Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Am I an a**hole if...?

Hey peeps, sorry it's been a while since I've written. With an active talker/walker life and time is a bit different. I guess is always going to be like that from now on...

While K chats in his crib (I'm just not ready to make it a toddler bed yet, no matter how many developmental stages he's experiencing), I sit and think about the last few mama/parent conversations I've had with newly preggie mamas and experienced/old hat parents. It's amazing.
I imagine the oral traditions of yore to be around fires,  caves, and down by the river, full of symbology and mythology. And yet, our current oral traditions have morphed into youtube videos, blog posts, content articles online, texts, and phone calls. But a lot of crazy myths are still being propagated.

One woman I'm in a group with asked bluntly if she was an asshole for wanting to go back to work after maternity leave, even if she didn't need to. A newly pregnant friend of mine didn't want people to think she and her pregnancy were public domain and wanted to talk about something other than babies and parenting at parties. Another friend had misgivings about putting her kid in daycare because she was worried about people thinking she was letting "someone else raise her kid."

Ugh. Sometimes I end up yelling and spewing saliva in agitation because these myths, these straight-up mean judgments, rob us of being who we are. They (these decisions and actions) imply that we aren't paying attention or thinking things through. Really?

If I decide to put my kid in care before five years old, and you assume it's because I'm lazy, you are totally missing my point, my essence, and of course, who my kid is. Also, I had the realization recently, because my 20 month old IS in the care of others for half the day, that because I am sharing time with him, with others, that they get to be blessed by his gifts now too. Call me arrogant if you want, but if you met my kid, you too might see the beauty that is the world in him. And it's not because of me, I know. He's brilliant because he's a child of Spirit. I'm just a caretaker at the moment. Just another perspective on putting your child in daycare. And to be honest, I really like the people who have K half day. They are people I'd want to be around my kid anyway.

Same goes for going back to work. I went back to work, and then decided that I wanted a bit more time with K, but not 24/7 (we need more jobs that are part time but well-paid for new moms!). So I work at home with a flexible schedule so that I am available, but I do not pretend to be able to hang out with my son easily all day, every day. There are those who can do this and I'm so glad it works for them. But I'm not 'less than' because I can't or don't want to. I'm not a worse person or a worse mom. I don't like that a mom who stays at home is considered brave while I, who wants to work, is not brave? What an interesting way to discount my worth, by categorizing who's better and braver and whatever else we think (via our culture). A mom who cares for her kid at home just is. It's awesome, yes, but no less awesome than a mom who works. Both moms are showing their kid different parts of them. And I want to applaud that, rather than judge who's better.

I had this experience the other day: I was working on my coaching business, writing a book, and doing my work at home stuff. It was a flow day, where everything was coming out awesome, I felt good, I felt energetic, and aligned. K was sleeping and gave me a solid two and a half hours to work uninterrupted. Bliss. When I heard his first wake up chirps, my heart skipped a beat and I quickly finished up on the computer and went to go get him. And as I walked to his room, I felt so grateful that I was able to work, to feel fulfilled by that work, and to then be emotionally and energetically available to K when he got up from his nap. Win. He got a free and clear mama, who took time to do the work that fueled her, so that she could be present.

What better gift is there for a child? Had I ignored my desire to work and listen to my calling, I would be a grumpy, unsatisfied, and frustrated mama. I have been that mama. I've been maxed out and unappreciated and then came home to be available and 'on,' but with no time in the middle to get my needs met. And I need to meet my own needs before I can be fully available to my kid. It's a fact of life for me.

And regarding the friend who's pregnant and now everyone thinks they can say stuff to her without thinking about it first, a similar thing is true. Let's try to not lump ALL PREGNANT WOMEN into one giant category and then regale them with horror birth stories, warnings, finger-wagging, boring conversations they've probably had 30 times already, and assumptions about who they are. Let's pretend, just for a moment, that they still have hobbies, dreams, thoughts other than, "I have a baby in my belly," and they don't all love being pregnant 24/7. I've met maybe three people who enjoyed pregnancy and I've known hundreds (thousands?) of pregnant women.

Pregnant women (and new dads too) cross a threshold when a child enters their world and they become transformed (regardless of their knowledge or acceptance of that fact, by the way) and that transformation isn't just into parenthood, or out of couplehood. It's so profound, I don't even have words for it (yet!). My point is this, who you think you know, may have just become an entirely different person overnight. We should honor that. Celebrate that. Hold that. Hold them. It's crazy scary and not just because they are new parents with another person to be responsible for, but because, before all of our eyes, they changed! That's insane! So be nice, be gentle, be open and available. See them in their new light. They will be grateful.

This ends today's musings. Any comments? I'd love to know what you think!


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