I've been quiet lately because I got a big editing project over the holidays. It looked like it would be a reasonable sized project, but I am really bogged down and have essentially lost my holiday time with Ray and the kids over it. I'll never make the mistake of taking on a big project over Christmas again. Live and learn.
Tonight we went to Kate's house for dinner. Kate was our very first babysitter. Rather, she was Xander's first babysitter...and he loves her! Kate had the audacity to grow up, go off to university, and leave us, so we don't see her much these days. We're lucky to have Rachel now to babysit (and the boys like her very much too), but it is nice when the holidays come and we can visit with Kate. Better still, Kate's family has taken us in as an extension of the family. We feel so welcomed there.
Tonight, Ginny (Kate's mother), Ray and I sat and talked. Then Ginny and I were talking. And some of the things she said to me really hit home as a mother. They were small things, but wise. She was told about after her last child how she gained a lot of weight, but had such a hard time of it because he was super clingy and would not let her out of his site. She told us about going to an exercise class in the basement of a church, where there was child minding in the next room. The child care provider would hold up the youngest son, so he could see her exercising. Ginny almost quit the second week, because her son cried the whole hour she was there each and every time she went. And she says that he did that twice a week, for an hour, for FOUR months before he finally gave up on crying and just had a good time. (Keep in mind he was 18 months old too, so not a tiny baby.) No wonder she almost gave up. But it was the support of the daycare provider who kept at it with him and the exercise instructor, who cranked the music so she could not hear this little boy cry for her, that allowed her to continue. She lost 15 pounds, started walking more, and felt human. Shortly after that, he began to sleep through the night and she was able to start getting her life back together.
Liam is almost two now and still does not sleep regularly through the night. He kind of teases us with the possibility of sleeping through the night, but it rarely happens. (When it does, we search our brains to figure out the one or two things we did "right" and try to replicated it. I would sacrifice a chicken each evening on my front steps if it meant we would sleep the night.)
Although these funny stories make me laugh and stick in my mind, the thing that sticks more is the support and camaraderie. The feeling that other mothers have walked this path before me and lived to tell the tale. That I too will live to tell the tale. Though there are days when I wonder how I will blunder through today or the week. The support is what matters. Although today the words about how sleep will eventually come and change everything...and how it is just plain hard to lose weight when we are battling tired bodies...those were the words that touched where I am now, the general support will carry me through some of the days and weeks to come.
As women, and yes as parents in general (because men need this too, in my opinion), we need to support each other. Especially women though. We are all so hard on ourselves and I find that this being hard on ourselves bleeds into our relationships with others. I need to remember that for myself. Judge myself less harshly. And pass that along. Supporting myself is the best way to support others. And laughing a little about the craziness that is life with children.
So, I am not as thin as I once was. I ache in funny places. And I am tired. But a little boy kissed me tonight and told me that he loved me in a voice that was filled with that adoration. And another little boy wanted me more than anyone else in the room tonight. Mommy was the only one who would do. I have moments of craziness. My kids are sometimes crazy. And I judge myself and them harshly in my moments of weakness. I need to forget the craziness, or at least let it just *be*, let go of that judgment, and remember those two sweet boys.
Someday I know my boys will grow up and I will be the one with children three-quarters grown and passing along stories of those crazy moments. Perhaps I can infuse hope to the next round of mothers.
In the mean time, I will try to remember to be kinder to myself and kinder to the women who surround me. We all need it!