I do have the insticts! I really do!

I’ve spent a significant amount of time in my life doubting myself. I have analyzed my choices and actions over and over again wondering if I have made the right decision, if I should have done things differently.

My mothering has not been safe from these anxious worries. Should I feed them differently, am I hovering, is there a better way to discipline? I question myself. This is the first time I’ve done this. Babies don’t come with a manual that explains their inner workings.

This past weekend I learned a lesson. I learned that a mother’s instincts can actually mean more than anything else. Mr. T. was off all day, in fact, for a couple of days he had been off. Everyone had theories, thoughts, opinions on what could be causing the different symptoms he was experiencing. My instincts told me something was wrong. This wasn’t just a common cold, his tummy aches were not something to be ignored and when he seemed to have pain walking my gut told me he wasn’t making it up.

After a long day of ignoring my gut feelings and thinking I couldn’t possibly know the right thing to do, I went to change Mr. T. into his jammies and noticed an odd rash on his legs. That’s when I decided to stop ignoring my gut and take him to an ER. I even listened to that voice inside my head that was telling me which hospital to take him to. Turns out my inner voice was right! On all counts. The pediatrician diagnosed him with an actual condition, yet another condition that requires an acronym. As a simple basic explanation he had a reaction to a virus.

The whole ordeal turned out to be a lesson for me. A lesson that I actually know what I”m doing. Well not so much that I always know exactly what I’m doing but that I have instincts. I guess these are what they call motherly instincts.

My own anxieties have a tendency to tell me that I’m not good enough and they have transcended into questioning my ability to mother my kids. The constant doubt is draining and exhausting.

With only 4 1/2 years of experience I know that I don’t have the answers. I have alot to learn about being a parent. What I’ve learned is that I know my children. I know them better than anybody. When my child has a tummy ache my gut tells me when it’s real and when it’s not. I know my child is not a complainer so if he says he’s hurting he really is hurting. I know my child is tough, the things that he’s gone through in his short 4 1/2 years have made him strong. I know when he’s unwell and most of the time I know how to help him get better.

I guess I had a lightbulb moment. That was to listen to my inner voice. Feel what my gut is telling me. Don’t let anyone make me doubt myself. To trust that I know my children. I grew them inside me. They rested right underneath my heart. I know them. I will question myself again. It’s a part of being a parent. To be so afraid of making mistakes with your kids yet knowing deep down that you will make them. But I have to trust that I know my babies. That when something is wrong those instincts will kick in and if I listen to myself I will know what to do.

I guess my life lesson is that although I may not have the answers and I never will, I do have something much more important; my maternal instincts. With all the doubts and fears that life is going to throw at me, I have a feeling it’s those instincts that are going to help me get through alot situations in my journey through motherhood.

 

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Fatherhood and the new normal?

Our family recently spent a week battling the flu. All four of us came down with the virus at varying degrees. Ms. J probably had the worst of it so we decided a visit to the doctor was required. During our visit Ms. J was sitting on the exam table, a little nervous, and called out for her Daddy. The doctor looked at us both, her eyes reflecting the surprise she felt in hearing Ms. J ask for Daddy rather than Mummy, and with a confused tone exclaimed “oh we have a Daddy’s girl”. Explaining that she sees more Mummies girls than Daddies girls, she went on to examine our little princess while Ms.J sat quite content in her Daddy’s arms.

There are so many indications that hands on fatherhood isn’t a given in our society. Recently Mr. C. and I were watching a stand up comedy routine where the comedian stated he “hated babysitting his kids” Ummmm..if they are YOUR kids it’s not called babysitting, it’s called parenting!

I’ve also heard from other Mummies stories of having to take on the brunt of the parenting duties as their husbands seem to think it’s not their responsibility.

This is not even taking into account all of the absent father’s roaming around out there.

Let me first make it clear that I had a very hands on Dad, who was there every step of the way. To this day there are times when I turn to my Mum for advice/comfort and there are times when I turn to my Dad.

I, in turn, have chosen a husband who is a very hands on Dad. In the 4 1/2 years since we’ve been parents I don’t think I’ve seen him turn down a parenting duty. Sure there are times when he’s tired, times when he’s frustrated, times when out of sheer desperation he begs “you’ve got bedtime tonight because I’m done”. He’s no different from me, as the mother. I have just as many of these moments. Mr. C. has changed his fair share of dirty diapers, cleaned bottles, comforted a sick crying baby and has even been barfed/peed/pooped on. The only thing he never took part in was breastfeeding 😉

There have been times when others assume he isn’t as capable just because he’s the Dad. I’ve often seen people, specifically women, assume he’s unsure and unqualified to take care of his own children! In the beginning I think he wasn’t as confident in his abilities as he should have been but as the years have passed he’s become as self assured as any mother. Meaning, of course he questions himself at times. Every parent does. I think that at this point he is aware that he’s doing a pretty good job.

Both Mr. T. and Ms. J alternate who they turn to for comfort. There are times when they call out for me
and times they search for Daddy.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So why is equal parenting not the norm? This is the year 2013! I think maybe I would feel differently and not have the same expectations of Mr. C if I didn’t work full time and was instead a full time Mum. Fact of the matter is I do work full time and so does Mr. C. This means that we are a team. We share all responsibilities equally, that includes parenting.

More importantly, I don’t think Mr. C. would have it any other way. He loves being a part of the every day life of his kids. He takes on the parenting challenges with finesse. He’s also smart enough to know that by accepting the challenges he gets to reap the beautiful rewards. The dirty work is overshadowed by the cuddles, giggles, kisses and hugs. Without the hard stuff he wouldn’t get quite as much of the good stuff.

I am so thankful that I found someone, who like my own Dad, would choose a night at home with his family over a night out drinking it up with the boys. Maybe I’m crazy in thinking that it’s normal for a father to participate in the same way as a mother. Call it crazy but this is our normal and we wouldn’t have it any other way. And I love Mr. C even more because of it.

My take on a new trend

Finally!! I recently read an article about the new “push present” trend that really sparked me.

I can’t remember the first time I heard the term push present but I do remember thinking it had to be a joke. Where am I?? In Kim Kardashian land??? There can’t really be women, I mean real women, out there who demand a present to push out a baby. Can there? The bigger question to me is, am I the only one who feels like this is a little much? The article showed me that I’m not the only one who feels that this is a trend that needs to go away.

You can find the article here:  http://www.blogher.com/enough-push-presents

Now let me make myself clear. For a husband, a mother, or a sibing or another close relative to give a present to the mother to be, to comemorate the occasion is not an issue in itself. We, as a society celebrate occassions. For example, we celebrate our highschool graduation, university graduation, our engagements, our wedding day with gifts, why can’t we celebrate the birth of a child by giving a present? THere is nothing wrong with giving a gift to celebrate the occassion. It’s actually a nice thought to give something that can be kept as a memory, as a reminder of such a beautiful moment. My mother gave me a beautiful bracelet when my son was born. She gave it as a keepsake, as a thank you for sharing the delivery with her. I have it as a memory. A memory of the birth of my first child. A reminder of a wonderful moment that I shared with two of the most important people in my life (before my children), my husband and my mother. I don’t see a present as a problem.

The first problem I have with the whole idea of a push present is with a woman demanding a present to “push” out her baby. Honestly?? The article, is 100% right in that it totally perpetuates the sterotype of women being materialistic. You need a purse or a diamond because you did such a good job and deserve something nice for it? Women have been giving birth since the beginning of time and all of a sudden we need a prezzie as a pat on the back, something to say good for you? This to me just falls into our sense of entitlement. What happened to bathing in love for your new beautiful little bundle? Now that love must be bathed in the bling of a brand new diamond ring?

The second issue I have with it is the term “push present” The term itself does insinuate that the present is for the act of pushing out the baby. It does not imply that it’s something as a memory of the occassion. I mean how can a Coach purse be a way to remember such a wonderful occassion? If you get your partner a present why does it have to be called a push present?

The whole idea of it to me is just a sign of where our society is right now. The selfishness, the materialism, the excess. I agree with Kristine when she says enough already!

I am the mother of two. My two babies were the best presents I could ever ask for.  I’m glad I finally read something that is pointing out how silly this new trend really is. Note to Mr. C, if we do decide to go for # 3…no push present required 🙂

Adventures with Mr. T.

He’s starting to ask questions. Our adventures to Sick Kids aren’t just him trailing along for the ride, waiting for the treats and surprises, dealing with the unpleasantness in stride. He’s remembering. He remembers last time he was here he had to have needles, blood drawn, tests that hurt him. This time, the entire drive, he asks “no needles this time right Mummy?” “No needles this time Mr. T.” I assure him.

He makes me proud. He smiles at the child in the wheelchair, he says hello to the bald child pushing the IV around, he doesn’t even flinch at the severely disfigured child in the elevator as they both peer out the window marvelling at how high they are going. He makes me proud.

We sit in the exam room waiting for the Doctor with the results of his xrays. The xrays we just had done down the hall. We play I spy. We tell stories, each of us taking turns telling one line of the story at a time. An hour goes by. I let him play with my phone and he teaches me the game on his leap pad.  Another hour goes by. He’s tired and bored. He lays on my lap and asks me to tickle his back. I don’t know when it happened but at some point his body has turned into the body of a little boy. No longer the chubby little baby or even toddler that fit quite snugly into my lap, his gangly legs now hang over the side while he tries to figure out what to do with his torso, eventually settling with arms around my neck as I rub his back. I’m in heaven as these moments don’t happen as often as they did when he was that chubby little baby. As the third hour approaches the first doctor comes in. She asks us questions, tells us things look good, assure us she’ll be back with the other doctor. The next doctor comes in, examines Mr. T. Again, I’m proud. He does as he’s asked. With no sign of fear. The doctor speaks to the intern. Showing her; “see minimal change, which is good” he says. I smile and breathe a little sigh of relief. He looks at me and says the same but then adds “there is quite a good chance he will need surgery again in the future” My ears ring, as though I’ve been slapped in the side of the head. My head spins as I watch his mouth moving but barely hear the words coming out of his mouth. I hear “we can’t know yet” “‘everything as is for now” but I’m stuck on “surgery in the future”.

We get up and I thank the wonderful doctors.  With an awkward smile on my face we shake hands. Mr. T gives them a high five.

As is our routine, we go for lunch, Mr. T. opting for a cheese bagel and cream cheese and a fruit smoothie. We chat. He asks questions. “What room was I in Mummy?” “That room right up there” I say pointing at that 3rd floor window that was my home for countless hours. “And I was very brave when I was a baby in that room wasn’t I Mummy?” “You were one of the bravest boys I ever knew” I respond watching the smile spread across his face.

As we eat I remember those hours spent in that room. I remember each night I had to leave him there and how horrible I felt doing it. I watch his little face oblivious to my memories or my fears for his future. I realize something sitting at that table. That every moment of those first 6 weeks of his life has shaped every decision I have made since where he’s concerned. Mr. T. is four and a half years old and has never slept anywhere without us. Not that there hasn’t been offers, the grandparents would love to have him. Mr. T. and Ms. J. just haven’t seemed to want to. What I realized sitting there in that hospital looking up at that room, is that I’m ok with that. After the pain that I felt leaving Mr. T. in that hospital every evening, my heart tells me his place at night is with us. Sometimes I would like to sleep in past 7:30am but it’s a sacrifice I agreed to make when I had children. If the time comes and either of them want to have a sleepover I will have a decision to make. Until then I will snuggle them goodnight every night that I have with them. For all those weeks I had no choice but to leave him all alone, and go home feeling an emptiness inside. If I don’t have to do that now why push it?

For now I hang on to each second of this beautiful ride. It’s flying by. Gone is my baby. He’s been replaced by this incredibly strong, intelligent, beautiful little boy and is morphing, as we speak, into a young man. What the future holds I don’t know. My heart wonders how I will get through another surgery but if that’s the path we are meant to take we will get through it together. He is strong and he makes me stronger.

Until we get there we will continue our adventures and I will answer his questions. “Which Doctor saved me Mummy?” “Dr. C. and she was amazing” I say. As his questions grow more complex so will my memories. They will intertwine with each other retelling him his own tale. Together we will put together the pieces of his puzzle.