Friday, May 10, 2013

Babywearing and Why I Don't Like Mother's Day

I thought my days of wearing Natasha were over. In fact, I had put away the slings because she was getting so heavy and I truly thought the mei tai was the only way I'd still wear her, if at all. But I proved myself wrong! This past week we went to Holland's Tulip Festival, and I brought the ring sling out. I knew we'd be walking a lot, I couldn't bring the little red wagon, and the mei tai would have been too awkward since she wants down so often to walk.

So I went to the crawl space and pulled out my beloved ring sling.
It was a very good idea.

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I was nostalgic all day, and practically teary eyed realizing that I could still carry an almost 40 lb. 3 year old. It made it seem like I still had a baby and it was pure bliss. Well, to be honest...towards the end of the day bliss was not the appropriate word. My shoulder was saying, "40 pounds? On one shoulder? You didn't tell me we were doing this today!"

But I really did have fun having Natasha so close to me again like this. The sling was perfect for our day because it was easy in and easy out whenever she wanted up or down. The mei tai would have been awkward to carry when she wasn't in it, (lots of straps to contain) and lets face it: a ring sling is just so pretty.

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Sooo....Mother's Day is coming up.
Has anyone noticed that we're all supposed to be sending flowers to our moms?
I have all these thoughts running through my head, and I'm not sure how to compile it all... It seems like now is the time to write something thought-provoking and sentimental about my Mom, Grandmas and share my own mommying journey. But it's not all that pretty.

See the thing is, the longer I'm a mom, I realize that I keep making mistakes and I'm not as perfect, kind patient, and no where near as selfless as I thought!
I don't want to sugarcoat mothering. 
It's probably the hardest thing I've ever done.
I have never doubted myself so much about anything in my whole entire life.

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          Before you have a child, you see it all through rose tinted glasses. Even though you've heard about things like the "terrible twos" you will never fully grasp it till you're the mom and it's your child. You may look at pictures like the ones in this post and get all emotional thinking, "It's all just so sweet! What fun I'll have!"

         What you don't see is the 18 months of not sleeping through the night (yep, it was 18 months for us), the feelings like you may never have an uninterrupted supper conversation with your husband ever again, the worries about whether you are doing it "right", and the guilt about not playing with your little one because supper really must be cooked right now.
        {I don't care how many times I've heard, "Dishes will always be there, children won't." I understand the meaning, but realistically, when exactly do those people wash their dishes? Maybe they eat off of paper plates and order in. I don't know.}

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          Maybe the reason we as moms post pictures of all the cutesy, fun and lovable moments, is to remind us why we do it. To make us feel like we're doing something right, and to see that smile on our wee one's face. So someday we can look back and think, "Oh yeah. I guess we did have some fun!" Because to be honest, most of the time we feel like we're failing. We just ruined that last teaching opportunity and we certainly didn't handle that last cup of spilled milk very nicely.

           For sure, there are days when everything is going great and mothering does look like this series of pictures! You made it to story time on time, everyone got their teeth brushed, meat is thawing for supper, you even got a workout in before leaving, and the afternoon is spent reading new library books to a growing bookworm. You feel on top of the world and all is well! 

           But this is why Mother's Day tends to make me mad. Knowing that we can't all look like this...every day. I get perturbed when I see quotes talking about "loving every minute of mothering". I'd be lying if I said I love every minute of it. There are a lot of unlovable moments!

           Of course it makes us realize how much we have to be grateful for in our Moms. They have gone through the struggles of mothering not only infants, but now adult children. My Great Grandma basically raised her family single-handedly during the Depression, when her husband was ill, on a farm with 5 children. You can't tell me it was all glorious for her.
        {And I bet she didn't have much time to sit on the floor and play tea party at every beckoning call of her only daughter.}

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           Mother's Day then...it's really a nice thought, and I am extremely grateful for my Mom. But why do I need a special day to make me feel even more guilty about something, like whether or not I sent a mothers day card to all the mothers in my life?
           What about the woman out there who aches to be a mom, but has had numerous miscarriages and this coming Sunday is just one more reminder that she can't stand during the church service to be recognized?
           And since my daughter has no comprehension of the upcoming celebration, do I need to go through the day feeling sorry for myself because her Daddy may not buy me a special gift on behalf of our 3 year old? I hope not! See the dilemma it can cause?!

           So instead of ditching it all together, because it is nice to recognize the woman who brought me into the world, I think I need to remember that mothering is a journey, just like everything else. I am not perfect, but with God's grace and power, I can get through the mess and the glory. 


"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." 
2 Corinthians 3:5


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Photo credits go to Melody! Thank you SO much!

p.S. In the midst of writing this, I came across this article, and thought it was pretty close to what I was trying to say, but I'm not sure I did it so eloquently!

4 comments:

  1. Hear Hear! Well said... nothing like a toddler to take the shine right off of the shiny mothering; and nothing like a toddler to give you that special joy too. It's nice to read this when someone is actually brave enough to say it!

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  2. I'm thinking if only we lived closer we could hangout more;) mothers day for me is simply an excuse not to cook,(i embrace any chance to use this). beings we run all day visiting my grandma and our mothers!

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  3. It is comforting for me to read this glimpse inside the "real" Janel, as I often put you on a bit of a pedestal in regards to your Mommy skills. :) I only have 6 months of experience under my belt, but I've learned quickly that motherhood is not all kodak moments. Right now, I'm dealing with a 6 month growth spurt, coupled with a head cold and teething, a babe who would rather sleep on her Mamma than anywhere else, but fights sleep with blood curdling screams. I'm exhausted, my house is a wreck, and I'm feeling guilty that our budget is super tight because I chose raising my daughter over office work. It's not easy, but when I awake each morning to a bright, happy face and a tiny hand pressed to my cheek, I know it's worth all the frustration, as well as the 12 sad years of disappointment before she came.

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  4. I appreciate your thoughts. I tend to agree with you, holidays can be nice, but at the same time they can sure put a lot of pressure on a person in various ways. (P.S. I love that ring sling!)

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