Six years, four months, and two days ago, I became a mother. That is 2,315 days; a whole lot of minutes. Surprisingly, not one of those days has been the same. Each day has been its own adventure. Not that I would have read it anyway, but this “position” came with no handbook, no instructions, and no manual. Hell, it should have come with a warning label but, that was missing that too.
Motherhood has got to be one of the most grueling yet most rewarding life experiences ever. And while I thought that mothering would primarily consist of me doing a lot of teaching and rearing, I have also done my fair share of learning.
I have always been told (jokingly) never to pray for patience. Why? Because then God will bring something to your life that will require and test the patience you are seeking. Well, I don’t remember praying specifically for patience, but it sure feels like I have. Sometimes, more than ever.
The long and short of it, I need more patience. I’ve learned patience isn’t something that magically shows up. It’s not that easy. It is more of a challenge in motherhood. Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. The last part, without getting angry or upset. Whew! That’s challenging.
I can learn to practice better patience, or I could choose to become angry or upset. Either way, things are going to happen in their own time. Consistently reminding myself, he is a new human that has only taken six trips around the sun, helps me to remain patient.
I ain’t gon’ lie… after stepping LEGOs and wooden train tracks multiple times a week, patience is hard to come by. Meltdown after meltdown, tantrum after tantrum, patience wears thin. After explaining the same exact thing over and over, my patience is grim. Whew! I need to expand my capacity.
One thing about me is, I always want to be understood. Folks into astrology say that’s a Libra thing. I am not sure about all of that. I know it’s a Minah thing. When giving advice or offering a listening ear, I typically tell my friend or love one, “seek to understand more than you seek to be understood”. Um, I need to start taking my advice. Hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back, there were plenty of instances that could have been diffused if I had only just tried to be more understanding, rather than forcing the kid to try to understand me.
There are times we are both talking, almost yelling, trying to get each other to understand. The “momma” in me is saying, “boy be quiet, I am talking,” which most would think takes precedence. Honestly, I rarely stop myself from trying to get my point across, in an attempt to understand his.
In the thick of it, it’s hard to remember the kid is still learning his way. He’s still learning different words and behaviors that help him express his emotions. Sometimes he doesn’t use the right words. And there are times he can’t exude the exemplary behavior I expected him to have. Our communication improves when I seek to understand him more than attempt to correct him.
Motherhood is teaching me it takes a balanced amount of ownership and stewardship for to succeed. NO, not of the children, but ownership of the entire mothering experience. Being a mommy comes with a bit of pressure. Well, it does with me. Initially, I felt pressured to be as good of a mom as my mom was and, I thought I had to do it just how she did. Owning my motherhood experience means ridding myself of the pressure, doing things my way then, believing I can still be a good mother. Owning motherhood means I don’t have to compare myself to other moms. What works for them, works for them and what works for me, works for me. There is no competition when it comes to mothering, either. Well, there shouldn’t be. My motherhood experience is mine. I’m learning to own it.
As time flies by, there are so many more things I can add to my list I wrote in 5 This Nobody Tells You About Mommyhood. One thing I can add for sure, nobody told me how much I would discover about myself. There is so much focus on rearing and upstanding individual. There is quite a common perception about motherhood; women lose themselves. It’s easy to do it. At one point, I did. But once I realized motherhood was not a death sentence on my individuality, I became more introspective, intentionally. I started to ask a whole bunch of questions to become more aware.
What is this teaching me?
What can I learn about myself?
What do I need to do better?
Why am I so upset?
What is this triggering for me?
Yes, mothering a child is arduous. And sometimes, it is difficult to see the reward in the midst of it all. It’s scary too. And sometimes, I get frustrated with myself as much as I do with him. But in addition to witnessing my son grow up and become the amazing little person he is, discovering myself is rewarding all the same.
The goal is to raise a child that won’t be in therapy 30 years later working hard to rid himself of the tumultuous trauma he suffered throughout his childhood. I figure, healthy mom, healthy child. Looking inward, becoming more aware of who I am, and doing my “work” makes me a better, healthier me; Which makes me a better, healthier, mother. That will make all the difference, hopefully.