Saturday, February 5, 2011

Accepting My Limitations

Sometimes things just don't work out the way I want them to in my head. I'm having to accept a few things.

1. Two kids IS harder than one. Not doubly hard, but harder. I can't show Miller the same attention that I showed Sophie as a baby. That's just the way it is. And that's ok.

2. I want to make all of Miller's baby food but in reality, I just don't have time. Getting off work at 5, home by 20 after, dinner on no later than 6:30, clean up, baths and/or puzzles and games, bedtimes and if all goes well, I'm on the couch with my feet up by 9:00. Frankly, I would rather open a beer and catch up on 30 Rock than steam and puree sweet potatoes. So, my second born gets Gerber baby food. And that's ok.

3. For a couple of months, Miller was waking up every single hour. If it wasn't every hour, it was every two. And a "good night" meant that he only woke up at 11pm, 3am, and 6am (and didn't go back to sleep after that.) He would wake, nurse for 15 seconds, and go back to sleep. That's all well and good, but month after month of 6 hours of sporadic sleep was starting to take its toll. He didn't want to sleep in our bed or our cosleeper and his crib is in our room, so I moved onto the couch and Roy stayed with him. And we let Miller cry. Roy would pat his back, make sure he was dry and comfortable, talk to him and let him know it was ok, but not feed him or pick him up. I laid on the couch fighting every maternal instinct not to go pick him up when I heard him cry. But the second night, he cried less and the third, even less. Finally, he was only crying out once or twice a night and then it was for less than a minute. It took about 5 days and he was sleeping through the night. I'm not proud of letting my baby cry, but I needed sleep. I needed sanity. And that's ok.

4. The hardest one, the one that's given me the most heartache, is to stop nursing. The honest truth is that this boy prefers the bottle. For months, I have listened to his hungry cries as he refuses the breast, only to lay next to me screaming while I pump his bottle. Nursing is getting more and more difficult as my supply wanes and I come home from work with less than 6 oz of milk to show for my 3-times-per-day pumping. So he gets formula in most of his bottles and, though I grit my teeth when I say it, that's ok.

I had a great talk with a coworker of mine whose perspective of life I so appreciate. She said that so many people ask, is your child walking? is he talking? how many teeth does he have? can she read? can she write? is she ready for Kindergarten? But no one ever asks, is your child kind? is she a good friend? Aren't those the most important skills they will take into their life?

I must accept my limitations. I can't make all of Miller's baby food. I can't function without sleep. I can't nurse as long as I would like to. But by God I will do my best to make sure my children are kind and good. And I will impart on them that whatever path they take in life is fine with me, as long as they're happy.


Jennifer Chappell Deckert said...

Anna Marie, some of the best parenting advice I have received was that sleeping (I can extend it to breastfeeding, food-making, discipline, etc, etc) works best for the child in whatever scenario it works best in for everyone else (the rest of the family.) In other words, one of the huge gifts you are imparting on your children is that you are human, you have limitations and needs, and that means making choices that work the best for everyone in the family. Bless you!

AnnaMarie said...

Thank you, Jen. <3

kclblogs said...

One of my good friends is struggling with the sleep issue, and I told her the same thing. Every family has to determine their own needs as they go, and then find a way to meet them. And these get redefined with each kid.

You're a fabulous mom!!

kristin said...

you inspire me! reread your own words in moments of doubt.

Melissa said...

I love hearing your thoughts! You and Roy will, no doubt, raise happy and kind and wonderful children!