I have been dealing with at least one child having a nasty cold/cough keeping him (and myself) awake all night, resulting in a large amount of whining the next day (from them and, being honest here, from me too). The hardest has been BabyBear. He just doesn’t understand why he feels so miserable and, therefore, has spent an uncharacteristic amount of time crying. I came across this blog post that I wrote several years ago when C was about 18 months old. It is a good reminder that commitment to a newborn is worth it. And so temporary. This high need phase will end. Just like the coughing is subsiding and sleep is becoming more possible for all. Just like my oldest boy is turning 6 this month. Time flies!
(Originally published in October 2009)
C is currently out in the tractor with his papa and I started thinking about when he was just born and we thought this day would never come. The day when he is able to sit in the tractor all by himself while my hubby gets work done has finally arrived. He sits in the little passenger seat and Papa Bear buckles him in. It looks totally cute and he wants nothing to do with me. He waves goodbye to me and tries to close the door! (I’m going to get a picture of it but I forgot my camera.)
Times have changed so much. He used to need to nurse every 1-2 hours. He used to need to be in my arms at all times. He used to need a clean diaper every hour. I’m so glad that I filled his needs. Mothering is a hugely front-end loaded job. C was not a high need baby by any means, but he still took a lot of time and energy. One of the biggest things to adjust to as a new mom was how much he completely and utterly relied on me to survive.
I was his source or nourishment, comfort, stability, warmth, and comfort. That’s a huge responsibility, to truly be the world to someone. It’s no wonder that so many moms suffer from post partum depression, and lack of sleep and the baby blues and mostly (I think) just a feeling of being overwhelmed and lost. Up until you become a mom things in the world make sense. You can have plans, and schedules, and goals. You can pretty much do whatever you want, whenever you want. With a baby a lot of that goes out the window.
I’m not saying that to discourage anyone. It’s quite an amazing change of lifestyle actually. Your baby is completely dependent on you but it’s not a bad thing. I made the choice to have my son’s needs as number one on my list. That meant a lot of my life had to get put on the back burner for a while. I think that’s the part of being a mother that scares people. You have to learn to be selfless. We live in such a selfish and instant gratification society. It’s pathetic how little of ourselves we are willing to give to someone else. Commitment phobias run rampant, whether it be to a career (the average person changes careers 10 times in their life), a relationship (50% of marriages end in divorce), school, a vehicle or house (we buy new ones every 5-7 years) and pretty much anything else.
My parenting “philosophy” consists of meeting C’s needs. That includes his needs for a clean diaper, for play time, for food but it also includes his need to nurse, to be comforted to sleep, and even something as simple as his need to be with his mama. I believe that if I meet these needs when he’s young, they won’t hinder him when he’s older. I know that by showing C a full commitment now he will learn what commitment means. He will be confident in his career and relationships, and everything else that he does in the future. Will he be a perfect adult? Absolutely not. But he will defiantly know what a real commitment looks like.
Do I miss some aspects of my life before C? I don’t usually notice it actually. I enjoy being with C so I don’t often need a “break” from him. I usually just take him with me. Now that he’s getting older, I leave him with his Papa or his Oma (my mom), both people that he knows and trusts. I can’t even think of any other sacrifices I’ve made in my life for him. Sure, I pee with the door open (and often a toddler on my lap), and cooking dinner takes a little more time than it used to, but, in the big picture, those amount to very little. The big picture is that my son is happy and healthy and our family has a lot of fun just being together!