The calm sea glistens in the sunlight. Dolphins swim where aqua water turns to blue. I wade out to my waist, then fall in up to my neck enjoying this quiet moment. Then from the shoreline I hear “Mama mama!” My tiniest toddler is reaching for me. Gathering her up, I take the little one deeper to watch the fish flitting out of the water.
She wants a breast feed. So as I nurse her in the calm waters I move her back and forth rhythmically and hum a repetitive tune while she looks up with smiling eyes. She sits up, throws her arms around my neck for a cuddle and switches sides to continue nursing. Moving with the gentle sea hum my little song.
She snuggles in, her eyes become heavy and she sleeps, right there, partially immersed in the water, cradled in my arms. She is so precious and perfect, it is hard to look away from her cherubic face.
This is why I breast feed, not because I am one of the lucky ones that can, not because it is convenient, not just for the physical benefits to us both, but because it reinforces my connection with my child. We become one in each other’s arms and she is secure in her safety.
She sleeps and I bask in the glow of early motherhood.
These are the little moments, the gems that I will carry through my life that warm my heart space and fill me with joy.
My babies are both crying. One is having a meltdown and one is crying in sympathy and hunger.
It seems trivial to me that coming inside from the deck could cause such a stir but here we are living the disappointment and emotion of it. My natural instinct would be to tell my toddler to calm down and just do as I ask while I go pick up my infant for a calming cuddle.
What I actually do is crouch down and offer my arms to my toddler. My embrace is refused. Okay then. I stay down and empathise, “Yes I know it’s hard to come inside with me when you want to be on the deck. It makes you upset hey”. I look into her eyes and see a little child having a big problem. “I love you bubba”. All attempts at nose wiping would be futile at this point so I stay still and wait. She runs around the kitchen. I wait, while offering words of reassurance. I go back onto the deck and retrieve three toys and deliver them. No? Alright then. After a fair bit of hoo ha, there is an opportunity for connection. I pick up my toddler and give a cuddle. There is a fair bit of wriggling involved, then my darling comes good. The little face is wiped. I put some music on, cuddle and breastfeed my infant. The storm is over and we are back on track. Phew.
If I had gone with my first reaction, I could have ended up rousing on an upset toddler who has to calm down by herself while she watches her mother rock and nurse her sibling. She would receive no understanding for her big feelings or problems. They would essentially be dismissed, even though they are big issues in her world. She would then be taken to play school where she has a big day, most likely without any sleep. She would come home tired, needing connection at a time when infants are renowned for needing a fair amount of mummy time and physical affection. You can picture the rest. Sure, my infant would have had her immediate needs met, but there are two babies in my house.
A soft heart creates a safety net for the people around me, especially the little ones. Being a gentle place to fall, having a ready embrace and offering tenderness is my key to a happy life. Oh, it’s not all beach balls and sunshine all the time at our place, but practice makes perfect. The more moments where we choose a soft heart builds a better way of being. A hard heart makes for a hard life, for everyone.
So this is my commitment to myself. Offer myself a soft heart. Then everyone else in this crazy web of life with me will feel the love and be better off for it.
As Captain Obvious would say, I am an imperfect person. There have times when I haven’t kept my cool and got shrill. It all came from fear. I find that I act out most when something is lacking (usually sleep) or I have overloaded myself (a tendency).
My children are little and deserve a peaceful mother. Raising my voice makes everyone feel crappy. Feeling remorseful about losing my cool is useless if I can’t back myself with more than just good intentions. This is personal work. It isn’t easy to share this with you, but maybe you can relate to my experience?
This is how I have turned parenting blunders into a plan for personal growth. My steps to becoming a better, more worry-free, peaceful human being are listed. It’s been working wonders.
Let go. Will this matter in a year? Most of the time, my answer is no.
Be honest with myself about why something is bothering me. What is the actual cause of my worry?
Do something silly with my babies every day and have a giggle.
Take care of myself better.
Prioritize for a peaceful night. This means having dinner prepared so there’s no rush and bath my children early. If they are tired there is no need to race the clock if I am organized.
Feel good so I’m nice to come home to. For me, this could just be a walk in the garden for 10 minutes with the children to brighten up before bath time.
Have a cause. It’s amazing how little everyday worries seem to matter when I have an ear to the outside world. Personally, I care about animal welfare so am abreast of issues related to live animal export and factory farming.
Do something I love most days. I love to play with my babies, cook, bushwalk and sew. Throughout the week, I usually do all of this. Here’s my quick sew for today. Pants for my little girl. I even put my Whistling Kite Collective label on the inside for her. I have a feeling these will be Christened her “bird pants” and there may be a special song involved when she wears them!
Don’t try to be an overachiever. Something has to give and it’s usually my sanity.
Remember that I am exactly what my children need. By just being me, loving and respecting them as the individuals they are, they will thrive.
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