What a six months! I like to recap our journey as Leave it to Mama grows in the setting that all Mamas can relate - pregnancy (see previous Post 13 weeks). We just made 25 weeks and it’s pretty amazing. LeavitittoMama.com has finished fetal development and we are heading to the final trimester. We are working on several new projects and cannot wait to share with our Mama community!
Since beginning our journey, we’ve celebrated our birthdays along with the husbands’ and all 5 kids; in addition to, my sister’s wedding, our grandfather’s 86th birthday and both Mother’s & Father’s day. I’ve started several home renovations including a home gym, office and toddler room. Painting rooms and repurposing furniture were my summer thrills. Concurrently, my sister had her dream wedding, completed summer school and is heading back to school today along with her four year old. Time sure does fly when you are a MOM.
In the midst of my DIY renegade, I’ve spent time with my precious daughter. Her communication skills are growing by leaps and bounds. The best times are those when we have a debate:
Me: Put the toys away.
2: No Mom. I’m playing.
2: Thank you for listening, Mom.
I’ve noticed when I pause before speaking, she assumes I’ve been convinced of her ways. How peculiar. Yes, I’m a first time Mama. I find tons of things peculiar, which keeps me on my toes. I use the term ‘on my toes’ in hindsight. In the heat of the battle I’m offended and I find it annoying.
My little girl’s favorite phrases are:
The most disturbing being the hashtag statement. I’m certain I’ve said the other phrases- but speaking in hashtags is not a part of my dialogue. Especially, when I know she is recording very syllable!
Each family gathering has turned into another place for the smallest children to battle for their THEIR toys, games or clothing. It’s a struggle. Before we get out of the car, I have to reiterate the rules - no hitting, no pushing and no biting. Last Saturday, they started slapping one another so we added no slapping to the rule book. They love each other so much but once they feel violated there’s no turning back. Luckily, we’ve figured out their patterns and can identify when they need time apart.
Life as a Mama, wife, auntie, sister and friend definitely has its ups and downs. I struggle to ensure all parties are safe, nurtured and secure; which brought me to the idea that seeking balance may not be the best idea. In the circus, you have a tightrope walker, trapeze artist and juggler. I am most like the juggler – I prefer to have more than one thing to manage. The more unique the item, the easier it is for me to determine a rhythm. I also get a moment to hold each. Balancing on a rope leaves my mind to wander and flying through the air wouldn’t allow my mind to wander enough. SMH.
I’ve noticed other Mamas taking the trapeze and tight rope route. One requires soaring from task to task in an effortless fashion – having faith in the execution and starting over, if necessary. The others (tight ropers) are skilled, in that, they are very in tune with every movement and are unaffected by their surroundings – unless distracted.
The love for our children is what brought us together. We are different acts in the same circus (Motherhood). Joining forces maintains sanity in my world where juggling a knife, washer machine, toddler, iron and computer is the standard.
If you were to describe your Mama-isms as a circus act – which would it be?
As a parent, it is our duty to make sure that we provide everything in our power for our children to have the best life possible. This includes learning and providing education. But sometimes we get enveloped in the “superbaby” syndrome, where we are not only pushing our child to do well – but to be better than everyone else.
We play Mozart for our womb (hello “pregaphone”), draw up “lesson plans” for our newborns during maternity (come on, you know who you are), purchase books out the wazoo, put iPads on our credit cards, ruminate over the best daycare, sell our spacious house (for ZERO profit) just to move into an apartment in the best school district (especially, you ATLANTA), purchase hundreds of flash cards, and order “Your Baby Can Read” when the commercial comes on during your 3am feeding (yes, my daughter had the entire set thanks to daddy).
By the time of their first birthday - we become as anxious about our child recognizing colors as we are about choosing the next car seat.
As understandable as this is, most is unnecessary. There is no research that supports the notion that children who display academic skills ahead of the curve (ex: reading before entering kindergarten) continue to have a “leg up” on his peers. Truth is, once the other kids enter school and are taught the essentials, they tend to catch up around 2nd or 3rd grade. So, yes we have reason to become fixated on finding the right elementary school but we go overboard with math pop quizzes for a 3 year old. One of the reasons is that young children are always learning – especially from their environment, they are learning the basics of communication, socialization, and trusting that their basic needs will be consistently met. When surveyed, most “gifted” children are not specifically the ones who were injected into early learning but those whom injected themselves. Naturally gifted children tend to be the ones initiating learning, seeking out academic activities on their own.
Aside from bragging rights for mommy and daddy, you’re not really creating massive benefits. What children are learning are social norms, manners, and emotional intelligence – which if learned incorrectly, is hard to unlearn (just ask the 5th grader who is still biting his classmates). So, should we become anxious over our toddler’s ability to answer Jeopardy questions and play Scrabble – NO. BUT - we need to pay attention to how we, as parents and their other caregivers (especially daycare staff, grandparents, older siblings), conduct ourselves in front of our little ones. Even during flashcard sessions with your two year old – she is learning more by noticing your uninterrupted love, without cell phones, and your tone (i.e. reframing from getting angry when she answers “blue” when you ask her how many apples there are in the basket)...
***Interesting info on the false claims of "Your Baby Can Read": http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2012/08/ads-touting-your-baby-can-read-were-deceptive-ftc-complaint
Our Guest Blogger, Cherrell Thomas, is a professional counselor, licensed by the state of Georgia and certified by the national board of counselors. With over 7 years in the field, Cherrell has experience in multiple areas of mental health.
Through her private practice, HELPFUL THERAPY CENTER LLC, she promotes the power of inner resiliency and encourages her clients to define their own "happy". However, she may have met her match in her three year old daughter who is teaching her everyday about life, parenting, and the struggle for sanity.
Follow along as we uncover the myths in a candid conversation, only a Mama can identify.
I knew having a second child would be a challenge after 11 years. Not just a challenge of managing finances, but a challenge of keeping order in my life. The routine I’d become accustomed to is certainly a memory at this point. My newborn son Kyle is now 3 weeks old and has managed to put the household on his schedule. Nevertheless, it is nice to have a baby around. I find myself more determined than ever to be all that my family needs and if that means wearing my supermom cape 24/7 sobeit.
Very few things have meant more to me than being a mother. As much as I feel like I’m ready to make a grand entrance back to the corporate world, I am very much enjoying just chilling at home with my son. Knowing what to do and how to handle a newborn didn’t come rushing back like riding a bike, however. I thought it would, but I find myself having these “duh” moments. Thank goodness for friends and family. Reaching out to them for advice or a good laugh is helpful and necessary for my sanity.
I read while I was pregnant that you should sleep when the baby sleeps; which is probably some good advice for someone who doesn’t have much to do. That’s not always an option for me. I learned quickly that power naps work just as well. That takes some getting used to too, but when you have to keep a household running one quickly (grudgefully) does without sleeping for any length of time. For now at least. My fashion swag has also been compromised and reduced to a stretched out nursing bra, pajama pants, and wild untamed hair. Kyle doesn’t seem to care though as long as there’s a boob with some milk in it nearby. I may never have a chance to just let it all hang with no burden of having to even get dressed ever again so I’m enjoying it while it lasts.
Someone asked if I was done having children to which I replied “I’m pretty sure I’m done!” There are days when I think of having a daughter graduating from high school and a young son entering kindergarten that make me smile and cry at the same time.
It’s definitely a rewarding experience and it doesn’t even bother me (that much) that I haven’t had much me time. The time spent making memories is worth all that I think I’m missing which really isn’t anything as special as being at home getting spit up on.
Speaking of gassy babies-Sounds like one’s up now...
We are starting a new series, The Mama Chronicles. Our Guest Blogger, Dawn, has a new baby and a wonderful eleven year old. The joys of Motherhood are spread between the preteen and tot leaving little room for mom to maintain. A self-proclaimed Mombie, she balances colic, housework and a business.
Follow along as she navigates a world she once new so well.
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