Thursday, June 10, 2010

Not all women are natural mothers

The beginning
I was so sick.  I had been vomiting every day, several times a day for about a week.  If I wasn't running to the bathroom I was laying on the couch unable to function as a result of this strange "June Flu."  This flu of mine was so severe that I had even called off work a few times in the last two weeks AND this flu was so body altering that I wasn't even getting my period.
And then it the shower that morning, the water hit my boobs!  Ouuuuuch!!!!  What kid of crazy flu makes your boobs hurt so bad that the shower water can't even touch them?
I think this would be a good time to pause, and explain to you that I was a 31 year old woman who had been married for 5 years.  You would think I would have recognized the symptoms of pregnancy sooner, but hey...a good dose of denial plays great tricks on our psyche uh?
It was at this time that I began to panic.  Pregnant?  How could that be?  We hadn't decided on having children, and certainly didn't plan for this...right now...!  I took my achy, big boobed...puking self to the drug store and bought not one, but three pregnancy tests.
As I was trying to pee on the stick, my hand was shaking so badly it is a good thing I bought three because I missed the target twice! 
Yup, positive.  Little did I know in this moment of shock what I was in for, or how my life would be changed forever…or how it would take me years to see some resemblance of mojo!
Forever changed
Becoming a mother is a monumental event that forever changes you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.   Some of us feel this shift from the moment of conception.  For others, the impact comes later…but we all feel it.  Many moms, although a tough job, are changed only for the better.  They embrace motherhood with every ounce of their being.  They always wanted children.  They are natural caregivers and take great pride and joy in being a mom.   For these women, motherhood is a gift, something that comes effortlessly and flows from the heart.  These women, however, should not be our only measure of a mom.  There are all kinds of moms… good moms, great moms…who are not naturals.  They have worked hard at it, because they have made it a priority to be a good mother and to enjoy it.  Like anything in life, we all have our areas of strengths and areas for improvement.  Yes, perhaps you could use a little tune up in the area of patience.  Maybe you are aware that you need to speak more kindly to your children.  Whatever is eating at you…perfectionism, stress, lack of energy, not enjoying your children...let it go mamas!  For many of us, just a little self -love would go a long way.  Accept yourself for the mother you are right now, today. Figure out how you can improve and commit to it.
If you are feeling frustrated, depleted or guilt ridden about motherhood, stop beating yourself up and do something about it!  You can become better at mothering and gain more enjoyment, if you set an intention to do so.
Here is how to set a parenting intention:
  1. Give yourself permission to feel any negative feelings about yourself, your children and your situation.  Acknowledge these feelings and move on.
  2. Accept yourself for whereever you are today.  Acknowledge and accept the past and think about areas for improvement.
  3. Set an intention.  Say it, write it and reflect on it.
  4. Commit to your intention and create a plan.
  5. Practice your intention regularly.
  6. If you have a bad mommy moment, or a poor week overall…don’t give up.  View this as a failed “experiment,” not a failure of you, as a mother.
  7. Keep committing and practicing until you experience success!
  8. Acknowledge your win and create another intention.
Here is my parenting intention:
  1. I didn’t always enjoy my children when they were younger.  I am not a “baby person”.  I did what I knew how to do at the time.  I was the best mom I could be.
  2. Today, I still feel guilt for being emotional absent at times when they were babies.  I look at pictures and I barely remember. I accept these feelings and forgive myself.
  3. I want to fully enjoy my children in the now.  My intention is to be in the moment with my children, play with such hyper focus that I lose track of time.
  4. I will stop multi-tasking and set time aside everyday to only play and engage without doing anything else.
  5. I work on this intention daily. 
  6. If I have an “off day”, I do not give up and do not feel like a failure.
  7. I reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and commit for the next day.
  8. I am still working on this one!  I already know my next one will be keeping my cool during the morning routine.
Are you a natural mother or someone who needs to work on it?
How has motherhood changed you forever?
What are you still struggling with?
Are you willing to set a parenting intention?

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