Now I contribute this to a great many things going on in my life at the time, least of all parenthood. I was working in a job I no longer liked, trying to figure out how to breastfeed and work at the same time, navigating a changing relationship with my husband, attempting to bring back certain elements of my pre-baby life that I so desperately missed– and I was also caring for an infant who was giving very little back. It just seemed thankless, and bottomless– and boring, to be totally honest. When I look back I think that perhaps this was a mix of hormones, a bit of Baby Blues, and totally normal feelings associated with a major life change. In any case, I realized that I needed to bring the joy back in to my life in a major way.
We are doing everything (everything!) for them, and we get so caught up in doing it well– Are they sleeping through the night? CHECK! Are they eating solids? CHECK! Crawling? CHECK! Speaking and walking? CHECK AND CHECK! We are winning! We are doing it all– our kids are growing and maturing, and that means everything is exactly as it should be!!! Except have you ever actually checked in with yourself during the day, and asked how you are feeling about parenting? In other words– are you having a good time?
At these times, I have had to come from outside myself, and readjust my behavior. I’ve had to snap myself out of it, and really remind myself that this is my one time to be parenting this child, as a baby, at this moment in her life. Of course then I had a miscarriage, and this point was driven home in a much more visceral way. Our children are so funny, so smart, so capable of love in a way we as adults have to try hard to be. We can learn so much from them– even when we are feeling tired or stressed or overwhelmed. I work at this type of joy every day as a parent– but since I started reminding myself to do it, I have loved parenting even more than I ever thought I could. Of course we have bad days, like any Mother and Child duo, but I think we both laugh more than we used to. At the end of the day, Marlowe won’t remember how clean our house was, what she ate for dinner, or what kind of sippy cup she drank from. She’ll just remember how I made her feel– and I’m going to make sure that sippy cup is half full.
(Photographs by Nina Suh for Love And Lemonade Photography)