Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thanks for Being Awesome

Thank you thank you thank you to all the mamas and non-mamas who left advice, encouragement and support after my online pregnant lady meltdown.

Almost immediately after I hit publish I felt better. I did take a long, hot shower. I made a cup of cocoa. I read The Law and the Lady. Sam was at work that night, but he sent me a series of the sweetest text messages:

"we will be ready and we will have money... and it will be okay..."
"I love you... I will do whatever it takes to take care of my family..."
I am making sure things are ready... I have a list made..."
"but I know it is hard right now... it will get better..."

That night was rough nonetheless. Atticus woke several times screaming and whining. He didn't want to go to sleep. I could feel myself getting frustrated and angry. I started to think that I should just leave him in the bed to scream... I should tell him to cut it out... I should make him learn that he couldn't push me around." But then I kept thinking about all the wonderful words of encouragement and support I received when I was pretty much throwing a tantrum. Was it because I was manipulative, evil, and bratty. Nope. It was because I was tired, scared, worried, and overwhelmed.  What I needed was comfort. I resolved myself to comfort Atticus. We sang, we rocked, we talked about books, I rubbed his back, I gave him hugs and kisses and I went to his room every time he woke.

When we finally decided to give up on trying for sleep at 5:15am (even cuddling in my big cozy chair wasn't working) I went to the kitchen to get Atticus a cup of milk. He immediately asked for a "teefing ring." I handed him one out of the freezer and he shoved it in his mouth. That morning's tooth brushing revealed swollen back gums and a tooth pointing through. I felt so good that I hadn't given in to my urge to let Atticus "cry-it-out." He was hurting and he needed his parents. 

And that is why I consider myself an Attachment Parenting style parent. I believe that the more our complicated emotions that leave us feeling lonely, scared, hurt, or overwhelmed are met with kindness, touch, and a listening ear the better. Let me clarify this; I am an incredibly flawed AP parent. In fact, I'm embarrassed by how impatient and mouthy I am with Hope. Attachment Parenting a middleschooler is really difficult for me and I actually feel quite guilty that Hope doesn't get gentle mama as much as she does exasperated mama. 

Not only did you all help me calm myself, but you assisted in keeping me sane enough to be the parent I strive to be. 

I also picked up some delicious soup recipes and a great idea to "reward" myself at each pregnancy week milestone. All the stories folks shared helped as well. Each mom (and those of you with other big life changes/responsibilities) emphasized that everyone goes through periods like this and IT WILL GET BETTER. 

Other things that have greatly calmed me:  there is a new plan for my maternity leave replacement (as of last week they hadn't even advertised), I have my knitting group tonight, plans to hang out with a friend this weekend, a weekend movie with my mom, and on Monday a date with Sam. In addition Atticus and Persy's room is nearly finished, my bags are almost packed, and so many sweet little baby jammies have been laundered and folded. Add to that the steady rain -- which I love -- and celebrating my anniversary with Sam and two loveable kids and things are feeling downright happy.

It is amazing to me how a tough 72 hours can make everything seem awful and then "voila" life is back to being good.

Thanks to all of you for the help and encouragement and virtual hugs. 


Eva said...

Yay! This post made me v happy! I read it as I was eating a pot of the lentil soup I linked to. ;)

The part about Atticus brought tears to my eyes. & midde school is just such a difficult age! Have you read The Curse of the Good Girl? Interesting stuff about girls once they hit that age, although it's more about self esteem/perfectionism/success in real world v school.

Suki said...

You are an awesome mum - I love how your thought processes go and your dedication to (imperfect - because we all are) attachment parenting. In one book on AP (Sears I think) there is a big section on 'balance' - I always try to remember that whenever I'm feeling frazzled, overwhelmed or resentful. Sometimes the thought of the incredible investment of energy in AP makes me sh*t scared about having another child... but then I remember my beautiful, sensitive, intelligent, wonderful attached little boy and how much he has benefited from our staying so attached in spite of being working parents... and I know it will be all so worthwhile.

Thanks so much for these posts, they are very invigorating and honest.