Being a mum can be hard. Before having a baby, everyone tells you how you won't get any sleep, the baby cries all the time, you won't get out of your pyjamas until it's almost time to put them on again, the house will be a mess....it goes on. But what no one tells you, and I can understand why, is how becoming a parent can sometimes make you question the very way in which you do it.
I have not been a mum for all that long, just over fourteen months. Most things are second nature now and I am lucky to say that the most difficult thing recently has been changing my boy's nappy. At times it's like wrestling a dancing squid. He is a happy little guy and rarely gets upset. So yesterday, when he was very upset, my confidence and ability to parent was shaken.
We were visiting a friend, a friend we see on a regular basis. She has a darling boy who is about a year older than my son, so he is up on his feet, running around like little boys do. My son is not yet walking but getting close, so it's easy for him to topple over if he gets bumped. Whenever this happened, his bottom lip would droop out, little tears would spill from his eyes and he would make his way to me and cling on for dear life.
This may sound completely ridiculous, because it is, but I started thinking to myself "am I too soft on my son? Should I be doing things differently to toughen him up a bit?". I immediately started to question myself and I'm sure he picked up on my anxiety. He continued to be distressed the whole time we were there and in the end it was just easier to go back home - where he was as happy as could be.
After having a few hours to think about it, what was I thinking? My son is fourteen months old and I'm thinking about toughening him up? This is not the first time I have questioned how I am raising my boy. Now and then something will happen which makes me lose my mind for an hour or two. I over think things, I exaggerate things, I drive myself nuts - and meanwhile my son probably has no recollection of the incident that caused me to feel this way. People don't tell you about this before you become a parent, and it's probably because this kind of reaction is different for everybody. It's not like changing a nappy. It's unpredictable.
A friend of mine said the other day..."isn't it beautiful to parent instinctively?". Yes it is, when I actually follow my own instincts. I don't believe this is something that is automatic as soon as you become a parent. It took me a while to realise that and sometimes, going by yesterday, I need reminding. So, my new mantra, and this can be applied to any aspect of life really, is ...
...the moment you start comparing yourself to others, you lose sight of what it is you should be doing...
It would be an injustice to my boy to be anything else to him other than the mama I am meant to be. And I know that this will not be the last time I will have a mini freak out. It comes with the territory. This is a lesson that doesn't have a time frame. It is continuous and wonderful and scary all at the same time. There's nothing else I would rather be doing. In the words of Suzanne Finnamore (The Zygote Chronicles),
..."You are the closest I will ever come to magic"...
Thanks for visiting :)