I’m trying, I’m trying and trying to be mindful, I really do – every second I’m with Sarah (now 2.5 years old). Most of the time it works, we can do great things together or just do nothing together and we’re happy – but sometimes nothing helps, I just can’t get it right…
It was one of those days when I couldn’t get it right: My Sarah was sick, needless to say that during those hard times, super “mindful powers” are needed, extra connection is a must to remain available and tuned to her needs. Where were those super mindful powers when I really needed them the most? Here’s what happened: When Sarah is sick, mama’s on duty: I leave everything (work in the middle of the day, most of the time) and pick her up from day care. I was at home with her for 3 days (then came the week-end). She had trouble breathing, she had fever, had lost her appetite and was on medication… poor baby, that must have been horrible!
Clingyness is of course understandable, but staying home with a sick baby has never been my cup of tea… I thought I was a “bad mama” for a long time for not being able to cope with the situation – when sanity and a good spirit are a necessity – and especially for not being able to be – fully – available for her during those days.
On Thursday (the 3rd day), she felt much better: fever was almost gone, still no appetite for anything beside ice cream/popsicle (I promised she would get one when she feels better) so she would take a chair, move it next to the fridge, climb and open the freezer, then take the popsicles, pick one, taste it and put the popsicles back. In the morning we went out a bit for a walk and came back home.
She fell asleep for a nap earlier than usual, but had trouble breathing again so she woke up after 15 minutes… She had no nap! NO NAP!!…
From that point I completely lost it, it was horrible, I had no patience, and of course, I reacted immediately when she pushed my buttons, it’s amazing how many buttons there are to push in those situations… I lost the ability of “feeling acknowledgment”, even after a 7-8 months practice (although I became quite good at it thanks to Janet Lansbury’s blog and Peaceful Parents confident Kids) – I wasn’t able to do anything, I yelled, yelled and yelled… I felt so bad about yelling that I apologized, but my attitude didn’t change – I still had no patience, I was tired and I was not able to be the strong mama that she needed at that time, I was not able to put her needs 1st.
She cried, what could she do! that was the kind of helpless tears, that kind you don’t want to hear: I felt her need to be heard, carried and hugged, but she didn’t want me to be near her. I felt I hurt her feelings so much that I would have preferred being yelled at back. “It’s OK to cry, I’m here if you need me, let’s hug until we feel better”, I usually I tell her, I validate and acknowledge feelings, but that day I couldn’t, I wasn’t able to, especially when I was the one responsible for that horrible situation! I was a complete mess for the entire afternoon.
This could have been such a lovely day, we baked a cake, and she even started to play independently for a few minutes until she saw me trying to catch that on video 😦
The day after was the same, but Friday here is the week-end, so I wasn’t alone with her anymore and I was relieved! The house was a mess (most of the time, that doesn’t bother me, I even contribute a lot to that mess), but during those 2 days it did bother me. So again, no patience…
On Saturday, I was my new ME again – the new me with all my nice parenting attitude, all the mindful sentences and attitude, all tuned and connected. I like the new ME and so does Sarah. The new ME makes a lot of mistakes, being mindful is hard in the beginning.
For the past few months, I have the feeling that she needs me more than before – maybe because I’m now willing to see. It’s amazing the difference that it makes in our lives.
The “connected mama” attitude comes with a tool kit: patience, understanding, empathy, coping mechanisms, feeling acknowledgment and validation and a yes attitude that the “messy mama” attitude switches off.
The “connected mama” can say “no” and stand for it.
The “connected mama” looks in the eyes and smiles more often
The “connected mama” jumps & sits in the mud if she’s asked to
The “connected mama”loves, loves, loves & loves unconditionally
I hope I can stick to the “connected mama” as long as I can, and forgive myself for those messy days, for those times when the “messy mama” comes out…