Motherhood is one of the most important jobs on the planet.
As a single mother, who works full time in the OR, here is what I have to say about it...
The Baby Moon:
Whether you can afford a vacation or not, pregnancy allows you and your partner--if you have one--to see that your life is going to change in a way that can't be 'turned back to the way it was'. Make every day count. Keep a pregnancy journal or diary. Spend quiet time alone just enjoying the miracle of being pregnant. If you have other children in the family, engage them! For example, I asked my niece what might be a good name for the baby? She was six. She gave HER name! And for a boy? She gave her BROTHERS!!! I asked, wouldn't that be confusing? She said, 'no, not at all, the are good names!'
The Mommy Moon:
After seven years of the routine, I was worn out. Although I had once gone on a four-day conference, leaving our son with his father when our boy was about four (they were BOTH happy to see me on my return!)--the only extended time I took was to a conference in Hawaii.
The potty training, the childcare scheduling, the pre-school--all of it, had taken its toll on me. I totally forgot who I was, what I wanted in my life, my goals and dreams. With my son safely at home in the care of my mother, I spent eight days learning with my colleagues, and my afternoons exploring the island. For example, this is by the Mauna Lani hotel, and some of the best snorkeling in my life was at the beach right by the point in the distance.
I came back focused and refreshed. Yes, my boy was traumatized that 'mommy left' and he begged me 'never to go away again'. We are that close...and I realized I needed the time...so without apology, I addressed his concerns, and we made our way out from there.
For the working parent, this is always at the front of your mind--your time is limited, and your need to support the family is balanced by your need to actively care for it.
This is not what most people do. As a single mother, I took one week off in May to be a Stay-At-Home Mom.
I kept everything on schedule, and I wanted to 'try it on for size'.
This was the most important investment in my family I have ever spent. Although at the time I was disappointed in being unable to 'catch up' on all the paperwork and chores and errands, looking back, I see this allowed us to focus on my boy's needs. My presence reinforced his deep trust in me, allowing him to meet his next stage of his emotional growth, which would come one month later.
He even remarked how much more pleasant the mornings were, that we did not have to rush because of my work.
These last two weeks, I have been home. A brief trip to a local amusement park, with a hotel, helped to bring out some serious emotional difficulties in my child:
- there is bullying at the school because of his weight
- he feels he has no friends
- there is favoritism at the school which the teacher openly displays towards those who are like her--those who excel at running and who are the children of the staff
- he is depressed over the bullying and lack of playmates--no siblings or neighbors
- there is no motivation to eat healthy or exercise
This time has allowed for medical care--finding a new pediatrician who is supportive and a male role model, for counseling, and for a dental check up. This has allowed for a new 'routine' to keep him within the expectation of two activities a day, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon after the heat of the day. I choose one, and he chooses the other.
A food journal and my saying NO because I am well-rested and not stressed--are leading to diet changes for the first time. A nutritionist is going to help us next week.
There are some things only a mother can teach, only a mother can share, only a mother can soften with the love of her heart.
At the counselor, in the waiting room, we play two games. The first is a 'how bored can you look?' contest. We totally crack each other up. We also play 'war' with the piles of magazines. Oldest issue wins!
Yesterday we did chemistry in the back yard, with vinegar and baking soda, and we went through a whole box of the baking soda. We filled balloons, had fizz spill everywhere. He was confident and excited about enjoying learning again.
Are we out of the woods? I think we have a head start.
There are some things only a parent can teach. They are important and lasting gifts to the child.
If you have been blessed with children, no matter how old they are, why not take the time to reconnect?
And to reconnect with your intuition, your inner guidance, and your soul purpose?
(Here is a head start: a forty day plan to kick start YOUR life--non-denominational, spiritual journey based on the book by Dr. Rick Warren--http://reikidoc.blogspot.com/2012/05/om-purpose-driven-life.html)
You matter to all of us--family, friends, and angels!--so why not take a moment for yourself, just for today?
Aloha and Mahalos,