Maybe that's what I should have been doing all along.
Meet my friends, the shoulds and should nots.
Yesterday I attended my first La Leche League meeting, and I met a wonderful group of ladies. My first thought, "I should have come here sooner!"
After participating in an uplifting and informative meeting about common breastfeeding challenges, I perused the library of books. I came across What Mothers Do: Especially When It Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen. I thought, "this might be interesting," so I turned it over and read the back cover.
"Have you ever spent all day looking after your baby or young child-and ended up feeling that you have 'done nothing all day'? (by this time my eyes started to water) Do you sometimes find it hard to feel pleased with what you are doing, and tell yourself you should achieve more with your time? (then I had to swallow the rock in my throat)
Maybe it's because you can't see how much are are doing already." (*sniff sniff)
There was more, but after evoking such an emotional reaction from me, I decided to open the book to the table of contents.
Immediately my eyes fell to Chapter 6: 'I get nothing done all day.'
That was it. I decided I needed to read this book.
I have noticed that I have started to answer the phone when Robbie calls with, "I haven't done a THING today." Or I'll answer his questions about what I have been up to with, "Nothing. Absolutely Nothing." or "Just sitting around." Maybe I'll add, "Just sitting around feeding a baby." But that's when I'm in a GOOD mood.
Laundry piles up around me even though I feel as if I am ALWAYS doing laundry. My baby is five months old. Shouldn't I be keeping up with this by now? My apartment is a wreck. Shouldn't I be able to keep my tiny apartment spotless by now? After all, other mothers do it. Other mothers have bigger homes than I do, and they can keep it clean. Why can't I? My baby cries, and sometimes I just can't figure out what she wants! Shouldn't I understand her by now? Other mothers do! Other mothers have their pre-pregnancy figures, have time to exercise, have perfectly clean houses, have content children, magnify their church callings, go to school and/or work, look absolutely gorgeous, have time to read scriptures, pray, shower and eat all in the same day, make time for their husbands, cook healthy delicious meals, have social lives, never lose patience and are always happy! Shouldn't I have the hang of this whole being a mom thing by now? After all, I only have ONE child. And I hear she's in the easy stage. What am I going to do when she is in the hard stage?
I am not looking for more shoulds or should nots, advice or criticism. Supposedly this book fits in with my requirements. The back cover mentions my friends, the shoulds and should nots.
"What Mothers Do has been written to support mothers. Rather than trying to tell you what you should or shouldn't do, it can help you to recognize much better many of the nameless, everyday things that mothers keep doing which usually go unnoticed."
With the help of my dear, sweet husband who always tries to open my eyes to the incomparable importance of motherhood, and this book, I hope to improve my attitude toward what I do all day! I hope I can heal my heart of all the negativity and sadness that has so quickly and easily set in since my daughter's birth. I just don't understand how there can be any room for those feelings when I feel such joy, gratitude and happiness with her in my life. One would think there is way too much cuteness and sweetness in my life to have room for anything else! I should be thankful for my blessings!
There I go again, with the shoulds! Hopefully sooner, rather than later, I'll be able to sincerely mean it when I answer the question, "What have you been up to today?" with a strong, "I made my baby girl feel safe, wanted and loved. Today, I was a mother!"