Finding moments of perspective

I am trying to enjoy the beauty and the challenge that is motherhood for me.  There have been several recent articles about balancing the chaos and exhaustion of parenthood with moments of realization that these early years are fleeting and precious.

I know there are other stages of my life still to come.  Maybe there will come a time when I’ll miss the whining, the toddler testing limits, the waking in the middle of the night, the sore muscles, the complete lack of ability to put myself first.  Perhaps when I’m old and grey and alone, I will yearn for these days full of activity and life.  I kind of doubt it.  (Note to that self: pick up a book or a journal or take a walk!)

I hear alternate viewpoints from my friends with children heading off to college or that just don’t want their company right now; I see nostalgic wonder in my grandparents’ eyes when they watch my daughter at play.  Now that I think of it, almost anyone who’s been through this and already “crossed the finish line” seems to want to run the race all over again.

Still, this perspective, this knowledge of a vague ending point keeps me going.  It keeps me looking for the beauty in every challenging moment.  It keeps me present, trying to imprint mental snapshots to memory, even in the midst of unhappiness.  Changing my way of looking at a situation really helps me.  Positive thinking is the answer.

It seems rather unfair to me that the see-saw is almost always out of balance.  Why must it be all or nothing? Tired/busy/worried OR nostalgic/sad/slower? So in the midst of a toddler’s tantrum, I will literally picture the situation from above, or even as if I’m at the very end of my life looking backward, and just smile or laugh.  This is simply a moment full of emotion; my daughter communicating with me in a way I can’t say I enjoy.

Tears, yawns, potty training, testing limits… this is the stuff of life.  It’s real, fraying edges and all.  I can choose to live it or I can (unsuccessfully) try to escape it.  Since the only thing I can truly change is myself, I am committing to changing my way of thinking.

I choose mindfulness.  I choose life.  I choose to remember and celebrate that this is what it’s all about.

* * * * *

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.

I’m seeing hearts everywhere lately.

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11 thoughts on “Finding moments of perspective

  1. I don’t miss the toddler days one bit. When my son was in Jr. High, I knew two friends, their children about to go off to college, who adopted toddlers. I was both in awe and dumbfounded. I felt a bit guilty too that I couldn’t imagine why they would want to start all over again. I wasn’t saddened when my son went to college — it was what I had worked so hard for for 18+ years: to prepare him to be an adult. Did I miss him? Of course! Did I want it to be any different? Sure there were things that I would have done differently, but I wouldn’t have changed it, or not done it, for the world. And I love it when I get a text message, an email, a FB tag, or a phone call from him, especially if it’s just to say “hello”. It reminds me that all those times when I thought I couldn’t take one more tantrum, one more stubborn refusal, one more inane, tedious question of “Why?”, I did, we both survived, and my life has been fuller because of it. As someone once said to me, “I’m a lot poorer financially for being a parent, but I never could have bought the riches that my child has brought to my life.” Each of those memories, fraying edges and all, is precious.

    • Bravo!! Anne, I am so glad to hear it. I actually am having an amazing day with my sweet girl, perhaps because I’ve changed my mindset. She must also be able to read my emotion and so it’s a win-win. I love what you wrote about the riches that children bring to our lives.

  2. I don’t have any Mom advice. But I know you brought me to tears yesterday (the good kind) and inspired me. The photo is beautiful and you are seeing hearts everywhere. All of these things must be good signs.

  3. Such an honest post. I am just getting out of the toddler years (my kids are 3 and 6) but I know exactly the challenges of which you speak. So hard to keep perspective but you’re right, it’s the only way to get through it because it’s rough! (I’m reading The Last Nude too!)

  4. Awesome Naomi… and so honest! Man, motherhood is incredible and also incredibly difficult! No matter how you slice it, this is one of those things that has extreme pendulum swings! Very well written, friend!

  5. Geez I LOVED that post on Momastery – I love her whole philosophy of “not making motherhood harder by pretending it’s easy” – amen. I love my daughter (who is 2 1/2) more than anything and yet the pendulum swings both ways – love/frustration – joy/exhaustion – I’m always telling myself that “she is acting her age, not trying to make me insane” and then I try to act mine 🙂 Some days that’s easier than others but most days if I can be as kind and patient with myself as I need to, she and I do just fine. Enjoying your posts Naomi!

    • Amen on not making it any harder than it already is. We moms judge ourselves so harshly! I agree it’s a pendulum. Sometimes I have more patience for all the swinging than others! Thanks so much for reading! I’m pretending that I’m having one of your cupcakes right now. Yum.

  6. Naomi,
    I’ve been loving your honesty,
    “Since the only thing I can truly change is myself, I am committing to changing my way of thinking”,
    Yes, that is the only thing you can change. Your daughter is being (acting, responding, not responding) just as she is supposed to be. It is in her nature. It is about the phase she is in. You really can’t change it. It really has nothing to do with you. It has all to do with her. So, yes, the best thing you can do, is to change your way of thinking.

    I want you to know I often stop by. I love your photos, your words, and your soul.

    Happy Valentine’s day, my friend.
    XOXO
    Eydie

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