Being a mother is hard. It has joy, definitely, and is the best thing in the world, and maybe that’s why it’s a never ending project. Children keep growing; needs keep changing; personal circumstances keep evolving, and with each change, the intensity continues.
I had a small mothering shift a couple of weeks ago. I don’t remember what precipitated it – some reminder of how fortunate I am, some reflection on how much better I could do, the realization that I was, in some ways, falling horribly short of my mothering expectations. I’m currently in a state of appreciation of time/nowness with my girl, and patience with process. Whereas prior to the shift I might experience sudden rage at some of my daughter’s actions (sweeping her food onto the floor; refusing to brush her teeth), now I have some perspective (she’s young, this isn’t forever, it may be developmental) and also some new approaches (clearer on boundaries and moving on from activities she’s not doing well; moving onto the next thing myself and getting her to do the necessary before she joins; not asking questions or giving options, just telling her what we’re doing). Life feels richer and more enjoyable now, and I’m grateful for that.
I think it makes a difference for her, too. Clearly, having a mother who is happier and not upset when things don’t go her way is healthy. I think there’s a security in being given more clear guidance, too, and not being left to make choices as a child. It may connect with another habit of hers I’ve noticed – for months, when I ask her questions about things she knows, she’ll say, “I don’t know,” often adding, “You tell me.” I wonder if, truly, that is what children need (don’t ask them questions! Just tell and show) and my asking her to answer questions inspires existential angst (who is this “mama” who doesn’t know this??). So I’ve started telling her more things instead of asking. I think she likes it that way.
I’m also trying to come to terms with socializing. She doesn’t get many opportunities to be with other kids. And I continue to fall short on making this happen. With work busyness, husband working lots, a messy place and not many friends with kids, I just can’t seem to make it happen more than rarely. I wonder how much of her hesitancy around strangers is innate, and how much is a lack of exposure. I worry about it and I honestly don’t know what to do since my attempts to make friends or take her places consistently just don’t pan out. I have a couple friends I visit, and that is great – it’s just not enough for her. And yet, she often doesn’t want to go anywhere.
SIGH. And alongside all my worries … she is so totally awesome. So extremely funny (talking about her new pinwheel from nana: “I thought it was pizza”). So bright (she is attentive to details in speech, often correcting me: when I ask her to pick up my toothbrush, she says, “that isn’t your toothbrush … that is a piece of your toothbrush.” In fact, it is just 1 part of my electric toothbrush). So loving. So thoughtful. So open to sharing (in some circumstances :)). So empathetic. Loves having fun, dancing, embracing new activities. Such a beautiful person! I really just want her to be happy, and think others deserve the chance to know her, too.
Hi, first time I have read your posts so please forgive me if I don’t know the background in your circumstances beyond this post. We have three children and I count myself very lucky in that my wife had the opportunity to be at home when the children were starting school (the youngest just last year) and so had the opportunity to network with other mums and builds those important relationships that give children the opportunity to have play dates with other children from the school. It didn’t work out too well initially for our daughter Aisha who just didn’t seem to hit it off with other kids from her year, and was beginning to look like being a bit of an outsider in her peer group. My wife took a good look at the things my daughter enjoyed, such as dancing and drama and enrolled her in a local theatre school. This was terrific and my daughter learned confidence in groups and made a host of new friends, many of whom she now knows in senior school. Classes can be a great way for children to expand their social network with others who share a common interest, and developing a skill is a great confidence booster that might be worth a try with your daughter. Hope this helps. 🙂
Hi jwdwrites, thanks so much for your comment – I appreciate your thoughtful ideas. Our daughter is still on the young side for classes, but I know I’m looking forward to enrolling her in some music or dance classes when she’s a bit older. As you say, that will be a great opportunity to bond with others who share her interests. We are noticing that as she spends more time with certain individuals her confidence grows, so plan to be as consistent as we can in getting together with friends so she can build relationships over time. We were out a lot this weekend, and it was great to see her increasing confidence around others!
My apologies for a delayed reply. We’ve had a combination of heavy work, a sick baby, a trip and very limited internet access at home – all challenges for getting onto the blog!
I know the feeling, my internet has been down for two days! Just got it back. 🙂