Everyday I fail at being the person that I want to be. I want to be gentle and kind. To be forgiving and understanding. To accept others as they are and not push them to change. I’m not so good at being that person, but I keep trying. And the positive? I’m able to recognize myself slipping much more quickly now.
Of course, having 3 kids under 5 helps. It helps you practice staying in the moment because every moment is really just about survival. It’s taken me three babies to realize that some things just can’t be rushed. Just this morning I was nursing Bronwyn and she was kicking and squirming, not latching on despite my needing to clock in and sign on to work. With my first two, I would have forced the issue, decided they didn’t really want to nurse, then strapped them in the swing to try to comfort them. Then I would have gotten frustrated when that didn’t work and they were still fussy.
This morning, I stopped myself. Tuned in to her, looked into her face, thought about what she needed, rather than everything on my to do list. She was gassy, it was obvious. I spent a few extra minutes burping her and she nursed without issue and fell asleep in my lap. I was able to work, just not quite on the schedule that I had anticipated.
And this is where I get into trouble as a mother and as a person: when I don’t know what to expect, then my world gets very shaken. When I think about everything I need to get done and something gets in the way of my productivity, I get furious. I will spare you the details of my childhood that led me here, but I have connected the dots. I need to know what to expect and I’m a high achiever because of the way I grew up. But everyday I remind myself to breathe, to let things happen as they will; my world will not crumble around me because of a few “lost” minutes.
And I know – those minutes aren’t lost. To take a few more minutes to give the baby what she really needs – that’s worth it. To listen to my older two and tune in to what they need when they’re whiny or upset or generally grating on my nerves – that’s worth it. Connection, connection, connection. That’s how I stay gentle and kind. Forgiving and understanding. Accepting of who people are.
Of course, since having the third baby there are things that I’ve had to give up. I haven’t journaled since I started back to work in mid-June. Sometimes I think the half hour it takes to journal would be better spent working. But boy, do I love seeing a notebook fill up. How I love seeing my handwriting spill across the page. I get a thrill when I turn on the lamp on my desk, pour a steaming cup of coffee, and let everything tumble out.
That time with my journal helps me find my voice and my confidence each and every day. It helps me set my priorities, talk myself down from my fears, and keeps me on the path that I want to take. It’s really time to make sure I open my journal tomorrow morning and put in the effort.
Here’s to sorting through the chaos and finding what’s important in our lives!