While my kids are at my mother-in-law’s, I have some much needed “me time”. The breakfast oatmeal muffins are in the oven. Now I finally have some time to let my fingers race across the keyboard of our computer and clear my head. This one is for my beautiful, two year old son. I love you buddy!©www.nonsfotografie.nl
As I am sitting here, only one word comes to mind: exhaustion. This basically sums up the way I have been feeling the last couple of weeks. I tried to convince myself that my body would be ready for another pregnancy, but it’s been tough so far. I am happy to feel my energy slowly returning. But having two small kids running around, needing my constant care, makes it very hard to stay positive. Each day I feel like I am failing as a mom, when I once again get impatient with my two year old son because he won’t let me sleep in the afternoon or because I feel like my attention gets demanded to fast.
I often read comments of newly parents who “complain” about the changes a baby brings to their home. They talk about the sleepless nights and that it is a lot harder than they thought it would be and less fun. Honestly, when I read that, it’s hard for me to relate. For me, the first months were easy. When I was pregnant, I was very aware of the changes a baby brings. A baby cries. It will give you many sleepless nights. It will always change your schedule, even when you think you have finally figured it out. And becoming a parent will be a major adjustment and make your relationship a bit harder to fight for. So knowing all that, I was prepared and the sleepless nights and no rhythm didn’t affect me too much. I was able to just give in to it. Which, I must say, is a miracle if you know me well because I am the worst at not having any control.
But now my son is two and a half years old and I am one tired mama. And that, friends, is a hard and challenging combination. He tests me continually. The worst part is that he knows I am currently not strong in keeping the set boundaries. He feels my tiredness and tension. His reaction? He starts doing literally everything he knows is not allowed to get my attention. He climbs on the kitchen counters, grabs cookies at 6 a.m. in the morning, he wakes up his younger sister, he won’t eat his bread, he throws with his toys and happily says that he does not feel like listening. My reaction? I get mad. Or I try to look the other way and pretend I see nothing. Sometimes I cry. And often I yell…and then cry.
Last night, going to bed on time, I had another break down. My husband, luckily a very very patient guy, told me to try to once again let go. I told him that I know my son is only longing for my attention, for his mom to be “his mom” again, but that I am shutting down because I am just so exhausted. So my wise husband told me to do something simple. Each time I want to get mad, he told me to just give our son kisses instead. And most importantly, play with him throughout the day. If my son calls me to watch what he is doing, go watch and then join him (not my strongest mothering skill). And lastly he said that when I wake up, even if it is at 6 a.m., to not dread the day but just let it happen.
This morning my son woke me up at 6 a.m. Way too early if you ask me. But…I took a deep breath and just let him be. I looked at my phone and my husband had sent me a text that said, “Love is patient. Love is kind.” Right away I thought, “love is not easily angered”. That has been my motto for the day. Thinking about that made me realize that through this exhaustion, I am missing out on so many beautiful moments. The mothers out there reading this know how precious these moments are. I came to the shocking conclusion that we only have our kids at home full-time for four years. Then, they are off to school. I want to enjoy every moment of those four years, even if I feel exhausted. Even if I feel hindered by a pregnancy. These moments are too precious and I will never get them back. These are the moments that are mine. Mine to fully invest in my children. Mine to teach them, influence them and most importantly, LOVE them to the fullest. I never want my son nor daughter (nor baby to come) to feel like they have missed out on me.
Are you feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, like me? Whether it is because of the challenges of being a new parent or because you have a hard time balancing motherhood and you time, remember you are not alone. And try these few tips. I will be using them right along with you.
- When you wake-up, take a deep breath and thank God for the new day and the new opportunities with your baby.
- Take a moment and stop whatever you are doing. Just look at your child, look in their eyes and let yourself love them.
- Think back on the moment your baby was born. The joy it brought and remind yourself of how fast they grow up.
- Invest in your child. Hold your newborn baby often. Play a game with your toddler or read a book with them. Do this every day.
- This one is not my favorite or strongest skill as a mother, but if you have a two year old, let them be a part of YOUR activities. They love being able to help mommy.
- Compliment them often, even on the little things.
- Never forget to say I love you throughout the day.
- Remember, love is patient, it is kind. It is not easily angered.
These are the tips that I am challenging myself with. I must say, it has helped me through this morning. If you have any other tips, I would love to hear them. I can learn a lot from you as well!