Thursday, January 12, 2012

Some Thoughts On Mothering



When you fall in love for the first time, or have your heart broken for the first time, all those novels and songs about love suddenly speak to you and you can relate to them on a very real level. It's the same when you have a baby. You come to understand why people risk their lives for their children. Why they work hard to provide for them. How they can accept hours of crying, loads of dirty diapers, and sleepless nights without getting bitter. I heard about these things before, but now I am living them. 

It's funny, when I'm changing an exploding diaper that is filling the room with an unbelievably foul smell and I realize, I don't even mind. I'm too busy laughing with Raffi, congratulating him on a full diaper, feeling glad that his diaper rash has cleared up. It's like that with all of the uncomfortable things that come along with having a baby. I just don't mind that much. Rafael's wide excited smile...his face when he is deep asleep...his relieved sighs when he's been crying and is finally at my breast...his incredibly soft doughy thighs that I pinch delicately...it all makes up for it in so many ways.

BUT:

It's almost 1 AM as I'm writing this, and I can tell you why. Even though I love being a mother so much, and I love Rafael so much, I have discovered that I need time every day to be alone with myself. Ramon and I retire to the couch after Raffi has gone to sleep, and after we've been entertained for a while with a movie or television, and have talked and laughed a bit, he goes to sleep, too. That's when the ME TIME begins. I stay on the couch with my laptop and browse pinterest, answer emails, work in photoshop, visit blogs, and write in my own. 

Am I missing out on precious sleep in doing so? Yes. But this time for myself to zone out and not take care of anything or anyone else is precious, too. 

My father came to visit the other day. He said, "You know, I need time to myself in the evening. When everyone else has gone to sleep, I stay up and just relax." I laughed: "Now I know who I have it from."

*******

There is constantly something to learn and adapt to as a parent, because your child is constantly growing and changing. The minute I think there is a dependable rhythm, things change. The real challenge is to recognize when things have changed, and not try to stick to something that isn't working anymore.

*******

Have you ever noticed that 'Bah Bah Black Sheep,' 'The Alphabet Song,' and 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' all have the same melody? Just something odd I noticed while humming Rafael to sleep.

*******

My mother-in-law said she was showing some friends pictures of Rafael. After a while one of them asked, "Where is the mother?" 

That's the problem when you are the one taking photos. There are none of you!

I would have loved to have this post be topped with a nice photo of Rafael and me. But it just didn't happen.

ETA: I took these with my phone this morning! My favorite thing lately is when Raffi touches my face when I lean over him or lay next to him. The other day I fell asleep while I was nursing him, and the gentle stroke of his fingers on my cheek woke me up. Heavenly.

P.S. Yes, that is my husband's messy dresser in the background. Which brings me to:

*******

When reading blogs that other mothers have, I have to be very careful about not comparing myself. 'Myself' meaning my post-pregnancy body compared to theirs, my blog posting frequency compared to theirs, the tidy-ness of my home compared to theirs. I realized that this morning, while taking photos of Rafael playing on the living room floor. I had just vacuumed, the sun was shining, he was cheerful, and the photos turned out beautifully. It hit me suddenly that, if I were to post these, you would never guess that the floor was filthy ten minutes before...that it was overcast the rest of the day...that he started crying a few minutes afterwards...and that I have been sick with the stomach flu for the past four days. 

Isn't that good to know? 

None of us bloggers, mommies or otherwise, are quite as interesting, tidy, or perfect as our blogs might have you think.

Well....at least I'm not. 

xoxoxo

12 comments:

  1. "None of us bloggers, mommies or otherwise, are quite as interesting, tidy, or perfect as our blogs might have you think."

    This is so very, very true! I also am completely with you on the personal time. To be a good mom, one with patience and one who can devote herself to her children, I must have some time to myself each day. It gives me time to just be. There no one to worry about, to feed, to change, to hold, to take care of. I can simply relax and read or write on my blog and even better, do a bit of art. Always enjoy what you have to write!

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  2. Hi Dawn, I can so relate to your post, even though my babies are now 10 and 7 years old. Every mom, especially new ones, so need some alone time, for your own sake. It is time to recharge your mind. I'm glad that you are able to get that time, even though you get it at a very late hour. I also agree with how deceiving blogs sometimes can be, I always wonder when I see a "perfect blog" out there, but I honestly don't get that with you. Rafael is getting so big, and he has so much hair now, he looks deliciously adorable.

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  3. Oh Dawn, I love this little post. It's so true...the picture that is painted on many blogs is not exactly "true to life" shall we say. Where are the piles of dirty laundry and all the dirty dishes?
    One thing you do need to try to do though is get some pictures of you and Raffi (And Ramon too!) ... you'll be happy you did. I've had my blog since 2009 and I love looking back on the posts I did when Noah was a baby. I can barely remember that time, let alone all the details I blogged...I'm glad I have those posts and the few pictures I took of myself with him.
    And I totally agree with you on the alone time. As I read this post I was actually trying to sneak a few minutes away from all the chaos of the day. I only got about half an hour before Katia started to cry and Noah started to get hungry and tired. Oy what a day!

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  4. Hey Dawn,

    Great post:). It's so funny; I was just thinking the same thing today. I feel like I need time for myself, but something's gotta give. I don't want to give up time with my baby, time with my husband... could give up a little on work, but I need time for myself, to peruse design and mama blogs, to blog myself and to just rest. There are just not enough hours in the day (unless you stay up until 1am). I totally get it....

    I laughed at your comment about you not being in photos because you're taking them all. That is so true:). It's so hard to get good mama/ baby photos because the opportunities just aren't there when you're behind the camera. Also, one of the reasons I've been so bad about keeping my blog up this past year and a half (!!) is because I can't seem to keep on top of my house, and we're here all the time, so that's where my photos are;). I love the candidness of this post though. And your blog is one of the first places that I go when I have 'spare' time;). It's a beautiful place:).

    xox, B

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  5. Dear Dawn,
    I just wrote you but thought I'd pop in to say that I keep the same 'me time' schedule...it's almost 10:30 at night here. Lovely post as always. xoxoTrina

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  6. Oh! Beautiful! Beautiful and wise, my dear. :) Gorgeous sweet photos. I'm glad you're carving out that important time for yourself. That's wonderful. And I'd never noticed that about the songs' melodies. :) I hope you're feeling better/over the flu now and that you guys have a great day.

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  7. I'm glad you grabbed a few photos of you and Raffi. They are gorgeous. Also, I hope you are feeling better. Having the flu when you have to take care of a little one is simply NOT FUN! xox

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  8. ps you should see my dresser! that's nothing! okay, I'll stop commenting now. :O)

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  9. Loved this post. I'm afraid my house is constantly strewn with little toys & blocks & socks that seem to have misplaced their mate for life. Glad I'm not the only mother who isn't the consumate housewife with a perfectly tidy home.

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  10. You know Dawn, one of the things that I really like about you is your complete and utter honesty. Honesty in your feelings, in your home, your darling little Raffi, your life, your past and your experiences. Never stop please. You are beautiful!

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  11. Lovely photos and lovely thoughts - you paint a very clear picture and it is great to hear all about your joys and what you are learning! So sincere...xxx

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  12. o boy i second that...all of it
    i have a 6 1/2 and a 3 year old and they have 2 mommies....one is well rested and one is NOT. the quality of my parenting is directly related to where i am at in my own life, how much time i had to myself, how much my husband works and so on.
    I think taking "me-time" is just as important as changing that dirty diaper. Really, you owe your child that time away from it....don't you?
    I feel that up to a certain age you need to fight for it and then comes a time when you get more of it than you want....it's a dance!
    .....as for the melody, let me throw "morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann" into the mix?
    Babette

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