Thursday, February 24, 2011

Taking a Time Out

Being a momma is hard.

It takes dedication, patience, tenacity and perseverance to feel like you are actually doing it right.

How do we even know that we are doing it right? Most of the time we repeat a lot of the things that our parents did with us, even though, when we fully admit it we are all trying to parent differently from our parents because they are the ones that messed up so badly. Or at least that's what I hear from my friends and confidants. Numerous times I have looked at my child, writing on the wall, jumping on the bed, callously disregarding my threats of time out, punishment, and snack deprivations and thought, "Girlie, you are lucky you have me because my father would have..."

In the beginning, these tiny humans are relatively easy. In the first few days you have nurses, midwives, mothers and mother-in-laws explaining how and helping to do everything for you. There are people available to hold the baby and coo at the baby so that you can grab a nap or take a shower.

Even after the newness wears off (and everyone goes home), for the first few months, while physically and emotionally demanding, your tiny human is still pretty easy. Motherly instinct has designed us to be able to provide these very simple needs excellently. Tiny humans have relatively few and simple demands and it is easy to fall into a pattern. The slightest changes in routine can completely throw off your day (the first time they sleep through a feeding, a missed BM diaper, a potential rash, the first sniffle, etc).

You begin to wonder why everyone makes such a big deal out of being a parent, it can't be that hard, you've got it whipped.

At about 3 months, your child suddenly wakes up, stays awake, and is alert and focused on you like never before. Suddenly all of those routines and schedules are out of the window and you spend all of your waking hours cleaning up after, meeting the demands of and pampering your baby.

The Supergirl at 3 months (my little chunky monkey)
Things like long showers, facials, shaving one's legs on a consistent basis are all but distant memories of the not-so-long-ago past and you spend the next two years of your life in the trenches of Babydom and Toddlerhood. You have changed from woman to Momma and there is no going back.

I have struggled with dividing my life from the life of my child. As she gets older and becomes more independent, I have to find a way to become me again. I have to find things that interest me and take care of myself more. I guess that's why Momma's Time out is being born. While I adore my child and would love to play endless hours of beauty parlor, play kitchen and princess dress up, I NEED to have myself back more than I have ever needed anything. I NEED to not be three again. I NEED to detach myself from my daughter so that she does not view me as friend but as parent.

How do you tell your child - I love you and adore you and think you are one of God's most awesome creations, but I really need you to pick up your toys, go to your room and let me have some space?

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