just a quick job and as he’s going to be “in there anyway”, it’s a good option for me if I am sure that I don’t want to have any more children.
In the days since my OB (who delivered Miss M via c-section two years ago and is most lovely and trusted) and I had our chat, I’ve thought about it a great deal and my husband and I have talked about it a lot. I’ve been assured that there will be no risk of added complications on top of those already present in c-section surgery and no extension to my recovery time beyond that which is considered normal for a caesar. I’m 38 now and I do not want to have a third child at 40, for financial, emotional, practical and physical reasons. My husband is in complete agreement (and also I daresay delighted that consequently he won’t have to have anyone “chop off his willy”, which is apparently the calm and measured view he has of the very thought of a modern vasectomy). So, while we still have two weeks to make our final decision, I think we are there already.
No more condoms, pills or IUDs!! Praise be!!! One day, I might even want to have sex again 😉
Today I just want to share a poem that was emailed to me this morning by a lovely relative. I think it’s great.
Children Learn What They Live
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
By Dorothy Law Nolte, PhD
Blogtoberfest 2012, 18/31
A friend shared this quote today and it really resonated with me. In the few days since we ditched the telly I am already relishing the extra one on one time I’m spending with my daughter. Living without Sesame Street, Playschool et al is actually nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. Late afternoons are a little tough but really no tougher than when we had the TV as both of us seem to be a lot more well-disposed throughout the whole day in general, so by the time it gets to late afternoon I’m not as frazzled. We are doing our usual activities and when we’re home, we’re just pottering about together – drawing, play doh, puzzles, reading, make believe…Plus I’m still getting a few chores done and I’m even getting the odd 15 minutes to sit down with a book while she plays by herself?! Still early days of course, but so far, so good. In all honesty, I’m quite shocked!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 11/31
Yesterday morning my husband and I made a rather shocking spur of the moment decision to box up the telly and put it away. I say shocking because I am still rather shocked! I’ve been suffering a constant nagging guilt about the creeping increase in the amount of TV my 25 month old daughter has been allowed on weekdays (she doesn’t watch on weekends except half an hour Sunday mornings) since I became pregnant. There were some long hours when I had morning sickness and struggled to get off the lounge in the first trimester and while it was only age appropriate ABC for Kids or DVDs, it kind of set a precedent and one I wasn’t every very comfortable with. Now almost 8 months on and I have to admit it has become a real babysitter, especially in these last weeks of pregnancy, allowing me to get some chores done, cook dinner or just have 30 minutes down time for myself. I am not beating myself up about it but I do think it has become too fast an option for me, and the guiltly feelings are getting me down. I don’t believe it’s good for her.
I recently started subscribing to a great blog which just a couple of days ago posted here about TV and the fact that this family doesn’t have one at all. Shocker! So I guess that little seed was in the back of my mind on Sunday morning. I was explaining my concerns about our daughter watching too much TV and suddenly I blurted out, “why don’t we get rid of it altogether??” We rarely watch it ourselves and often find it’s on of an evening for the sake of it, and we’re falling asleep in front of some depressing documentary or other for no particular reason. But I was kind of half joking, and therefore rather taken aback when my husband immediately said “ok, let’s do it!”. Ten minutes later and it was gone. Oh my!!! We have said we will do a one week trial and see how we go.
24 hours in and no issues but we have a Sunday / Monday weekend so I’ve yet to experience the end of a 12 hour day solo with my beloved Miss M. I am to be honest more than a little trepiditious!! I’m not focussing on the negatives of TV to get me through, though. I’m aware that there are many studies and advocates for both sides of this often contentious topic. Rather I want to take a positive approach and look at the good things it may potentially bring to our family life. I’ve done a bit of research and I’m hopeful that this decision might actually make daily life easier, not harder. I’m reading about toddlers Miss M’s age who have a much longer attention span for independent play than those who watch a lot of TV, and mums who are no longer having to deal with screaming demands for The Wiggles. No nagging guilt and worry about the potentially harmful effects of the mighty google box is an added bonus. Sounds good to me!
If you have any tips about learning to live TV free with a toddler (and pretty soon a newborn), please share!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 8/31
By 6.45 this morning I was desperate to run away. I’d had a bad nights sleep due to the weird pregnancy pains in my legs. My toddler was in a blinding rage because nobody understood the sequence her stuffed animals and pillows were supposed to be in. I tried to help, but got it wrong, which made things worse, I was pushed away, then my HEEEEEEEEELP!!! demanded, then pushed away again. “I just want to run away!!”, I declared to my husband in despair, dreading a whole day of horror ahead. “Well, you can’t, because you’re a mummy”, he said as he left to go to work. Helpful. NOT!! Two options, switch on the telly for some peace and get ready to endure the guilt on top of the despair. Or bundle us both into the car and go for a walk by the ocean. 2 hours later we are back home and my world is a much nicer place in which to exist (well apart from the tantrum about the crayons but I don’t expect miracles!).
Midwife at noon, wish there was some chocolate in the house that I could scoff before I get the diet sheet I’m going to ask for in place of repeating the glucose intolerance test 😉
I’ve ploughed ahead with the first chapters of Sarah Napthali’s Buddhism for Mothers in the last couple of days and already I notice a difference in my daily life! Best of all has been the reminder to really look at my daughter, and be in the moment with her, see things the way she sees them. Sometimes when I hear her wake from her afternoon nap I’m guilty of thinking,”oh god no, not already…”. If I lay her down with that attitude, of course we’re not going to have a positive start to the rest of the day when she wakes. I know such feelings are normal at times and I shouldn’t beat myself up about them, but at the same time, allowing them to take control of my thinking just isn’t constructive. And after all, she is wonderful, and all of life is just wonderful to her – I don’t want to miss that in her, and when I take a step back and really look at her, my mood can’t help but lift!
This morning we went for a long walk by the ocean. Everything takes more than twice as long with an almost two year old, but hey, what’s the rush! Watching her pick up leaves and stones and listening to her chattering away and giggling is such a joy. The world viewed through her eyes is very simple and if I’m mindful to take a leaf out of her book and just stay in the moment with her, all of life just seems simpler to me too.